This past weekend marked Ole Miss' annual croot-a-ganza - a weekend during which Hugh Freeze and staff entertain dozens of high school football recruits in Oxford just weeks before National Signing Day and, invariably, earn a solid commitment or two in the process. The annual recruiting weekend typically involves the presence of a few uncommitted blue-chippers (i.e., CeCe Jefferson, Damarkus Lodge), who spend time with already committed blue-chippers (i.e., Drew Richmond, Eric Swinney), coaches, players, professors and students in a whirlwind of team building exercises, roundtable discussions, brown bag lunches, and partying at the Library until they kick you out.
This annual weekend has provided a steady stream of crootin' related entertainment over the last few years, namely in the form of rumor mongering and paranoid conspiracy theorizing regarding the machinations of the recruitment of 17-year-old boys. Last year we saw nonsensical theorizing about a recruiting "philosophy" of making a big splash on National Signing Day, results on the field be damned. Two years ago we were graced with e-outrage over Laquon Treadwell photographing a couple hundred bucks and a totally bogus notion that the father of Robert and Denzel Nkemdiche was being handed a job to entice the former to ink with the Rebels.
This year, however, the ever so diligent observations of Ole Miss' most ardent detractors has finally paid off. Our deepest, most well-kept secret has finally been exposed. Ole Miss' ability to attract blue chip talent has nothing to do with our university, our town, our football program, our coaches, nor our fun and football obsessed culture. No, it's all the work of a league of extraordinarily cunning fundraisers who do things like "find an 'in'" and "pay recruits to visit campus" (which is brilliant, considering that the NCAA already does this for official visits - it's double cash!) and conspire to "make Oxford appear busy and populated." This all works so that star football recruits - who, as our whistleblower can clearly tell, are easily fooled and incapable of making informed decisions - are happy to sign with Ole Miss after a bunch of cash has, I dunno, been funneled through an aunt or something.
Here, see for yourself (via this embedded tweet, as to spare you the visual diarrhea that is the source material):
This whole operation, which we haven't been clever enough to name anything other than "The Network," has been working overtime as of late to make sure that we mislead people into thinking Oxford is a nice place (we're apparently really good at that) and convince recruits that we're not all terrible, conniving people. That, and it pushes cash all over the damn place.
Just as it's bought croots, it's bought a lot of undue influence in and around Mississippi. As a member of The Network myself (I'm the Level Three Crootmaster of the DC chapter - pretty proud of that, y'all), I relented to our having been exposed, and spilled the beans as to just how deep this rabbit hole can go.
Yeah, I've been "randomly" selected to go through TSA Pre-Check a few times. *wink* #TheNetwork— Red Cup Rebellion (@RedCupRebellion) January 25, 2015
I just bought a $50 blender for just $20 at the Target. Only in #TheNetwork, y'all.— Red Cup Rebellion (@RedCupRebellion) January 25, 2015
Growing up, my family had HBO, but we didn't pay for it. It's obvious now that the cable guy knew we were in#TheNetwork.— Red Cup Rebellion (@RedCupRebellion) January 25, 2015
Of course, many of y'all replied with the perks and benefits you've received as being a part of The Network. You did so as we always do: via a hashtag. That can be found here, and it's quite thorough (and hilarious).
For example, did you know that we pretty much get whatever the hell we want from fast food joints?
Got 29 curly fries in my Arby's regular roast beef meal instead of 25. #TheNetwork— Zach Berry (@Zach_Berry) January 25, 2015
Got an extra thigh in my three-piece from Popeyes. Being a member of #TheNetwork was clutch today.— onemantobeat (@onemantobeat) January 25, 2015
(Props to @onemantobeat who got the whole hashtag rolling with this tweet. Nice work, TSUNminati member.)
I mean, it all makes sense when you consider just how well structured the whole operation is. We've got the ears of a lot of folks and have our hands in all sorts of pockets.
That's right, Archie Manning controls the NCAA and The Network, through some elaborate back channels, controls the entirety of the European continent. How else do you explain this?
There's a reason why an IKEA will be built in Memphis and not Nashville. #TheNetwork— Zach Berry (@Zach_Berry) January 25, 2015
Ready-to-assemble Swedish furniture sold out of a warehouse that also deals in $0.50 hot dogs. You're welcome, Mid South.
And don't act like we don't also have Hollywood on lockdown.
And it just gets more and more nefarious, y'all. Only Network kids will understand:
Our alumni pro football players don't get turned away from our nightclubs. #TheNetwork— #TheNetwork (@VegasRebs) January 25, 2015
18 minutes missing on the Nixon tapes? #TheNetwork— Joseph Kennedy (@JDRKennedy) January 26, 2015
I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance because of #TheNetwork— Michael Puckett (@michaelpuckett) January 26, 2015
Members of #TheNetwork know what happened when The Sopranos faded to black.— Trey Morgan (@treylmorgan) January 26, 2015
Oh, you thought Tony Soprano died? HA! David Chase told us the whole thing. He wasn't shot; he spilled ketchup on his lap, said "GABAGOUL CARMELA," fought a stranger, said something racist, then won like a billion Emmys. (This is your reminder that "The Sopranos" is arguably the greatest television series ever created.)
I came home after a long day when it showed a few inches, and my neighbor shoveled the sidewalk in front of my house. #TheNetwork, y'all.— Red Cup Rebellion (@RedCupRebellion) January 25, 2015
Every week I put my trash out by the curb and it mysteriously disappears. #TheNetwork— Isaac Craft (@IsaacCraft58) January 25, 2015
The Network has helpful neighbors and takes full advantage of municipal services, y'all.
#TheNetwork Rob Lowe is better than DirecTV Rob Lowe.— Zach Berry (@Zach_Berry) January 26, 2015
Oh, and you know we run this motherfucking planet from the top all the way to the damn bottom. Even a rural, municipal police force can't elude our grasp.
Free coffee and donuts at Shipley's #TheNetwork— Oxford Police Dept (@OxfordPolice) January 26, 2015
Of course law enforcement's on the take. That's the first step taken in creating any clandestine crootin' machine, but y'all already knew that.
Oh, and one final bit of advice for those foolish enough to attempt to expose #TheNetwork: