What is Auburn Thinking?

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

In 2016, Former Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze called an escort service in Tampa Bay, Florida, while on a recruiting trip. [1] Not only did Freeze use the school plane to fly down and recruit a few other things besides new players, but he also used a school phone to call a Tampa Bay female escort service.  [2] This was not the first and certainly not the last time that Freeze and scandal went hand in hand. Ole Miss Officials previously had not described the specified nature of Hugh Freeze’s alleged misconduct, but it was said that the use of school property to further his “personal interests” went on for an extended period. These calls were uncovered by former Rebels’ Head Coach Houston Nutt’s attorney as a part of a defamation lawsuit against the school that would eventually be dismissed. [3] Freeze was given the opportunity to identify private calls on the school phone used in the 2016 incident.  The remaining cellphone records provided by Ole Miss included about 39,000 calls dating back to December 2011. Roughly 20 percent of the calls had the phone number redacted, but still included information like date, time and duration. [4] 

            Fast forward to 2023, and Auburn is hiring Hugh Freeze despite his shameful resignation over calling escort services while recruiting. Additionally, while head coach at Ole Miss from 2012 to 2016, Freeze violated NCAA recruitment rules over five years. The NCAA expunged 27 of Freeze’s wins and banned the university from post-season play for two years. So, naturally, Freeze’s win-loss record is significantly worse if you factor in all the victories that were vacated by NCAA sanctions for violations at Ole Miss. [5]

            In terms of football, why does anyone want him to be a coach again? There are two obvious reasons, and they both came more than 7 years ago. Freeze beat Alabama twice in a row. In 2014 and 2015 he beat Alabama. But hey! Maybe he changed, right? Wrong. According to multiple sources, they are jumping through a lot of hoops for Hugh Freeze.   Freeze is contractually obligated to stay off social media and will have a P.R. firm watching his every move.   This sure seems like a lot of work when there are plenty of other well qualified coaches. [6] 

In an ideal world, players would recognize Auburn’s ignorance and turn away from the forgiving university. However, it seems as though yet another man is being forgiven for his disgusting behavior because he was a winning coach at a big-time school. When thinking of his hire, let’s not forget Chelsea Andrews.  Andrews, a sexual assault survivor, tweeted about Hugh Freeze sending her an unsolicited direct message defending Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw. [7] McCaw was criticized for his handling of several sexual assault allegations. [8] Andrews joined in on social media. Following that, Freeze sent her direct messages: “You don’t even know Ian McCaw”. [9] “He is the most Jesus like leader I have ever seen or been around, but you take every chance you can to take a shot at him. I don’t understand that mentality.”

What does this say about Auburn’s support of women, sexual assault survivors, and the staff they want to help coach and train college kids?

Way to go Auburn. 

[1] https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2727789-hugh-freeze-called-escort-service-while-on-ole-miss-recruiting-trip

[2] Id

[3] https://www.si.com/college/2017/08/16/hugh-freeze-ole-miss-escorts-recruiting-school-plane-1

[4] https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/20421042/review-shows-former-ole-miss-coach-hugh-freeze-made-least-12-calls-escort-services

[5] https://www.al.com/opinion/2022/11/guest-opinion-plague-on-the-plains.html

[6] https://www.al.com/auburnfootball/2022/11/auburns-hugh-freeze-agrees-to-relinquish-control-of-social-media-accounts-per-report.html

[7] https://www.al.com/auburnfootball/2022/11/auburns-hugh-freeze-agrees-to-relinquish-control-of-social-media-accounts-per-report.html

[8] Id

[9] Id

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