“The most impressive thing Hugh Freeze could do to win back respect from people in college football is to say these players shouldn’t be penalized. It’s become, I think, virtually undeniable these players were intentionally misled.”
That is what Tom Mars said, an attorney for Michigan transfer quarterback Shea Patterson and other former Ole Miss players who were misled by their head coach Hugh Freeze.
CBS Sports obtained screenshots, one of which Freeze texted a recruit by accident a link to a favorable story with falsehoods about Ole Miss. The message said “Good PR response … get this in the recruits hands.”
Good job, Hugh, you definitely got it in the hands of a recruit.
The recruit, Tre Nixon, who eventually played for Ole Miss, messaged Shea Patterson concerned that the program would be facing sanctions.
Patterson spoke with Freeze earlier that day in his office, and the coach misled him about the severity of Ole Miss’ infractions, which in turn made Patterson unknowingly give Nixon false information.
“Don’t listen to any of that crap. [The violations] happened before Freeze was even here. The worst thing that can happen will be we lose one or two scholarships for next year. Nothing serious,” Patterson told Nixon.
This exchange drastically changed the course of Nixon’s future. If he knew the truth, he wouldn’t have went to Ole Miss. For other players, if they knew the truth, they would have transferred much quicker than they did.
Let’s make it clear, Hugh Freeze is a liar and negatively impacted many lives, some of which will never be the same.
On top of all the violations, what did Freeze in was calling over a dozen escort services on his university-issued phone. Freeze resigned because of the findings. Yet, Freeze was recently interviewed by Alabama for a spot on their staff. It seems highly unfair in an astonishing way Freeze has less weight on his shoulders than his transfer-seeking players, as their futures hang in the balance.
There’s no doubt for players such as Patterson and his former teammates the hard days won’t be gone until they know whether they are granted immediate eligibility or not. This in itself is a shame that they must await their fate while Freeze can coach anywhere he pleases, IMMEDIATELY.
Freeze spoke at Liberty University last week, with his wife by his side, saying “I had to say to people that I loved, ‘I am sorry, please forgive me. And today is really the first day I can tell the faith family, ‘I am sorry, please forgive me.’”
That all sounds nice on paper, but paper can have holes in it, we can read between the lines, and words can be hollow.
While Freeze indirectly spoke about his transgressions there in terms of his desires that led him to be unfaithful, he damaged lives of many people beyond his own family.
“My mind is set, it is settled. My eyes are clear. My heart is full. My feet are pointed forward and I am looking forward with thanksgiving to what God has for me and my family next, because of his great love and his great forgiveness,” Freeze said.
While I’ll let you decide what God does and does not forgive, I do know human forgiveness can be hard to come by, and Freeze rationale is convenient for him, not for Shea Patterson and Tre Nixon. Patterson will always have to live with unknowingly telling Nixon things that weren’t true, that in turn changed the course of his path in life.
Freeze should be leading a strong charge, telling the masses and the NCAA his former players should be allowed to play immediately because of his actions.
Freeze should be apologizing to people he had close relationships with, such as former players and coaches on his staff, not just people attending a faith event at Liberty University.
While God may have forgiven Mr. Freeze, I don’t believe he’s been forgiven by Ole Miss fans, players, and staff.
What would change the narrative, what would give him redemption in the eyes of this writer, what would make him a real man, is owning up to all the wrongs and making them right the best way he can.
To date, Freeze has made no statements in support of his former players immediate eligibility appeals, to date he hasn’t apologized publicly to Shea Patterson and the others.
These new findings in regards to the conversation screenshots would lead me to believe Patterson’s chances of playing in 2018 are extremely high, but that doesn’t mean Freeze can’t do everything in his power to help the cause.
It’s time for Hugh Freeze to do the right thing, but he probably won’t.