Hugh Freeze Phone Records Show Hundreds of Calls with Booster in NCAA Probe

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2017

OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 26:  Head Coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels watches his team warm up before a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi.  The Bulldogs defeated the Rebels 55-20.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

According to phone records released by the University of Mississippi, former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had at least 200 phone conversations with former Ole Miss booster Lee Harris from 2015 through this year.

Per Dan Wolken of USA Today, the calls are of interest due to the fact that Harris is part of an NCAA investigation into Ole Miss and the alleged granting of improper benefits to recruits. 

Freeze resigned in July after it was discovered that he placed a call to an escort service on a university-issued phone, according to Wolken.

Freeze’s attorney, H.G. Watkins, told Wolken that Freeze and Harris met at church and became friends but never discussed the NCAA case:

"I believe that unequivocally. One thing Hugh Freeze has done throughout this is not discuss the case with anyone. Part of the problem with NCAA rules is the school can't talk about the case with Hugh Freeze and he can't talk about the case with his coaches or players. He's isolated in all this. That's why I can say categorically he didn't talk about the case."

In July, Ole Miss officially released the names of the boosters linked to the Notices of Allegations it received from the NCAA.

Harris owns a restaurant called Funkys, and it is alleged that he "provided between $200 and $600 worth of free food and drinks" to student-athletes, according to Antonio Morales of the Clarion-Ledger.

Per Wolken, former Ole Miss recruiting target and linebacker Leo Lewis, who went on to join Mississippi State, said Harris gave him and his family free food and drinks, as well as "two or three cash payments of between $100 and $200 during visits to Funkys."

Freeze has not been named as a person of interest in the Level 1 violation allegation against Harris, but he has been charged with failure to monitor.