Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hugh Freeze Resigns at Ole Miss Amid Escort Scandal

The last straw was finally located in Oxford, and after piles of allegations over the course of the last few years, Ole Miss was finally forced to provide an ultimatum to head football coach Hugh Freeze, quit or be fired. The reasoning was not the 21 plus allegations, including lack of institutional control charge. The final shot to the proverbial skull was the fact that phone records could be traced from a university provided cell phone belonging to Freeze to a Tampa, Florida based escort service, a number that was mentioned in a lawsuit brought upon the university and Freeze by former head coach Houston Nutt.

Nutt is suing Freeze and Ole Miss for slander among other things, as Freeze, solid scumbag this he is, tried to throw Nutt and his staff under the bus for some, or many of the allegations brought against the school from the NCAA. Nutt has to feel very vindicated this evening, as it was his lawyer that found the phone number connection in a records gathering effort for the lawsuit. It was the lawyer for Nutt who told Ole Miss that their team had damaging information that could potentially be very embarrassing to the university should it get out. Ole Miss played chicken, and they lost.

Let me paint a picture for you. Houston Nutt has a wife, Jill, of 25 years. He has three daughters. He has tried to throw a former coaching staff under the bus for massive improprieties, and now, as a father of those three daughters, Freeze is tied to a prostitution service. Whether or not those services were rendered to him personally, or were a tool to be used to lure recruits, has not yet been sorted out, but what father of a daughter, much less three, can possibly engage in this type of behavior, and better yet, go to SEC media days and tout how he and his staff are "trying to do that right thing", and then go on a 16 minute filibuster-like rant during his time on the podium at said media days to avoid having to talk about this case? How could he then complain how for yet another year, he had to attend an SEC media event, and not talk about his players because of this scandal or that? He brought it all on himself, his program, and the school, and the school was too morally bankrupt to eliminate this liability until he involved them in something more amoral than just breaking a few rules. Let that all sink in for a moment, because the corruption of it all is stunning, to say the least.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter stated that after a conversation with Freeze and AD Ross Bjork, that Freeze stated that there has been a "pattern of personal conduct inconsistent with the standard of expectations for the leader of our football team." That sounds like a man caught, but does it not also sound like a man falling on his sword for the "greater good"? This has been ongoing for some time, and someone is going to try to tell us that these people had no idea? They are trying to ignore all of the facts and say that this was a character flaw issue in his personal life, because that was part of the statement tonight, but it goes so much deeper than that. It's so convenient to me that they would have stood by him just two weeks ago amid all of the other chargers, but suddenly this was too much? It just does not make any sense on its own merit.

The simple fact at this point is this. The university now had a smoking gun being used against them. They could deny everything else. They could throw anyone under the bus they so chose to, because there is no risk in that. This was a different thing altogether. It had the fingerprints of Freeze all over it, and this was something that could not be swept away. Ole Miss may have been in trouble before, but this is a whole new level of hell unleashed, and if the NCAA allows them to skate on this because they say that they solved the issue by firing Freeze, the NCAA itself should be disbanded. The NCAA does not need to double down now. They need to go all in and quadruple down on this thing.

What befuddles me the most is that this happens at all. With Baylor and their sexual assault issues, with stories from years past where student "tutors" ended up as being play things tossed to the wolves at Tennessee and Missouri, at Louisville where an assistant takes the fall for the head basketball coach by arranging sex parties between players and prostitutes in the basketball dorm, these things always get out. Always. Many programs have been brought to their knees by these gaps in character and moral judgement. So the question begs, why do coaches still think that this is a behavior that could ever be acceptable  in any way, and why do schools continue to retain said coaches? Why was it not enough for Ole Miss to fire Freeze in the midst of a 21 violation report, but a sex scandal was the final straw?

Freeze is an amoral piece of garbage. I say that with all sincerity. He is a pathetic excuse for a coach, a man, a leader of men, a father, and a husband. He should be banned from coaching for life. He blatantly has tried to cover up his own misdeeds by blaming it on another coach. The university joined him in doing so, but now they are to be looked at under a much larger microscope, as both Vitter and Bjork are now engaging in an act of throwing Freeze down as the fall guy for everything that is wrong with the program, in order to make themselves look compliant. It's the oldest trick in the book, and the NCAA should not allow them to get away with it, nor should the state of Mississippi.

AD Ross Bjork called this a "sad" and "unexpected" day for Ole Miss, but how is that remotely possible? How unexpected could the downfall of Freeze have been, no matter how the fall came about? Bjork himself should have been the instrument of the demise of Freeze, and he is completely complicit in that he allowed it to get to this, and Vitter is complicit in that he allowed Bjork to allow it to get to this. There is only one solution now. The entire administration must go in the wake of this. There are no exceptions, and nobody should be safe from this. There needs to be a clean sweep of the Ole Miss administration, and it needs to happen now, so that the reputation of the university can get on the mend, and for the school to become a model of the actual "right way of doing things", and not the Freeze version of the right way of doing things. Simply put, there was a pattern of this activity going all the way back to January of 2016, and that is only what the university will acknowledge. Someone knew what was going on, and nobody did a thing to stop it.

I may be naive in my take here, but at the end of the day, a football coach is more than a football coach. He is a leader of young men. Young men come to their campus at an impressionable time in their lives, many being many miles from home for the first time. A head coach and his staff have to be responsible for these young men, and they have to teach them through the process of being football players how to play not just the game of football and succeed, but how to be professional and decent human beings once the game is over. I do not think that this is too much to be asked, and when coaches are being paid unspeakable amounts of money to run these programs, it should be damned well expected.

The University of Mississippi has failed here. That is the long and short of it. They allowed a coach to walk around and spout his beliefs and his Godliness when they full well knew that it was all an act. His tacit denials of any portion of wrongdoing at SEC media day last week is a complete and utter example of how the university enabled Freeze and his behaviors. As long as this team continued to win on any level, the MO was deny, deny, deny, and act completely shocked at the severity of allegations. I guess that approach did not work very well. In the end, in football, W stands for winning, not for whores, whether they be administrators who turn a blind eye for the glory of winning a game, or for those who work for escort services.

1 comment:

  1. The university had better heed Scott's advice and clean house. Their reputation is in shambles as a university not just their football program! They really dropped the ball (pardon the pun) on this mess!