Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze didn’t wait to address the elephant in the Wynfrey Hotel’s main ballroom.
With Freeze’s program under investigation related to improper benefits for players including first round draft pick Laremy Tunsil, the coach discussed the situation at the top of his opening statement Thursday at SEC Media Days.
“I would love to address our NCAA case right now, and as I've said, with the limited amount that I can discuss, I remain very confident in who we are and our core values and how we do things,” Freeze said. “We fully have cooperated with the NCAA throughout the entire process, which has been a long process.”
Freeze credited the investigation done by the school’s compliance office for discovering most of the facts of the case and self-reporting those violations to the NCAA.
“Our compliance team is working extremely hard to seek a resolution to this case and into the -- and also into the events from NFL draft night and we look forward to the conclusion of this entire process,” Freeze said. “No one looks forward to that more than I do.”
Freeze spent the bulk of his time at the podium talking about the NCAA investigation with his most forceful comments coming in response to a question about the possibility of sanctions against him personally.
“There will come a day where we get to stand before the committee on infractions, which are the ones that matter, and we will be held accountable for any wrongdoing that is found, and that's the way it should be,” Freeze said. “We don't want it to be. I have zero interest, zero interest, in cutting corners to be successful, and our staff knows that very well. I have a lot of things that I'm not very good at, but that is not a temptation.”
The Ole Miss coach isn’t allowed to specifically address the 13 allegations made against the football program in the NCAA’s complaint, but vowed to make changes regardless of the case’s outcome.
“Obviously feel like we did dot a bunch of I’s and crossed a lot of T’s,” Freeze said. “Could we have been better? Obviously we could. Until we get to share some of the back story on some of the allegations that maybe brought us to a point, you know, it's really hard for me to sit here and answer that.”