Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged what has been heard in whispers on the recruiting trail—something is UP with Ole Miss recruiting. Or at least, people THINK something is up with Ole Miss recruiting.
Freeze tweeted, “If you have facts about a violation, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, please do not slander these young men or insult their family.”
Ole Miss compliance, I feel sorry for you. A few SEC fans can be rather, ummm, creative in what they email. Freeze’s tweet was thoughtless for whoever must handle this email account.
Freeze’s tweet, from a PR perspective, is a nightmare. He confirmed there are rumors of violations involving Ole Miss and recruiting.
This is amateurish.
Of course, there are rumors and innuendo of recruiting violations. This is the SEC. Every fan assumes the other guy is cheating. Often they have good reason. The SEC has a checkered history of NCAA rules compliance.
Responding to rumors brings the issue into the major outlets instead of staying on message boards and talk radio.
Furthermore, the tweet encouraged every private eye wannabe to grab his spyglass and play Sherlock Holmes. Sure, most of these will be about as effective as Barney Fife on stakeout, but why dare other SEC schools to turn your program in to the SEC and NCAA?
Already, there is chatter in coaching circles that several SEC and non-SEC schools have turned Ole Miss in this cycle.
The number will surely grow if Ole Miss finishes as strongly as some recruiting watchers expect.
Freeze’s tweet seems about as tone deaf to the real world as former Auburn Coach Gene Chizik. Yes, Chizik thought it was a good idea to taunt the NCAA’s enforcement arm. His antics at the meeting reignited bad press for Auburn instead of getting the desired result.
Freeze’s remarks will have the Ole Miss faithful circling the wagons and cheering. However, it makes it more likely the rest of the college football world notices what is going on in Oxford. The truth is most college football fans will assume the worst.
Is that really what Freeze intended to accomplish with this tweet?