His Own Integrity, Not Ole Miss, Main Concern Of Hugh Freeze

    Despite NCAA violations putting Ole Miss football in turmoil, head coach Hugh Freeze seems more worried about his integrity than what happens to the Rebels program.

    February 28, 2017

    Despite NCAA violations putting Ole Miss football in turmoil, head coach Hugh Freeze seems more worried about his integrity than what happens to the Rebels program.


    At times, it seems that Hugh Freeze does not understand – or maybe just doesn’t care – how much of a hole he has dug for both himself and the Ole Miss football program.

    On Tuesday, holding his opening press conference as the Rebels begin spring practice, the brash naivety was again on full display.

    No, he’s not worried about his job security. No, he’s not thought about possibly being unable to coach in the season’s first game. Yes, his integrity being in question is the “toughest part” of this whole ordeal.

    Oh yes, the integrity that Freeze holds tighter than a running back toting the ball near the goal line. It always comes back to that.

    NCAA findings, including charges of Freeze violating head coach responsibility legislation, will keep Ole Miss from participating in a bowl game this season. As a result, players that may not have anything to do with the violations will be punished, and yet integrity is head coach’s primary concern.

    This is nothing new for a man that once proclaimed himself a target on account of his Christian values. While he likes to see himself as a present-day Noah – a figure who does everything by the book – Freeze comes across as Adam – a man unwilling to take blame or responsibility for actions.

    The staff member that provided lodging and transportation to a prospective student-athlete? Sure, he was on Freeze’s staff, but the head coach could never know what his assistants were doing at all times, even if that assistant was doling out cash at the amount of $13,000 to $15,600.

    What about that other staff member that provided impermissible free merchandise from a store owned by a booster? No knowledge.

    These infractions, plus 19 others, all added up to the NCAA finding Ole Miss lacked institutional control and failed to monitor the conduct and administration of its athletics program.

    Freeze wants to hear none of that. When asked about Mike Gundy’s comments that Oklahoma State’s Sugar Bowl loss to the Rebels maybe not have been on an even playing field, Freeze responded the only way he knows: with arrogance.

    “Maybe we can meet in another Sugar Bowl and see how that one goes.”

    It will be at least a year. And before that, the Rebels must learn how much more punishment is coming their way. From there, the Ole Miss powers-that-be will have to decide on the future of the program, with or without Freeze, all while the current crop of players pay for the sins of others.

    Freeze isn’t worried about that, though, despite the fact that his integrity – the one thing he holds dear – is at stake.

    MORE: Ole Miss Rebels Spring Practice Preview: 3 Storylines To Watch

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