Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze Resigns
Thursday night, Hugh Freeze tendered his resignation as head football coach of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels. According to Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, the cause for Freeze's would be termination was an alleged "pattern of personal conduct inconsistent with the standard of expectations for the leader of our football team." This conduct included a phone call Freeze made to an escort service.
Ole Miss remains tight-lipped about Freeze-related misconduct they discovered (in addition to the escort service phone call). Vitter praised the work of Freeze while only indirectly eluding TO Freeze's conduct, stating, "While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered." But even this statement is intentionally vague and omits specific details to help explain what prompted Freeze to resign.
Information made available by the university omits the true reason Freeze was willing to bypass the nearly $4 million left on his contract for the upcoming season. Opting against resigning and forcing Ole Miss to fire him means Freeze would have been entitled to recover part of that $4 million expected income this year. Litigation would have determined whether Freeze violated the moral turpitude clause of his contract. Thus, the question will remain till more information is either released or uncovered, 'Why did Hugh Freeze really resign?'
Freeze and the university were already under fire after an NCAA investigation revealed potential impropriety in recruiting and corruption in the program. Specifically, the NCAA accused Freeze of 'failing to monitor his coaching staff' and the NCAA accused Ole Miss of 'lacking institutional control.' To reduce the inevitable punishment handed down by the NCAA, Ole Miss announced a self imposed bowl ban restricting the football team's access to participate in post-season competition. Revelations of Freeze's resignation and the reasons for it may upend that show of goodwill, likely costing the program a lengthier suspension and loss of scholarships than previously anticipated.
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork informed USA Today Sports that, 'Freeze would have been terminated if he refused to resign.' The only information Ole Miss has made available was that Freeze made a call to a phone number with area code 313 that is connected to a female escort service. According to the report, the 313 number Freeze dialed was advertised on websites as an escort service.
Freeze has since denied reports that he purposely called the service, claiming it was a wrong number dialed mistakenly. There is no public evidence to refute Freeze's explanation for the call, and the call only lasted for one minute according to phone records.
Whether Freeze made the call or not, it would be a travesty if the call was the central reason for his forced resignation. The time for a serious conversation about federal legalization of sex work is long overdue. With the complexity of Ole Miss' troubles and the cowardice of mainstream media elites, this story will likely not bolster a national conversation on labor laws as it relates to sex work. But it's time. It is time for folks opposed to legalizing sex work to submit the best legal basis for prohibiting consenting adults from engaging in commerce involving sex-related business transactions.