The University of Mississippi will investigate former offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil’s comments that he accepted money from a member of the football staff while playing at the school.
The university said in a statement Friday it is “aware of the reports from the NFL Draft regarding Laremy Tunsil and potential NCAA violations during his time at Ole Miss” and “will aggressively investigate and fully cooperate with the NCAA and the SEC.”
After Tunsil was selected 13th overall Thursday night in the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins, he initially denied taking money while at Ole Miss.
The question came after a post on his Instagram showed an alleged text message exchange between the offensive lineman and an Ole Miss football staff member that included Tunsil’s request for money for bills. Tunsil was suspended seven games last season after the NCAA ruled he received several illegal benefits, including the use of three loaner cars.
When Tunsil was pressed about whether he took money, he said, “I’d have to say yeah.”
NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said Friday morning in an email response to The Associated Press that the NCAA does not “comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”
A response from Ole Miss is due in late May.
Tunsil’s position in the draft slid dramatically Thursday night after a video surfaced of him smoking weed from a gas mask bong just minutes before the first round began. He was expected to be among the first picks before the slide.
He says that his Twitter account was hacked and the video was made years ago, calling it a “mistake.”
The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder, who started at left tackle for the Rebels over the past three seasons, is expected to be introduced to Dolphins fans in Florida on Friday.
Tunsil’s troubles cast a dark cloud on a historic night for Ole Miss; it was the first time the school had three players selected in the first round of the draft. Receiver Laquon Treadwell was selected by the Minnesota Vikings at No. 23 and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche went to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 29.