Looks like the NCAA can cancel its vendetta against Hugh Freeze. Apparently the Bible-thumping Ole Miss football coach has been hitting more than the Good Book …
Freeze resigned abruptly on Thursday afternoon after USA Today Sports sought a response from his employer regarding a phone call he placed to a number affiliated with an escort service. The phone call appears to have been unearthed as part of a lawsuit filed against the school by former Ole Miss head couch Houston Nutt.
Nutt is suing the university – claiming it violated the terms of his severance agreement. Specifically, he’s upset that Freeze sought to pin the blame for the school’s recent regulatory troubles on him and his coaching staff.
Nutt, 59, coached Ole Miss from 2008-2011. Freeze was hired to replace him in December 2011.
Last week, Nutt’s attorney – Thomas Mars – sent an email to Ole Miss’ general counsel referencing a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain.”
That call – which lasted one minute – was placed from Freeze’s school-issued cell phone to a number in the 313 (a.k.a. Detroit) area code on January 19, 2016. According to USA Today, the Detroit phone number is “associated with several Web sites advertising a female escort based in Tampa, Florida.”
Freeze’s resignation was not voluntary. In a live nationally televised press conference, Ole Miss referenced “personal conduct (that) is completely inconsistent with our university.”
“He would have been fired for cause – for violating the moral turpitude clause in his contract – had he not resigned,” a source familiar with the situation told us.
There is no buyout for Freeze since he stepped down of his own volition.
Freeze posted a 39-25 record (including a 19-21 conference mark) during his five years in Oxford, guiding the Rebels to back-to-back Top Twenty seasons in 2014 and 2015. That’s pretty impressive in the Southeastern Conference (SEC)’s western division, home to some of the nation’s elite programs.
More recently, though, Freeze’s program has been at the heart of an ongoing NCAA investigation – one this website has previously criticized for its seemingly selective enforcement.
Ole Miss offensive line coach Matt Luke – who was sought by the University of South Carolina last year – will take over as interim head coach of the program.
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