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Will Hugh Freeze Survive At Ole Miss?
by Kent Mohundrokmohundro@dailycorinthian.com
Feb 23, 2017 | 809 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes you just have to look for the humor in a bad situation and make the best of it.

But that’s easier said than done.

To keep a positive attitude is an increasingly difficult thing to do in this day and age when it seems like we’re always surrounded by negativity. And the media certainly doesn’t help when they pour salt on an already deep and open wound.

If you had an opportunity to watch the video of the press conference at Ole Miss yesterday with University president David Vitter, athletic director Ross Bjork, and head football coach Hugh Freeze, it was obvious that the long-standing NCAA investigation has taken it’s toll.

Look closely at the video and you’ll see a weary Hugh Freeze with sulking cheeks and bags under and around his eyes looking like I haven’t seen him look before.

Even just a few months ago during the midst of recruiting season, the Rebels head man described the signing class as a result of a stern penalty. But he didn’t look worn out and tired as he did on Wednesday.

He’s usually a positive and happy man. But not yesterday.

Granted, Vitter voiced his unwavering support of both Freeze and Bjork but was he hiding something within that statement? Is Freeze really likely to lose his job over the whole thing? Is there more to the story than what we saw and heard yesterday?

Anything’s possible. I mean it happens all the time.

Personally, I like Hugh Freeze. And, truth be told, until this investigation started so did the general media. He was even referred to a few times as a media darling after a couple of stellar, top-10 recruiting classes. His personality is contagious in the best sort of way, and he has deep religious convictions.

Don’t forget, this man- who is now under heavy fire- holds numerous speaking engagements yearly. That includes in churces, where he has been known to preach on occasion.

I realize being perceived as a religious and straight-lace man doesn’t necissarily make you one, but you can’t convince me that Freeze is an imposter: that he says one thing and does another.

Fact is, we all wear masks. We make mistakes and we hopefully learn from them. But now the media seems to have turned on a good coach and a good man due to perceptions that he was covering up some sort of scandal.

Yes, mistakes were made within the Ole Miss football program. Yes, they will pay a heavy price. No, I don’t believe for a second that Freeze knew of the wrong-doings of a couple of former staff members that turned their backs on the core values of the University until after the fact. If he had known, those men would have been out the door long before they were shown it.

Consider this: if you’re a parent and you have three or four kids, do you happen to be aware of every move those children make all the time?

No.

The same goes with being a head coach at any university. If it’s impossible for you to keep track of and be aware of everything that happens in your family all the time, just think how much more impossible it is for a head coach to know what multiple coaches and 85 student/athletes are up to at all times.

It just cannot be done and anyone who argues otherwise simply has their head buried in the sand.

Freeze looks worn and weary, and for good reason. It doesn’t matter how strong you think your faith is, when it’s tested like this it’s completely different and much harder.

In my humble opinion, the NCAA should punish the former coaches and boosters for their actions and not an entire team for something they aren’t guilty of. That is an issue that needs to be seriously considered in the future by the powers that be in the NCAA.

If the entire program is guilty then punish the entire program. But to punish these young men and the current coaches who had nothing to do with the infractions that occured in years past is absurd in my eyes.

But although this change needs to occur it probably never will, and that’s sad.

I get it: 100 people pay the price for the mistakes made by two or three. Is that fair? Absolutely not. I’ll stand by that belief til judgement day.

I do remember a similar thing happened to me when I was a student at East Corinth Elementary School back in the early 1970’s. A close friend of mine put a couple of tacks in the teachers chair and didn’t fess up to it when she gave him the opportunity. You know what happened next.

The whole class was punished for the actions of one eight-year old. I realize that was a teaching tactic but it still doesn’t seem fair to me after all these years.

Will Freeze still be the head coach when all is said and done? That remains to be seen. But I personally believe he should be. The program will pay a severe penalty and has already self-imposed damaging penalties internally which now includes a bowl ban for the upcoming season.

Put yourself in the place of the current coaches and especially the players that will now suffer the consequences for something they didn’t do.

Is that really fair?

(Kent Mohundro is the sports editor for the Daily Corinthian)

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