Will the SEC have a problem with Alabama hiring former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze if Nick Saban decides to go in that direction?
It depends on who you ask.
On Wednesday, TideSports.com’s Aaron Suttles reported that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey “isn’t keen on” the idea of Saban adding Freeze to his staff just months after the former Rebels coach left Ole Miss amid an NCAA investigation that resulted in sanctions for the program. Freeze was mired in controversy over his use of a university cell phone to contact escorts.
As it turns out, the SEC may not have the power to stand in the way of Saban bringing Freeze aboard in Tuscaloosa.
CBS Sports college football insider Dennis Dodd reports that his sources say “the SEC does not have the ability to stand in the way of Saban hiring Freeze.”
Let's be clear re Freeze to Bama. SEC bylaw says hiring school is expected to consult before hiring someone with NCAA issues. Hiring decision made my school, not SEC. That's it. https://t.co/mMSwzZHXcY
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 18, 2018
Dodd’s CBS counterpart Tom Fornelli went on to explain: “While an SEC bylaw states a school is supposed to consult commissioner Greg Sankey when it wishes to hire an individual with major NCAA violations, the hiring decision is ultimately made by the school, not the conference.”
Freeze received a two-game suspension from the NCAA in the fallout of the Ole Miss sanctions, but that’s only applicable for a head coach position. He does not face any restrictions as an assistant coach or an analyst.
If the Crimson Tide does make a move for Freeze, it appears increasingly likely that it will be for some role other than the vacant offensive coordinator position. That spot on the staff, which was vacated by new Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Brian Daboll after one season, appears to be in the future of Crimson Tide wide receivers coach Mike Locksley.