Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze occupies his offseason life with fishing and golf, mainly, as any good SEC coach should. Those hobbies come as probably welcome distractions from, oh I dunno, his team’s self-imposed bowl ban this coming season and 21 other allegations lodged by the NCAA back in February.
Since then, though, Freeze has maintained a semi-low profile, shunning public life and microphones, letting athletic director Ross Bjork’s decision on self-imposed penalties speak for itself. But Freeze has been hitting the links the last two weeks, and on Wednesday he was in Birmingham for a round at the Regions Tradition Championship at the Greystone Golf and Country Club.
While there, ABC 30/40 Sports of Birmingham, Ala. caught up with Freeze and asked him whether he and the Rebel program were eager to get out from under this whole NCAA business. Here’s his reply:
And a complete transcript of the entire exchange:
ABC 30/40 Sports: How, uh, anxious or eager are you guys to get over this NCAA—
Hugh Freeze: Nah [walks away, smirking and shaking his head].
Internet outrage was predictably swift and searing, mainly because it’s only mid-May and Egg Bowl Twitter is bored as all hell. Even the AP’s Mississippi beat man David Brandt, generally an affable and funny dude, felt the need to weigh in.
Freeze is a big boy and can respond how he wishes, but he's got to know an NCAA question could be coming in this situation. https://t.co/U4aDNRgGwD— David Brandt (@davidbrandtAP) May 17, 2017
That’s not necessarily true, though of course the likelihood of fielding an NCAA question is ever a strong one, notwithstanding the context of a lazy golf tournament in early summer. The tournament is taking place deep in #ROLLTIDE’s backyard, though, so perhaps the ask isn’t all that surprising after all.
Still, though, one shouldn’t really fault Freeze here, insofar as this whole sordid affair is nearing its conclusion — whatever the shape of that conclusion it may take — and virtually everything that’s been said and dissected has already been said and dissected. The bowl ban has been imposed. The 21 allegations from the NCAA — most of them Level I, the worst level — have been lodged. Freeze rightly wants to move on, so yeah, “nah.”