What a helldoozy of a week, and it’s only Tuesday. Last Thursday, of course, Hugh Freeze suddenly resigned amid reports that he had contacted a Tampa-based escort service on multiple, patterned occasions, and the fallout has been every bit as strident as Egg Bowl Twitter should expect. We’re probably only at the beginning, as more and more ancillary parties to this great grand shitstorm get looked into by journalists, lawyers, and investigators.
Well, yesterday ESPN told the sordid tale of how Ole Miss recruiting guru Steve Robertson — through a FOIA and public records request — came across Hugh Freeze’s university-issued cell phone records, records that included the usual mundata of calls to recruits, players, and coaches, with the notable exception of a call lasting less than a minute made on Jan. 16, 2017 to an escort service based in Tampa, Fla.
Robertson naturally called Thomas Mars, who’s representing Houston Nutt in his defamation and embarrassment suit against the university and athletics foundation. So Robertson, who sports a Mississippi State Bulldogs tattoo on one of his hands and the gnarliest ponytail this side of Pontotoc, had finally found the smoking gun of Hugh Freeze’s radical hypocrisy. This evil, cheating man has been found out to be nothing more than your garden variety philanderer. So it goes.
Mars in turn alerted Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork to the call, and now here we are.
Could the resultant NCAA penalties levied against Rebel football ultimately cause star quarterback Shea Patterson to transfer, though?
Perhaps. Certainly if significant and multiple bowl bans come down the pipe. Young Shea is but a sophomore, having had his redshirt ripped off his back for the final four games of the 2016 season, after starter Chad Kelly had his knee ripped apart against Georgia Southern.
So, yeah, Shea could almost certainly be understood to leave should Ole Miss receive a bowl ban lasting more than two seasons. Student-athletes with three years or less worth of eligibility are allowed to transfer out of their previous institutions with no sit-out year in the event of major NCAA sanctions at their home institution. That’s good news for Shea and anyone else considering getting out from under this whole stupid NCAA case.
But again: how wonderfully petty, spiteful, and on brand for the Magnolia State that an Ole Miss athletics department watchdog should however indirectly compel the departure of the program’s best quarterback prospect since Eli Manning. Steve Robertson is an obsessed jackass, sure, but he at least knows what he is. And anyway, one can’t help but think that this Freeze cellphone business would have come to light eventually, because that’s the universe which we inhabit.
Robertson, though? Robertson can eat a Thacker Mountain’s worth of shit.