Hugh Freeze, trying to work that deflection game

You know when somebody’s playing the “mistakes were made” card, it’s an attempt to make you look in another direction.

Here’s Freeze’s narrative: Mistakes were made. They’ll be held accountable — he’ll be held accountable, even as he points out that some of the violations were made by boosters, people “outside the building.”

But he also says Ole Miss has been targeted because of a dramatic leap, both in recruiting classes and subsequently on the field. He believes there’s backlash from rivals over the idea that a traditionally mediocre program has moved up in the hierarchy (“People don’t like Ole Miss winning,” he said). He bristles when reporters and others tell him they’re hearing from other coaches that Ole Miss has been cheating. He wants to defend himself and the program, which is why he said:

“The day that really matters is the day we get to share our side with the Committee on Infractions.”

Andy Staples points out that one part of that bullshit is accurate.  If the NCAA finds a real problem, regardless of which staffer or staffers were responsible, Freeze will be stuck with the tab.

Freeze wants this to be an Ole Miss matter and not a Hugh Freeze matter, but that’s where it gets complicated and difficult to predict. In 2013, the schools passed a rule that allows the COI to discipline a head coach for the actions of his assistants even if the head coach didn’t know what the assistants were doing. In NCAA parlance, the head coach is now “presumed responsible” for more serious violations. The COI has the power to suspend the head coach for between 10% and 100% of a season.

You get paid $4 million a year, yeah, a little accountability should be expected.  And that makes Seth Emerson’s question something worth keeping in the back of our heads.

16 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

16 responses to “Hugh Freeze, trying to work that deflection game

  1. rchris

    As Kirby said this past signing day, a left tackle is the rarest find. They don’t grow on trees, and one that can start in the SEC immediately and go high in the draft is a rarity among rarities. If Freeze had not interfered with Tunsil there is no doubt in my mind that UGA football would have ascended a much higher arc these past few years. In Hugh’s mind, it’s no big deal but if everyone successfully cheated like that Ole Miss would have no competitive advantage and would quickly sink back down into the Mississippi mud where it came from.

  2. WarD Eagle

    Making no assumptions of Freeze’s guilt or innocence; I completely understand that a head coach can’t know everything. But he can hire assistants with integrity, reiterate the expectation of integrity, provide an avenue for open communication of suspicions of cheating, and measure success on the things that are under the assistants’ control.

    When you measure the success of assistants primarily on the decision of a 17 year old athlete’s choice of where to play football, you’re asking for someone to cheat. When you allow adults with money to be a part of the process, in any way, yet remain unaccountable, you’re asking for someone to cheat. When you recruit kids with no integrity, you’re asking for someone to cheat.

    • Macallanlover

      I agree with your comment but with the startling swing with Tunsil, it smelled from afar, it had to be blindingly obvious from Freeze’s position. He knew.

      • Mayor

        Freeze not only knew, he was the architect. Now he’s hiding behind a plausible deniability scenario he created in case the Rebs got caught.

  3. ApalachDawg

    Will Richt ever tell what really happened with the Tunsil recruitment… How in 48 hours LT went from Athens bound to Oxford bound?

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’ve thought about the “traditionally mediocre program moving up” thing. Mississippi State and TCU look okay so far. On the other hand, there’s always the SMU early 80’s template. Maybe some don’t cheat to do move up. Maybe some are better at getting away with cheating to move up.

    Ole Miss is always going to be handicapped because the state symbolizes Old South more than any other, but that 32 man recruiting class a few years ago . . . you’re just gonna draw attention.

    • JCDAWG83

      The Old South symbolism isn’t the problem for Ole Miss. Miss State struggles too and they are the Bulldogs. The problem for Mississippi schools is they are surrounded by strong SEC programs. When your neighbors are LSU and Bama/Auburn, you are going to have to really work to keep instate talent at home. Neither Mississippi school has a tradition of winning big, so attracting out of state talent is a challenge as well. Add to that the population of the state is only 3,000,000 people and you have a huge hill to climb if you are an SEC football program.

      These factors and the way some of the blue chips suddenly committed to Ole Miss are what made people start to ask uncomfortable questions. Tunsil came from Lake City, FL, Chad Kelly came from New York, neither had any connection to Ole Miss. Both decided to go to a program that had done pretty much nothing for the past 50 years.

  5. PTC DAWG

    UGA’s win in Oxford this fall, Ole Miss was distracted….nothing to see here.

  6. Cojones

    A few signs, maybe some towed behind planes, would drive the point home during the game there. “Who knew? Hugh knew” would do for starters. “No post-season games for OM this year – plus.” would be another message for their recruit game invitees to see.

  7. Mr. Hugh probably is thinking now that Richt should been as dirty as himself and would have provided the needed bagman instead.

  8. Bulldog Joe

    C’mon Hugh,

    “Mistakes were made” was sooo 1997. “Extreme carelessness” are now the passwords to immunity.

    Get with the program.

  9. ClydeBoogie

    Next!!!……OK Hugh got his bullhorn stood up on Mt.Biteme and looked down at all those losers and yelled.If anyone of you Mofo’s got anything….I said anything…at all y’all send it to my compliance office damit. Now OK Hugh has learned very well you don’t spit into the wind and don’t pull the mask off the lone ranger and you don’t mess around with the Ol SEC.

  10. Cousin Eddie

    I am I wrong in my memory but wasn’t Coach Cutt fired after a great season because he “refused” to cheat and they brought in Coach Cajun to start the ball rolling in “recruiting.” While yes it is a Ole Miss issue Coach Freeze is no saint or doesn’t come across as one from outside the state. They wouldn’t have hired him at that program if he wasn’t willing to go with the program.

    This blaming other coaches wanting to keep mediocre teams down sounds a little whiny to me.

  11. I wonder if he will raise the “Make Ole Miss Great Again” motto if it can work.