Hugh Freeze declines comment on suit, admits Ole Miss created 'adversity'

Kristopher Nichols
July 14, 2017

Nutt, who coached the Rebels from 2008 to 2011, claims that the Ole Miss athletic department and current coach Hugh Freeze are throwing him under the bus for a slew of NCAA violations that have occurred in recent years. It included a handful of damning accusations.

"We don't think [about future suspensions]" Freeze said.

An example given in the lawsuit was a Yahoo Sports report on October 2, 2014, which cited sources with knowledge of the NCAA investigation saying Freeze was not believed to be implicated in any major violations and much of the inquiry dates back to actions by the previous Ole Miss staff.

The suit also contends that Ole Miss has made it hard for Nutt to find another coaching job.

Worst case scenario: The NCAA's dark cloud becomes a major distraction and the Rebels continue their free fall that started at the end of last season with one-side losses to Vanderbilt (38-17) and arch-rival Mississippi State (55-20). Included in the allegations are that Freeze failed in his responsibility to adequately control and monitor the program.

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Of the 13 allegations in the NCAA's Notice of Allegations, nine were committed while Freeze has been the coach. For the most part, Freeze did not address the lawsuit or the NCAA investigation, instead offering plenty of life-coach platitudes-"mental toughness is the secret sauce"-and deflecting questions about how he felt about the case".

Ole Miss also returns senior All-American Marquis Haynes. All college football coaches are public figures.

"We have not yet been served with the lawsuit, but we are aware it has been filed". In both interviews, the 47-year-old coach lamented the fact that this marks, by his count, his fifth SEC Media day outing that has resulted in him speaking on the school's latest scandal rather than his players, telling the ESPN table, "I want to talk about something other than all the drama that's been going on". "For whatever reason, the journey we've been on-obviously, some our fault-has continued for a long time".

Nutt's complaint says Ole Miss engaged in "a carefully orchestrated misinformation campaign ... to mislead the media, Ole Miss boosters, and potential recruiting prospects". He was 18-8, including two Cotton Bowl victories, and 9-7 in SEC play after two seasons. Ole Miss and Nutt later agreed to a $5 million one-time payment.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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