Hugh Freeze Called Escort Service While on Ole Miss Recruiting Trip

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2017

Mississippi NCAA college football coach Hugh Freeze speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Thursday, July 13, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze called an escort service in Tampa Bay, Florida, while on a recruiting trip.

On Wednesday, Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reported Freeze used a school phone to call a number linked to a Tampa Bay female escort service after landing in the city during a recruiting trip. He used a school plane during the trip as well.

"The call that day was part of a 'pattern of misconduct' Ole Miss officials said they uncovered last month," Beaton wrote.

The recruiting trip and call occurred in 2016.

Beaton noted Freeze resigned but pointed out "the university said he would have been fired for violating a 'moral turpitude' clause in his contract if he had not resigned."

This comes after Dan Wolken of USA Today reported in July Freeze called a phone number linked to an escort service with a school-issued phone. That call was revealed as part of a federal lawsuit filed against the school by former head coach Houston Nutt.

Nutt's suit alleged Ole Miss violated his severance agreement and said Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork "conspired to smear him" by telling reporters most of the violations involved in the NCAA's infractions case against the Rebels happened during Nutt's tenure, per Wolken.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports pointed out at the time Freeze's resignation and "pattern of personal misconduct" were not related to the NCAA's investigation.

Beaton noted Ole Miss officials hadn't previously described the specific nature of Freeze's alleged misconduct, but Bjork said an investigation discovered "calls of a similar nature" for an extended period of time from the former coach.

"When we say pattern, we are describing other phone numbers that when you Google them pull up similar type websites, services, however you would describe them," Bjork said. "We took action swiftly."

Freeze finished his five-season tenure at Ole Miss with a 39-25 record and led the Rebels to bowl games in each of his first four years. Ole Miss was particularly impressive during the 2015 season, when it went 10-3 and won the Sugar Bowl.