Ole Miss will take their turn at SEC Media Days tomorrow as Hugh Freeze, Chad Kelly, D.J. Jones and Evan Engram head to Birmingham.
They will surely be asked about the current NCAA investigation that is hanging over their program. They’re going to be asked repeatedly about it, and they need to have solid responses that answer the questions without answering the question.
The players will likely have national media and SEC rival reporters ask them if they took money to play at Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze will likely be asked if he has a system in place to pay recruits. Never mind if proof or tangible evidence links them to that in the Notice of Allegations that Ole Miss made public in late May. That’s irrelevant. That’s not the story some want to tell or convey.
The reality of the situation is that those questions really don’t matter. Ole Miss has to wait on the NCAA and what they’re going to rule or deem. Until then, there’s nothing Ole Miss can do.
Tomorrow Freeze will likely give the “coach-speak” answer that conveys how he’s not privy to the information regarding the NCAA investigation. He likely won’t comment because of the nature of the investigation, and that’s fine.
They’ll ask Freeze any and everything about the NCAA. Very few, if any, questions will be centered around what Ole Miss is planning on doing at linebacker this season. It will not matter how many times Freeze says that he just wants to talk about football, the media is going to keep harping on the NCAA investigation, and to an extent, that’s their job.
To another extent, the situation has to play itself out, and no answer that Freeze gives tomorrow is going to suffice some. Some have made up their minds that Ole Miss is guilty, and that’s their right and their prerogative. There’s nothing the Rebel contingent can do or say tomorrow to put that narrative to bed.
The NCAA process has to play itself out. Ole Miss is alleged to be guilty of some somewhat serious recruiting infractions, and the Rebels will have to wait on the NCAA’s ruling regarding those, but that’s months away. That’s not tomorrow.
Essentially, tomorrow will mean little to nothing for Ole Miss. Much to their chagrin, it will mean little to nothing for media members that are waiting to pounce on a story to disparage Ole Miss. Those media members are surely waiting to bombard Freeze and the Ole Miss player representatives with questions regarding pay-for-play, but Ole Miss likely isn’t going to behoove them. Frankly, Ole Miss doesn’t owe them anything.
Collin Brister is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.