Dan Wolken raises the obvious question.
Rest assured, we are still closer to the beginning of this sordid story than the end. Details will come out. People who knew the double life Freeze was leading will come forward.
And suddenly, the question of what Ole Miss officials knew and when did they know it will become central to the narrative of how the school moves forward.
There’s no reason to be coy here: Whispers about Freeze’s personal behavior have followed him since long before he became a college head coach. But at every stop along the way, it was difficult to do much with those rumors because so many people who were around him on coaching staffs and in athletic departments spoke so highly of him. His public embrace of Christianity, and the genuinely good charitable work he did, provided good cover and an easy narrative for all those glowing national newspaper profiles. Those who doubted his genuineness were written off as jealous or agenda-driven.
Even on Monday after the reality settled in, people who knew Freeze at various stops along the way were dumbfounded. Dean Lee, the former Arkansas State athletics director who gave Freeze his first FBS head coaching job, said he did extensive background checks on Freeze and found nothing that would raise a red flag.
“Never a scent of anything that would have been inappropriate,” Lee said. “This is totally out of the blue. I don’t know what to think and what to believe.”
But if you’re Ole Miss — a school that hired him, kept extending his contract, gave him more and more money and threw people under the bus to protect him in a massive NCAA infractions case — how is it possible you knew nothing for five-plus years and then decided to fire him in a matter of a couple days?
I suspect the truth lies somewhere between the news being a shock and a convenient excuse. One thing seems pretty certain, though. Wolken’s right that there’s more to come.