This story about Steve Robertson, a Mississippi State recruiting reporter who became a major source on the NCAA’s investigation of Ole Miss football and then contributed to uncovering evidence that led to Hugh Freeze’s departure, is a timely read on the eve of the Egg Bowl.
There is a revelation in it that’s amusing. It turns out they found about Freeze’s extra-curricular activity by mistake.
Mars needed help sifting through Freeze’s phone records, obtained through an open records request, and Robertson agreed to help. The men wanted to see if Freeze had spoken with reporters around the time Ole Miss received an updated notice of allegations from the NCAA on Jan. 23, 2016. They decided to request Freeze’s phone records for the day before and the day after. Mars asked for the wrong days, though: Instead of asking for Jan. 22 through 24, he requested Jan. 19 through 21.
Robertson searched through the records anyway, and there, on Jan. 19, he saw a number with a Detroit area code. Robertson typed the number into Google, and results showed the number was linked to a series of ads for a Tampa-area escort service. Ole Miss, prompted by Mars, reviewed more of Freeze’s university phone records, and discovered a pattern of similar phone calls. On July 20, within days of Robertson’s discovery, Freeze resigned.
And all it would have taken was a simple apology…