Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was staring right at what could’ve been a devastating show-cause penalty, but he came away with something far less severe.
When the NCAA delivered its final verdict on Friday, it was revealed that Freeze was given a two-conference game suspension if he’s hired as a head coach between now and November 30, 2018.
What led to the discipline, which was widely viewed as mild? The chief hearing officer on Ole Miss’ case and Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher explained to The Clarion-Ledger that there are two ways to violate your head coach responsibility.
“A lot of people will throw head coach responsibility into one big bucket. But a lot of times, people don’t step out and realize there are two prongs to the head coach responsibility,” Christopher said. “There’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and there’s failure to monitor.”
Christopher says it was deemed that Freeze failed to monitor but did promote an atmosphere of compliance, which prevented the NCAA from dropping a harsher hammer despite committing a Level I violation.
Other than fully cooperating during the case, the committee pointed out two factors that helped Freeze: 1) Prompt acknowledgment of the violations and acceptance of responsibility, and 2) No prior involvement with Level I, II or major violations.
“He did not meet the obligation in monitoring the assistant coaches and the boosters,” Christopher told The Clarion-Ledger. “I think by looking at both aspects of head coach responsibility, you get to how we tailored the penalty.”