“I have no way of handling surprise amounts.”

Somehow, I don’t think Hugh Freeze will be extending the same gracious invitation to the world today.

In what has to be a first, last night there was some actual real-time drama that took place during an NFL Draft show.

An anonymous hacker used the night of the NFL draft to try to take down Laremy Tunsil and the Ole Miss football program.

Moments before the draft began a video of Tunsil smoking out of a bong fashioned out of a gas mask was posted onto his Twitter account. When it had done its damage, moving Tunsil out of the top 10 entirely and to the Miami Dolphins on No. 13, the hacker started on Tunsil’s Instagram account.

There they posted screenshots of alleged text messages between Tunsil and John Miller, assistant athletic director for football operations, in which Tunsil asks for money to pay rent and also for his mother’s $305 electric and water bill. In reference to the former, Miller makes a reference to “Barney.” Barner (sic) Farrar is Ole Miss’ assistant athletic director for high school and junior colleges.

“I made a mistake,” Tunsil said in a press conference. “That happened.”

Pressed if that meant he had taken money from a coach, Tunsil said, ‘I’d have to say yeah.’

I’d have to say that’s not good.  And I’d have to say this sure must have been awkward:

Coach Hugh Freeze was in the green room with Tunsil and fellow NFL first-round picks from Ole Miss, Laquon Treadwell (23rd overall to the Minnesota Vikings) and Robert Nkemdiche (29th overall to the Arizona Cardinals).

Talk about your “Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” moment.

No comment was forthcoming from the usually chatty freeze.  As for the school,

Ole Miss released a statement late Thursday night that said it was aware of the reports and, “Like we do whenever an allegation is brought to our attention or a potential violation is self-discovered, we will aggressively investigate and fully cooperate with the NCAA and the SEC.”

Yeah, sure.

A few thoughts on the situation:

  • It’s easy to mock Tunsil, I suppose, but as a Georgia fan who suffered through the Green and Gurley debacles, I don’t have the heart to do so, especially in the case of a kid who was by most accounts NFL-ready after his freshman year having to beg for table scraps to keep the water on for his mom.  In a fairer world, none of these kids would have ever had a problem with bending NCAA amateurism rules for a few bucks.
  • On the other hand, given Freeze’s previous sanctimony on the subject, Ole Miss deserves all the questioning and finger-pointing that is being and will continue to be directed its way.
  • What in the world was Jimmy Sexton thinking, letting Tunsil speak to the media last night?
  • All of that being said, and even with the NCAA already being in Oxford Town looking over the operation, so to speak, we’re a long way from seeing the hammer drop.  First off, while Tunsil said plenty last night, the NCAA can’t compel him to say any more, or provide any other information.  He’s in the NFL now, so he’s not touchable.  Miller and Ferrar are probably going to be scapegoated and cut loose at the earliest possible time, likely to be painted as rogue actors in this play.  That leaves Ross Bjork, the AD, to tap dance around institutional control claims, but to date he’s proved himself to be fairly adept.  Certainly he’s no Greg McGarity.
  • What’s the over/under on the number of FOIA requests that hit Ole Miss today?  And is that higher or lower than the number of times rival coaches use this as an issue with which to hammer Freeze on the recruiting trail?
  • Back to Tunsil – if you’re interested in whether he has a claim against the person who hacked his accounts and publicized what he posted, you might want to read this.
  • You know who’s relieved about this story dropping last night?  Nick Saban, who saw his own bad story – one that should have been a huge one last night and today – buried under Tunsil’s.  (Think there’s any chance Sexton suggested the timing?  Eh, nah.)

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  The NFL thinks Ole Miss has a “culture”.  Not in a good sense…

The hot rumor as Thursday approached was that the several teams, including the Chargers at No. 3, coveted Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley over Tunsil. Multiple sources told The MMQB that Tunsil’s off-field behavior was becoming increasingly worrisome and reason for some teams to remove him from their draft boards altogether. Much of it had to do with the culture at Mississippi, sources say. The football program was served in January with notice of allegations of a number of NCAA violations. Last season Tunsil was suspended seven games for receiving impermissible benefits, and at the combine in February teammate Robert Nkemdiche said Tunsil had been with him when Nkemdiche fell out a hotel window. Then, two days before the draft, Tunsil’s stepfather filed a lawsuit against him for “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” stemming from a dispute last June. For a player pegged as a potential No. 1 pick, there were enough problems surrounding Tunsil to turn some teams away.

And this is, hands down, the best summary of the surreal evening:

Asked again if there had been an exchange of money, Tunsil then responded matter-of-factly, “I have to say yeah.” A further question about whether he’d met with the NCAA was being posed when Milam appeared from behind a curtain, cutting the session short. “He’s got no more comments. Thank you guys so much,” she said, tapping the offensive lineman on the shoulder, whisking him away and leaving media as baffled as Tunsil apparently had been.

“There’s no way I heard that correctly,” a reporter in the front row said. “There’s no f—ing way that just happened.”

Just a reminder that Jimmy Sexton, who, by the way you shouldn’t forget, represents both Tunsil and Freeze, didn’t exactly have a good night.

82 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, The NCAA

82 responses to ““I have no way of handling surprise amounts.”

  1. The $305 request wasn’t the first time Tunsil and his handlers had their hands out to the Ole Si$$ bagman network. Scholarships for girlfriends and allegations of cash have surrounded him from day 1.

  2. Derek

    High Freeze and John Miller discussing player compensation issues:

  3. @gatriguy

    Freeze has been a slime all since The Blind Side days. He basically parlayed Oher and the Memphis Ole Miss boosters into that job. Last night all his chickens came home to roost.

    • Huh? Oher was drafted in 2009. Freeze didn’t start at Ole Miss until 2012.

      • The Dawg abides

        He coached Oher in high school. He’s a big friend of the Touhys. Freeze got a job on the Ole Miss staff right after delivering them Oher.

      • @gatriguy

        Freeze became Ole Miss TE coach and recruiting coordinator in 2006. Go back and read the book, he parlayed Oher into a college gig. Alledgedly if he had gone to UT, he had a similar agreement worked out with Fulmer. He’s slimey as they come.

  4. Bright Idea

    Is Tunsil the only stud that rushed to Ole Piss just for the scenery?

  5. simpl_matter

    You got to be one stupid mofo to use text, twitter, etc., to discuss illicit dealings. Tunsil being that dumb is understandable, but the Assistant AD…come on, man!

  6. MDDawg

    I never understand this part about players taking money: why is it always to pay their rent? Why are they paying rent at all? Don’t they get free housing as part of their scholarship?

    That’s where I lose a little sympathy for them in the whole player compensation debate. If you’re offered student housing as part of your scholarship, and you decline that offer, then complain that you can’t pay your rent? That’s your own fault, not the NCAA’s.

  7. Uglydawg

    I call shenanigans on the request for 300 dollars for his mom’s water bill. You can’t tell me that a guy like Tunsil, without a doubt destined to make a fortune in the NFL, couldn’t come up with 300 dollars from someone. College superstars have plenty of “credit”. Most of them can walk into the local car dealership and get whatever they want on a “pay you when I get to the NFL” deal..
    “For Mom’s water bill” just may be Ole’ Miss lexicon for “It’s payday”..On the other hand, I suppose that if that were the case, Tunsil would not have needed re-direction to the real bagman
    I would imagine it went something like this..”Hey, we can’t pay you. But if there is ever a real need..a real need…let one of the coaches know and maybe we can find a way to help you out”.
    Of course there’s always money for bong fuel. Necessity. Poor kid.

    • Derek

      Ummm…no, not really. There are two basic patterns of how this works. One is where a member of the coaching staff gets with certain interested parties and they pass a bucket for “incidentals.” This is the fund that got auburn messed up under dye during the Eric Ramsey debacle. The other is that certain high profile kids have direct contacts with people who help them out as needed. If you’re dirty have to have both going because no one really wants to hear from a the second string guard about a money issue. Those guys need the staff to help them. Guys like tunsil probably can have two hands out.

      “Borrowing cars” from dealerships happens but you can’t exactly drive up to the landlord or the power company and get even after they’ve seen your ride.

      Couldn’t say what our program looks like in this regard but this is how I suspect that your Auburn’s and ole miss’s handle things. My guess is that the “cleaner” programs have a much more unofficial network of interested parties with enough “buffers” so that even if they get caught there’s a connection between the player and the payor but not to the program.

    • Cojones

      Your COA money at work. He buys the good stuff when he drives back into Georgia.

    • Normaltown Mike

      If his momma had a $300 water bill, she needs to call a plumber first.

    • And the somebodies in this case are agents and coaches.

  8. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    In articles about him, I can never get past the thought that “Laremy Tunsil” sounds like the name of the bassist for a mid-70s prog rock band.

    • Cojones

      Laremy is derived from “larapin” meaning having a helluva good time. Usage: We had a larapin good time at the fandango over at Coach’s digs before Nkemdiche and I signed on for the big roundup.

      Last night was not a larapin good time for what ended up as a Tunsilectomy.

  9. Seems like things may be lining up for Kirby and UGA to step on some necks. I hope we don’t waste time

  10. Bulldog Joe

    My biggest issue with Freeze:

    With three first-rounders last season, how does he finish with the same record as a guy who got fired?

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Well their schedule was more difficult, and they finished the year winning a major bowl game (Sugar Bowl) whereas we were relegated to another hapless bowl against a now hapless program. They also beat Bama at Bama, while Bama utterly trucked us at our own place.

      Our 10 win season last year was the least accomplished or fulfilled 10 win campaign ever, as we didn’t even beat one major conference team with a winning record and lost all 3 of our biggest games (2 being total blowouts).

      • Bulldog Joe

        Memphis, Arkansas, and got trucked by the same no-offense Florida team.

        With the top QB in the league and three first-rounders.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          This is true, but again their overall schedule was far more difficult. They beat 5 power teams with a winning record, four of whom were ranked, including the then #1 team in the country on the road. We, meanwhile, beat absolutely nobody of significance…not even a team who simply had a winning record. That’s why they went on to play in the Sugar Bowl while we played in the TaxSlayer bowl.

    • PTC DAWG

      They beat a few teams with a pulse.

  11. 3rdandGrantham

    Even with this mountain of evidence, including Tunsil himself who admitted receiving cash from coaches, unfortunately I don’t see anything happening to Ole Miss whatsoever. The NCAA is basically toothless these days with limited powers overall, and unless Tunsil decides that he wants to personally bury Ole Miss, he simply can deny all their requests, as he’s under no obligation to cooperate with them. With that in mind, I’m thinking that Freeze was at the NFL draft last night not to simply support his outgoing players as most coaches do, but instead to play politics and keep Tunsil, RN, and Treadwill on his/Ole Miss’ good side, if you will.

    Speaking of Treadwell, as shady as we think Tunsil’s recruitment was, apparently Treadwell’s was totally over the top, in which a top recruited athlete from Chicago chose a (at the time) mediocre at best Ole Miss program over every top-flight program in the country. Lastly, is it just me, or does Hugh Freeze give you the same weird vibe that those TV evangelists gave you back in the day? He comes across as a down-to-earth, southern gentleman…but just that smile alone screams to me that something else is going on behind that public veneer of religious innocence.

    • @gatriguy

      Bingo! I thought the same thing. It seemed like Freeze was there to try to get them through the night without his 2013 recruit class coming unglued in front of the world. He almost made it.

      • Dolly Llama

        You both may be right, but I’m thinking this one is so grievous — and so very, very public, they’re going to have to come down hard to save face. This one will transcend just football fans. Housewives will be watching Mr. Bong Gas Mask during the day. This one won’t just “go viral,” it’ll blow up. Not blow up Prince Dies big, but this one will become a TMZ-style pop culture thing. And the NCAA will feel like it just has to do something. 10 years plus of fake classes at Chapel Hill may not be quite big enough, but this one will be, I think.

    • Chi-town Dawg

      If memory serves me correctly, not only did Treadwell sign with Ole Miss as you outlined above 3G, but he also committed to attending the school before he even set foot on campus for an official or unofficial visit. I think he committed to Ole Miss and then went to visit the campus a couple of weeks later. How’s that for recruiting – LOL!

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Exactly, great point Chi. I believe Tunsil did the exact same thing to us — he was committed for seemingly ever, then suddenly out of the blue we heard whispers about him committing to Ole Miss. At the time, the various UGA recruiting guys thought nothing of it — after all, Tunsil had never even set foot on Ole Miss’ campus. But when Bobo made that now infamous recruiting visit to Tunsil’s home, in which his sister and mom greeted him wearing Ole Miss sweatshirts, quickly word spread that something shady was going on, and sure enough Tunsil signed with Ole Miss just a week or so later.

  12. Oh…and Nkemdechie is kinda getting a pass since he threw himself out a hotel window.

  13. Russ

    Haha! This is hilarious, couldn’t happen to a better hypocrite than Freeze.

    Of course, nothing will happen to them. We’re the only team that rolls over and pees ourselves when the NCAA comes around.

    • Jeff Sanchez

      Yeah….I had an involuntary shudder last night imagining this happening to UGA with GMcG heading it up

  14. scdog98

    Senator, reading the SI article, can UGA sue that kid hacker from Tech from 2014? Obviously he got in their heads, defamed the athletic department, and cost the school millions by losing that game and not being invited to the Peach Bowl!

    • Dolly Llama

      I think that kid eventually faced some kind of criminal charges. Too lazy to Google it.

      Also, was Tunsil smoking the Darth Vader bong in front of a Confederate Flag?

      My God, I know people were pissed at the time that we missed him, but we dodged a bullet on this guy.

      • My God, I know people were pissed at the time that we missed him, but we dodged a bullet on this guy.

        Thinking about how McGarity would respond to Tunsil’s problems… oh, boy.

        • Chi-town Dawg

          LMAO – McGoofy would turnover the keys to B-M and voluntarily implement the death penalty on our football program. I also cringe just thinking about it;-)

        • A year ago, our AD would voluntarily cut our scholarships to 60, implement a post-season ban, and throw the program under the bus. Today, he would give the NCAA the finger and dare them to prove it because he knows any on the field performance issues will be blamed on him.

          • Cousin Eddie

            I assumed he would be afraid that Smart would send Rocker to “talk” to him if he acted that stupid, again.

        • Tunsil would have seen the field marginally more often that Odell Thurman. What with piss tests after spring break and mandatory sentencing and what all…

        • Bulldog Joe

          Thinking about how McGarity would respond to Tunsil’s problems… oh, boy.

          “Uh, Mr. Foley, how do I respond to this?”

  15. PTC DAWG

    I liked Gruden’s comment on the so called hacked twitter acct…if you don’t have one, no acct to be hacked.

  16. What Fresh Hell is This?

    “It’s easy to mock Tunsil, I suppose, but as a Georgia fan who suffered through the Green and Gurley debacles, I don’t have the heart to do so”

    Well hell, then step aside and allow me. F@#k Tunsil and Ole Miss. Dumb asses! Green sold a jersey and Gurley some autographs, neither took or demanded money from the program (as far as we know). Discussing payments via text? Holy shit! Ole Miss has been recruiting so far above their heads for a long time now and everyone knew why. Glad it’s out in the daylight and I hope there’s much more to come.

  17. I’ve seen a few Bammers calling Tunsil a thug and beating on Ole Miss. It’s hard for me to believe anyone can really be that ignorant.

    • Uglydawg

      We don’t have to have a big imagination to understand how Bammers feel about Ole Miss. The Rebel Black Bears are in for a beat-down.

    • Bulldog Joe

      Launching the search for the twitter hack in the state of Alabama is a good idea.

  18. Go Dawgs!

    Wonder how Ole Miss won the recruiting battle with Georgia for Tunsil’s services?

    I would love to see the NCAA do something to get money to the student athletes. However, it’s currently against the rules. And if Georgia is going to toe that line and cost itself victories without AJ Green and Todd Gurley (who took money from third parties and not UGA) then Ole Miss deserves to get hammered for breaking those rules. There’s been smoke at Ole Miss (pun intended) for a long time and now we’re finally seeing the fire. The NCAA needs to burn Oxford to the ground or else simply close up shop.

    • Don in Mar-a-Lago

      That will never happen and I’ll tell you why: next week there will be Two Corinthians

      • Derek

        Lets hope that the NCAA is reading Hugh Ezekial 25:17 very soon. “You will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you!”

        • Dog in Fla

          Mark Emmert has other people do Old Testament dramatic readings. When they have time. And they don’t because they’re still too busy beating that dead horse

  19. Debby Balcer

    His stepfather out to get revenge. Scary watching a kid’s life unravel. I remember how upset we were when we lost Tunsil and the Nkemdechie brothers. It sounds like we got the better end of that deal. I take no joy in watching this but I do hope Ole Miss is punished.

    • Chi-town Dawg

      Unfortunately, I doubt that Ole Miss will get the harsh sanctions they deserve, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong. If the NCAA is still struggling with the UNC case/sanctions where they had much more solid evidence, then I’m sure the slime buckets at Mississippi will deny, delay, subterfuge and then serve up 1-2 sacrificial lambs in order to minimize the situation.

  20. SouthernYank

    Senator, you and I disagree on giving more and more $ to these players, but I have a question for you, as I’m not up on the scholarship gig: is not room and board included? If so, if he’s asking for rent, do we not have a situation where he has decided to live off campus in a place costs in excess of his room and board stipend?

  21. Sanford222view

    Sexton also represents the Miami Dolphins’ head coach doesn’t he?

  22. This whole thing is university level of “Shit and fell back in it” and the only thing that could have made it better is if it was Auburn.

    • The Dawg abides

      Everyone please read the instagram exchange. It’s easy to extract that an institutional system is in place to pay his family’s living expenses. This utility bill was something extra that Tunsil was asking the staffer about, and he commented about ” unexpected expenses”. There is a lot to be derived from that short conversation about the extent of Ole Miss’ pay for play system.