Ole Miss Defends Hugh Freeze | Bonehead Picks

Ole Miss Defends Hugh Freeze

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For the Ole Miss Rebels, it had been a roller coaster ride like any other, going from one of the elite teams in the SEC to now being bombarded by penalties from the NCAA. Since participating in two consecutive New Year Six bowls, the bottom had suddenly fell out since key injuries and missing production from key players became problematic in 2016. Now along with self-imposed penalties for 2017, they are now fighting for their head coach Hugh Freeze being accused of losing control of his team.

It was reported that Ole Miss will contest seven of the 21 allegations brought down by the NCAA which accuses Freeze of lack of institutional control. While the bowl ban and the removal of scholarships was settling enough for the board, the NCAA thought otherwise as there were mostly recruiting violations which involved mostly his assistants. Freeze has already pulled two recruiters off the trail for two years to counter whatever the NCAA had in mind as far as punishment is concerned.

The NCAA investigation did put a bigger damper into recruiting when it came to National Signing Day in February. The Rebels dropped from fifth in the nation and third in the SEC in 2016 recruiting to 31st and 12th in 2017. But so far as the 2018 class is concerned, they picked up their first member on April 29 and so far have six on hand. What’s really the concern at the moment is whether Freeze will still be on the sidelines in 2017 to see them perform.

It is the first bowl ban for an SEC team since Mississippi State in 2004, and the first for Ole Miss since Billy Brewer was fired as head coach in 1993 for allegations far worse than what the Freeze era is facing. Brewer’s were so severe that the NCAA could have warranted the death penalty. Though that is extremely rare in this era of college football, the NCAA is doing there best to hand it down on a head coach instead of the entire team.

While it was the assistants who committed the allegations from within, the fingers were still pointed at Freeze, and the board and the entire team have come to his defense and for good reason. If they are forced to terminate Freeze, it could be another setback which in this day and age they cannot afford to have. You lose Freeze, Ole Miss may never have a shot at the SEC Championship, if ever.

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