What a difference a month can make for Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.
A month after dropping to 65.9 in the SEC Country approval rating poll for March, Freeze bounced back to 81.0 percent in April. That was Freeze’s rating before his football program faced fresh NCAA problems.
To recap, the NCAA issued a Notice of Allegations against the Rebels in February that included a number of Level I violations, including lack of institutional control. Those are serious charges, dreaded by college sports programs.
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After not qualifying for a bowl game in 2016, Ole Miss announced it would sit out the postseason in 2017 in hope the NCAA would see its voluntary act as a fit punishment. SEC Country’s Cody Pace suggested that the latest allegations could end up costing Freeze his job.
Freeze doesn’t seem to be all that interested in talking about NCAA investigations his school faces.
Ole Miss landed its first two recruits of the 2018 cycle in the past month — defensive tackle Quentin Bivens and guard Blaine Scott. Both players are 3-star prospects in the 247Sports composite rankings. Ole Miss has the No. 13 recruiting class among SEC teams.
Freeze did lead the Rebels to back-to-back seasons with at least nine wins and a Sugar Bowl victory, but that won’t help save his job if Ole Miss deems his program’s alleged wrongdoing as too much.
The Rebels bring back talent, specifically in former 5-star quarterback Shea Patterson, but it is fair to question how motivated this Ole Miss team will be with no bowl possibilities.
Ole Miss opens the season against South Alabama on Sept. 2. The Rebels went 5-7 last season, but five of those losses came against teams ranked in the top 25, and they lost starting quarterback Chad Kelly for the final three games of the season.
Freeze reportedly was paid about $4.7 million in 2016. He’s 39-25 at Ole Miss, including four bowl appearances in five years.
Vote on Hugh Freeze’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents that select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.