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Searching for sympathy in Oxford, and coming up short.

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Mississippi v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Hugh Freeze once famously challenged anyone with evidence of misconduct within the Ole Miss football program to email the University to tell them about it. I don’t think he believed former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt’s lawyers would one day take him up on the offer, and that it would cost him his job.

Let’s back up a little to examine how we got here. Hugh Freeze’s team has looked highly suspicious for some time. The NCAA said as much in writing. Ole Miss responded by saying Freeze didn’t participate in wrongdoing and it was mostly Houston Nutt’s fault anyway. Nutt responded by suing the university for defamation. It seems that as part of the windup for that suit Nutt’s attorneys sent open records requests for Freeze’s university cell phone records.

According to Y Sports those records included one brief call to a Florida escort service. But they also included other calls which according to Ole Miss showed a "pattern of behavior" egregious enough that athletic director Ross Bjork confirmed the school would have terminated Freeze under the moral turpitude clause of his contract had he not resigned.

Which he did. No buyout. No explanation. Just...poof. Suddenly the guy who two years ago was wedging his mug in front of every camera he could find was out the door with only a vague reference to personal misconduct.

An illicit relationship with a staffer? Attempts to influence witnesses in the ongoing NCAA probe? Playing candy crush in staff meetings? Nobody knows. But it is worth remembering that Freeze already had a star player’s gas mask bong photos and screen captures of a coach agreeing to give that player rent money leak and Ole Miss stood by him like Tammy Wynette. So whatever it is, it has to be impressive.

And you have to admit that there’s a touch of poetic justice to Nutt using the same procedural device that dogged his tenure at Arkansas to bring down his successor. You just gotta respect that move of move straight out of a Mario Puzo novel. Houston Nutt had a lot of trouble during his time in Oxford beating his SEC West coevals. But he beat Hugh Freeze so badly that the guy may not recover.

To be clear, Hugh Freeze has enemies. SEC coaches have groused quietly for some time about the divide between his pious public persona and his cutthroat recruiting tactics. As the evidence mounted that there was fire behind all the smoke coming from Oxford, Freeze and Ole Miss responded by pointing the finger at Nutt. The Right Reverend’s suit against Ole Miss and Freeze may have just gotten that much more interesting, not unlike the lives of some other people.

Hugh Freeze has a wife and three teenage daughters. I feel sorry for them, because whatever personal peccadillos Freeze may have succumbed to, they are the ones who’ll have to put up with the whispers and giggles. The jokes. The move to somewhere other than Oxford to try to escape the scandal that is likely coming. But I don’t feel a lick of sympathy for Hugh Freeze. That preening jackleg has made his bed and now gets to lie in it.

I may feel even less sympathy for Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork, who oversaw the mud flung in Nutt’s direction and now is shocked, just shocked, that Hugh Freeze may not have been 100% on the up and up. Bjork and the Ole Miss administration have spent tens of thousands of dollars defending the guy they just fired. I find that hilarious.

If Bjork was surprised at what he had to do today he’s a worse AD than Houston Nutt was a coach. He now gets to go before the NCAA committee on infractions and explain that the coach he just fired for personal failings and unforgivable deceit was somehow above board and honest in his professional dealings. Good luck with that, Ross.

I do feel mild sympathy for Ole Miss fans. They’re the ones whose football team will start fall practice in two weeks with an interim coach. Though the ones who spent the past couple of years encouraging members of this site’s staff to fornicate with various animals, family members, and inanimate objects (electrical outlets and wood chippers, for example) are getting exactly what they deserve: a miserable football team facing a bowl ban, scholarship reductions, and a transition period they didn’t see coming.

But again, zero sympathy for the guy Michael Oher is alleged in The Blindside to have nicknamed "the Snake", a bold opportunist who’s habitually told the truth when it suited him and resorted to disingenuous grandstanding when it didn’t. He’s getting what’s been coming for some time. Hotty Toddy, goshamighty.