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.