When the NCAA announced penalties on Ole Miss for a series of recruiting violations on Friday, it was notable that former coach Hugh Freeze seemed to get away with a pretty light slap on the wrist.
Freeze received a one-year penalty, which will make it difficult for him to land a head coaching position for the 2018 season as he’d have to sit out the first two conference games, but has no restrictions on his ability to become an assistant coach.
While discussing the decision with The Clarion Ledger, Greg Christopher, Xavier’s athletic director and the chief hearing officer for the Ole Miss case, said the committee felt Freeze simply didn’t know his assistants were committing the violations:
“A lot of people will throw head coach responsibility into one big bucket. But a lot of times people don’t step out and realize there are two prongs to the head coach responsibility,” Christopher said. “There’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and there’s failure to monitor.”
Since the committee didn’t feel as if Freeze was willfully ignoring the violations, he didn’t receive as severe of a punishment as others. But, Christopher added, the NCAA committee still wanted to send a message with the penalty:
“He did not meet the obligation in monitoring the assistant coaches and the boosters,” Christopher said. “I think by looking at both aspects of head coach responsibility you get to how we tailored the penalty.”
Freeze is now being linked to some offensive coordinator openings around the country. It will be interesting to see where, if anywhere, he ends up in 2018.