The end of the NCAA’s investigation of Ole Miss is in sight, and Rebels coach Hugh Freeze could not be more thrilled.
The probe into his program, along with the Ole Miss women’s basketball and track and field teams, has been going on seemingly since Freeze took the job in Oxford after the 2011 football season.
“[The investigation is like] a four-year colonoscopy,” Freeze told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd Monday.
Over the past four years, Ole Miss has gone from the cellar of the SEC West to a team fighting to knock Alabama off the top of the SEC hierarchy; but it hasn’t gone without mounds of criticism from the outside.
Freeze’s first sent shockwaves through the SEC when a big dose of talent pledged to play for the Rebels in the Class of 2013.
On Monday, that class came full circle, as a large contingent of NFL personnel flocked to the Ole Miss campus to watch offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche — who are all projected to be first round draft picks — and a handful of other prospects go through drills on pro day.
For Freeze, it was a big day to show the rest of the college football world and other top-rated recruits that you can go to Ole Miss and play in the toughest conference, compete for championships and be among the top prospects for the NFL Draft.
Still, the NCAA investigation is looming. The look into his program is over, but the process is still months away from being completely done.
Whether it’s been the NCAA looking into every detail regarding the Rebels’ recruiting practices over the past few years or opposing fans making comments about how Freeze and his staff recruit when they pick up a big commitment, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Freeze.
“Have I been insulted? Absolutely. Many times. I handle it a lot better now,” Freeze told Dodd. “The perception out there and the narrative of all this pay-for-play that is, in my opinion, very inaccurate. We’re extremely confident in who we are and how we do things inside this building.”
Eventually, the process will be over, and by all indications, the penalties will not be anything the football program can’t overcome.
When the 2016 NFL Draft rolls around in a month, it will be another big day for Freeze and his program. The perception of what Ole Miss football can be will continue to improve, and if Freeze continues to recruit at the highest level, it’s only a matter of time before the comments and accusations from the outsiders slow down.