Ole Miss reportedly torn on the future of head coach Hugh Freeze
With his Ole Miss program firmly sitting in the crosshairs of the NCAA, the future of head coach Hugh Freeze is very much up in the air following the school’s second notice of allegations being handed down last week. While Freeze has helped build one of the more competitive SEC programs in recent seasons, Ole Miss may not suffer as strong a punishment if the school decides to cut ties to its head football coach.
According to Travis Haney of 247Sports, that’s something the school is internally debating at the moment.
Apparently, there are two camps, one interested in staying loyal to the coach that has achieved so much success in Oxford and another that wishes to move on from the NCAA investigation as painless as possible. Here’s what Haney had to say on the topic:
One camp believes Freeze should be retained regardless if the NCAA tacks on additional sanctions, including a second probation year. They see it as loyalty.
“They say, ‘Well, he took us to the Promised Land in winning a Sugar Bowl and beating Bama twice.’ They want to stick with him.”
The other camp believes that Ole Miss should take a tack of self-preservation, either suspending or firing Freeze almost immediately as a “sacrifice” to avoid the second year of probation.
Judging by the school’s publicly displayed show of support for Freeze up to this point, it’s hard to see Ole Miss doing anything other than backing up its coach. Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork and chancellor Jeffrey Vitter were both steadfast in their support for Freeze during the school’s video presentation announcing the latest notice of allegations and Freeze has followed up that release by saying he isn’t even concerned about his job heading into 2017.
Whether Freeze is being nieve or not, the actions the school takes in the coming weeks and days in response to the latest notice of allegations should provide further clarity on the coach’s status in Oxford. So far, at least publicly, the actions taken by the school suggest the leadership at Ole Miss will support Freeze and are prepared to move forward with him as the school’s head coach.
If that decision backfires, it will likely result in more than simply Freeze leaving Ole Miss, he’ll be joined by some of his superiors. On the other hand, Ole Miss may have all the right answers to the NCAA’s inquiries and avoid any further significant punishment from the NCAA or SEC. We’ll know more once Ole Miss responds to the notice of allegations within the next three months.
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