Saturday, June 17, 2017

Coach Freeze responds to the NCAA

Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze defended himself against the NCAA's charge that he lost control of his program.  The response was obtained through a public records request.  It appears Ole Miss and Coach Freeze have gone "all in" together on their response to the NCAA.  Coach Freeze argues that he created a culture of compliance at Ole Miss and blames the violations on individuals who lied to him as they evaded NCAA rules. 


The opening defense in the 91-page response states:

Hugh Freeze has steadfastly promoted an atmosphere of compliance within his program and monitored his staff consistent with the responsibilities placed on him as a head coach under Bylaw 11.1.1.1. The allegations before this Committee are inconsistent with Coach Freeze’s character and his clearly articulated expectations for members of his staff. These allegations do not arise because of a failure by Coach Freeze to properly educate and monitor his staff, but, if true, reflect particular staff members’ deceit or carelessness. These choices have irreparably damaged Coach Freeze’s reputation and put him and his program at risk for penalties that could have a lifetime effect.

As will be developed more fully in this response, Coach Freeze was not asleep at the wheel. Rather, from the moment he became aware of the enactment of Bylaw 11.1.1.1., Coach Freeze accepted the responsibility imposed under it to create an atmosphere of compliance and to implement and continuously improve upon a system that would recognize “red flags” and act appropriately on them.
As the multitude of witness interviews, compliance documents, and available information unanimously reveal, Coach Freeze has built a robust and ever changing compliance program that is second to none in his profession.....
The response includes nine affidavits from current and past colleagues of Coach Freeze that sound like letters written to a judge on behalf of a defendant before sentencing.

 The university further argued:

The Committee’s task is not simply to determine whether violations occurred during Coach Freeze’s tenure as the head football coach. While Bylaw 11.1.1.1 presumes Coach Freeze is responsible for the violations of those who reported to him, it allows him to rebut the presumption of responsibility by showing that 1) he promoted an atmosphere of compliance within the program, and 2) he monitored the activities of staff members who report, directly or indirectly to him. The committee is charged with looking beyond the facts of the violations and into the environment in which they occurred. (Totality of the circumstances?).....
Importantly, under Bylaw 11.1.1.1, neither the number of allegations nor the number of staff members involved is conclusive in determining if a head coach has failed to adequately promote compliance within the program and/or monitor his staff. “....



It appears Ole Miss claims that Coach Freeze is blameless if he did his best to create a culture of compliance and it was ignored anyway.  One example is the "hunting" violation.  A student was given access to prime hunting land as a recruit and players.  Ole Miss posited:

xxxxxx , who was provided limited immunity, supplied the basis for Allegation 7, involving access to hunting land on his official visit and during his year at the University. That alleged Level III allegation does not name Coach Freeze personally; however, it is included as a basis for the Head Coach Responsibility charge against him. (p.14)

 The Ole Miss defense of the compliance program begins on p. 16.  It overflows with statistics and other data in an attempt to show that Coach Freeze has control of his program.



 The response also lists situations where Coach Freeze personally stopped recruiting violations from taking place (start on p.31).  The response to each of the 21 allegations begins on p.35.   Kingfish has not had time to read through them but it's Saturday night.  Pour the bourbon and enjoy digging through them. 

Coach Freeze is also presented as a victim:

In spite of all this, Coach Freeze has already paid a steep price for this four‐year investigation, which has affected both his program and his reputation. With regard to the program, the investigation has impacted the team from a competitive standpoint by affecting both the atmosphere of the current team and multiple recruiting classes. In Coach Freeze’s own words, “It’s caused strains on relationships that I never thought would be strained . . . . And it was just like walking on eggshells around the building, and you’re in the dark on most of it and it makes you – makes me want to fight with Lee Tyner and Henry and guys you know because you’re just in the dark and you’re trying to run a program. And you have no clue what’s going on.” (FI No. 288, at 191). Predictably, this impacted the team on the field. Again, Coach Freeze explained, “I’ve never had a losing season until this year. There’s a lot of reasons for the losing season, I think, and some of it has to do with the cloud that’s over us. That’s been difficult.” Id. at 190.

Further, the uncertainty of what may come coupled with Coach Freeze’s inability to discuss the ongoing investigation has hurt recruiting classes. As he put it, “I mean you can’t—you have no way—no finality to tell a recruit or his parents, while every other school is telling them everything under the sun. Just the—it’s very hard to manage your team when difficulty comes and there’s constantly articles coming out and you’re losing recruits, and they really would like to come to our environment, I believe that. But you can’t give them any finality.” (Id. at 190–91). The four‐year investigation impacted recruiting class after class and strained relationships within the program. This has been a de facto sanction in itself.

More importantly, the investigation has punished Coach Freeze personally because it has been used to attack his integrity and tarnish his reputation. In his December 2016 interview, he emotionally described the personal impact of the investigation: “Man, I’ve got my family. And we’ll be fine whether we win on the scoreboard or not. But taking a hit to your integrity and to your name is difficult.” (Id. at 190).

The response was prepared by attorney Walter Watkins, Jr. of Forman Watkins in Jackson. 


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to be first.....

It appears WG Watkins and Fred Krutz have little else to do but type...

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss needs to review the recent Louisville penalties and make a few adjustments to this defense....

Anonymous said...

Every time a small market team rolls over to the NCAA they get hammered. It's their only hope to fight for every hill. Could easily be MSU or Arky or South Carolina next time. NCAA can't punish the big market teams so they savor going after the little guys.

Anonymous said...

If Hillary and Trump can win party nominations, Freeze should go into politics. Teflon Hugh.

Anonymous said...

The University of South Carolina is not a small market team, nor a small-minded university. Stick to comparing your small self to other Mississippi universities.

Anonymous said...

As an MSU fan, I tell my fellow Bullies that we should not be dancing on the grave of the Ole Miss NCAA case, because "Tark the Shark" had it right years ago. Here is one of Tark's best quotes from a Washington Post article about his death in 2015:

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, it’s going to give Cleveland State two more years of probation,” Tarkanian said. It’s a great line, a funny line, but it underscored how the NCAA bullied smaller schools with sanctions while it let marquee (read: money-making) programs slide for the same transgressions.

Tarkanian wrote in his autobiography that he liked transfers from major programs “because they already had their cars paid for.”

Anonymous said...

8:57, I'm sure the nation can't wait for USC version 2 to come on the tube for women's soccer. Yep, big market over there in north Georgia.

Anonymous said...

The Louisville violations were much more egregious than the OM violations. Hunting on someone's land? Really? A few rides to games. A player sleeping on a coaches couch until he could find a place to stay. The Lewis allegations have been effectively rebutted. The ACT scores are serious, but are not proven. That took place in 2009 under Nutt and another AD and Chancellor. Overall, OM has been more than generous with the self imposed sanctions. This was a 5 year investigation. Actually it shows OM runs a clean program. There is a lot of hate for Freeze because he is a great coach and is an outspoken Christian.

Anonymous said...

9:41, USC resides in South Carolina. Ole Miss resides in the past. Nobody outside of your state cares about you. The rest of the South left Mississippi behind decades ago.

Anonymous said...

10:08 IIRC it was just two years ago MSU and OM were fighting it out for the #1 spot in the country for a week or two. Hardly "decades ago"

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the women's basketball coach should sue the Old Miss administration and Bdork for not standing behind him like they have Freeze. As Bdork said, "the women's basketball coach was responsible for his staff, therefore he was terminated based on that assumption." Freeze has lied and lied and lied about having no knowledge of HIS staff cheating and paying player, whether with money, food, cars or hotel says, and the administration has stood behind all this denial. I guess Freeze thinks God holds a special place in his heart for the school called Ole Miss, named after the slave owners wife. It's all a farce and after the NCAA found Pitino guilty of "failure to monitor" then Freeze has no hope but to go ahead and accept the punishment the NCAA is about to hand down. Turn around, bend over and just take it Hey Hugh, because it's going to be painful for you and all your so called disciples.

Anonymous said...

I believe that there may be some creedance to the idea of selective enforcement within the NCAA; however, reading this and the associated commentary is quite amusing.

We complied, we deny, and we are being unjustly vilified. 😂
Pro tip : purposely lose when it comes to Bama.

Anonymous said...

10:05 here is a little different view of the Louisville and OM situations;

https://mississippitoday.org/2017/06/16/ncaas-suspension-of-louisville-coach-doesnt-bode-well-for-freeze-ole-miss/

Desperate People Do Desperate Things said...

Everybody gotta believe a preacher, right Bro? Please cue the photos of a bawling (as in crying) reverend Jimmy Swaggart promising he is a man of God and victim of the devil's decidedly devious deeds.

Swaggart's credibility and reputation took a (temporary) hit as well, but he begged for mercy, told a few lies and is now back on the radideo. Swaggart claimed the evil deeds were 'not really me but were the actions of an alternate me created by the devil himself'.

Cue photos of Hugh Freeze and maybe a poor rendition of 'Why Me Lord'.

Anonymous said...

What is this obsession to "KEEP FREEZE". I can assure you the other SEC opponents don't want him gone. Remember Ole Miss 20, Ms. State 55.

Anonymous said...

10:08. The last time I checked I-20 still runs eastbound.

Anonymous said...

The Mississippi "leadership," whoever the hell that is supposed to be, failed the university, the faculty, staff, alumni and fans, with this "save the coach" strategy. He should have been canned the day after draft night.

Another Theory.. said...

Freeze has the goods on Bjork. The Chancellor knows if they get rid of Freeze, Bjork will have to go as well. With both gone, the Chancellor will suffer the embarrassment and notoriety of being the laughing stock of college administrators at their semi-annual 'meet and greet' in Destin, Boston or San Francisco.

And just as the new Chancellor is basking in the fresh limelight of getting rid of all things Confederate.

Anonymous said...

Uh Oh, Derunnya (sp?) wilson and Bo Wallace are both back in the news again this weekend. Not good. While I am on that subject, Derunnya was the most outstanding athlete coming out if high school (both basketball and football) inAlabama. Alabama did not offer him a scholarship. This is a red flag!!!!

Anonymous said...

It may not be your fault but it's always your responsibility. The fact that you may or may not have known is completely irrelevant. No leadership. Place blame everywhere but yourself. If a ship runs aground the navigator gets reprimanded the commander gets relieved. Doesn't matter if you were asleep or any other number of excuses. That commander's career is over and that is the way it should be.

Anonymous said...

ncaa investigations in the sec........ the soap opera of choice for fatass , loudmouth fans who consider themselves to be something special because the spent a few semesters at a sec school and them went home to momma.

Anonymous said...

Every Soap Opera trots out one or two walk on simpletons without speaking parts but occasionally the producer will allow a speaking part, as evidenced by the post at 9:47.

Anonymous said...

to 2;27.... how dare the NCAA investigate ole miss and you, the beautiful people of the SEC who think they piss perfume and crap fudge?? i may be a "walk on" but i sure made the team .

Anonymous said...

ever notice how many alabama fans you see here in mississippi with their vehicles festooned with alabama stickers? 99% of them couldn't point to tuscaloosa on a map.

Anonymous said...

3:11...there IS no 2:27 which proves you can neither read nor decipher the elements of an investigation. No, I don't think they crap fudge. I think Freeze is neck deep in manure of his own making. And if not for Bowden being a chicken-shit, your team would be in the SEC as well.

Anonymous said...

We have this in construction also. Your employee falls off a roof. He was not property tied off. You go back and show that all of your supervisors are current on their OSHA training and you have logs proving all employees attend weekly safety meetings. You might get a slap on the wrist. On the other hand, you have 5 guys fall in a six month period. They don't care about your records. The accidents show that you are not serious about safety.
This is where Rev. Freeze is. No one cares about his proof that he was trying to do right. He didn't mean it.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that people in Mississippi appear to worry more about who wins the Egg Bowl than the economic well being of Mississippi. Could that be one of the many reasons why Mississippi seems to get ranked last in almost everything good and ranked first in almost everything bad?

Anonymous said...

You're on the wrong thread 5:23. Donna Kay, Tom Head and the Fondren gang are over on the education/testing thread bemoaning the fate of a dying, always-last Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

5:23, you nailed it! I recently traveled in Mississippi visiting the downtowns of Natchez, Hattiesburg, Laurel, Jackson, Yazoo City, and Greenville, and then over to Starkville and Meridian before heading out. (Hey 7:18, I am thankful that “I-20 still runs eastbound”.)

In 1980 an economic revolution began in this country that created high incomes, wealth, and prosperity across what become known as the Sunbelt. Apparently, Mississippi didn’t get the memo.

This website occasionally has articles titled “Why We Can’t Have Decent Things”. Other than your failing efforts to remain relevant in football (and turning out trial lawyers that grind the faces of your poor), what have your universities been doing for the people of Mississippi for the last thirty-five years?

Anonymous said...

9:26 - For the last thirty-five years our schools have been granting diplomas to liberals such as yourself as a means of preparing you to ship your skill-set to another set. What's your holdup?

7:44 Issues Correction said...

Sorry....'to another state'.

Anonymous said...

Fred Krutz and Dan Mullen have something in common. Both literally have a little brother named Hugh.

Anonymous said...

Organizational Leadership is accomplished by a never ending demonstration of doing it right every time, 100% adherence of expectations that those under you also do it right, a strong verification process that everyone around you does it the right way every time and holding them accountable when they don't. Coach Freeze failed in one or more of these requirements. If your people see you always doing it the right way and know if they don't follow your demonstrated example there will be penalties to pay, they will fail. UM's sports program management failed over a lengthy period of time. It is the fault of their leadership that the failures were not detected and corrected. Because of those failures, NCAA will have no choice other than to lead from their level.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Freeze has hidden behind the prayer cloth since day 1. Sadly, almost all of the faithful have bought the ruse. But, then, Jim Jones had a similar following, just stronger Kool Aid.

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