After spending more than a year under investigation for NCAA violations, Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze has resigned.
The school announced the resignation just before USA Today published a report on a one-minute phone call that Freeze allegedly made to an escort service from his university-issued phone. They note a legal document sent to the school’s general counsel about a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain.” Freeze’s explanation, as reported by USA Today, is less than extremely credible, though of course if he was using his work phone to arrange consensual paid sex, why would that be bad?
“I’ve got no idea, to be honest,” Freeze said. “I was in an 813 area code and that was a 313 number, I think that might have been a misdial. I don’t think there was even a conversation. There’s nothing to it.”
The phone call was uncovered in former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt’s ongoing lawsuit against the university, in which he claims that the school smeared him by lying to reporters about his responsibility for the NCAA’s current investigation into the football program.
Since 2016, Ole Miss has been served with notices of allegation for 21 different violations relating to academic fraud, booster problems and illegal recruiting tactics. While several of those allegations occurred under Nutt, the majority have been under Freeze—though the school publicly disputed some of the most serious ones last month, while essentially announcing that they planned to stand by Freeze. Nutt filed his lawsuit against the school last week.
Ole Miss announced a self-imposed one-year postseason ban this spring, but the NCAA investigation is still open and further punishment is possible.
Per records obtained by USA Today, when Nutt’s lawyer sent the record of Freeze’s phone call with the escort service to general counsel at Ole Miss, he was told that the call did not have to do with the current NCAA infractions. Ole Miss’ lawyer also claimed that the call was a misdial.