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Hugh Freeze dared people to email Ole Miss about NCAA violations. They spent years doing it

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The former Ole Miss coach requested that people email the school with facts about NCAA allegations. Over the years, dozens of onlookers were happy to help narc.

Original image: Getty.

In 2013, when rumors were heating up about the Ole Miss football program paying players, then-coach Hugh Freeze fired off the tweet heard ‘round the world:

NCAA enforcement staff were already poking around in Oxford. SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey, in his report on what became more than a half-decade-long investigation, described Freeze’s tweet as “a giant neon sign” for investigators who needed a win after bungling an investigation into violations involving a Miami booster. The Ole Miss probe would lead to two years of bowl bans and various scholarship and recruiting penalties. Freeze would lose his job before the case wrapped up, though not for NCAA reasons.

It wasn’t just the NCAA that took an interest in Freeze’s tweet. Dozens of concerned bystanders, eager to point out the crime of players being compensated for their skills, took Freeze’s words seriously. For years.

You’re about to read emails from people who did want to send “facts about violations” to Ole Miss’ compliance office. SB Nation obtained these through records requests to Ole Miss. After reporting by the Commercial-Appeal on emails people sent right after Freeze’s February 2013 tweet, we received batches of emails sent during a couple of key time periods later on. Those stretched to near the end of 2017, not long after Freeze’s firing.

Ole Miss doesn’t currently list the compliance email address on its main page for the office, but a phone call to that office confirmed the email address remains an active way to reach the school’s compliance team. So, Freeze’s tweet really did result in Ole Miss’ employees office inbox getting bombarded over the next several years.

The majority of what we got came after Tunsil told the world during his draft presser that he’d gotten money at Ole Miss.

Ole Miss redacted some portions, and I’ve added paragraph breaks for legibility.

Subject: You might want to know about this
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

I saw Coach Freeze’s tweet a few years ago asking people to report possible NCAA violations at Ole Miss to this email address. One of your former players has announced that he accepted money from a coach while playing for your program. I thought you might want to be aware.

[REDACTED]

In his post-draft press conference, reporters asked him about the texts and whether or not he took money at Ole Miss. Then, during another question, a woman abruptly comes onto the stage, insists that [REDACTED] has no more comments, and shuffles him off, where he was briefed behind a door.

Please thank Coach Freeze for letting me know to whom I should report this.

Over and over, emailers specified they were only bringing this up because Freeze had requested it. “Well, the chickens have come home to roost, so to speak,” wrote one emailer about Freeze’s tweet.

Subject: Potential Compliance Issue?
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hello Ole Miss,

I am responding to football coach Hugh Freeze’s 2013 tweet:

@CoachHughFreeze: If you have facts about a violation, email compliance@olemiss.edu. If not, please don’t slander the young men

I am watching ESPN and I am seeing what looks like a violation to me. Compliance with NCAA rules and regulations is very important to me, and Coach Freeze’s commitment to following the rules is inspiring.

Subject: You asked for help
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

Coach Freeze asked us to forward you any info about violations and not slander your players. Is it considered slander if one of your players admits on national TV that he took money from one of your coaches? I’m no lawyer but I don’t think it is. You might want to look into this.

Subject: possible violation
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

I saw the tweet asking to contact compliance. I saw one of your players say he got paid by coaches on national TV last night. Does that count? I can send a video of it if that is beneficial to the investigation.

Subject: Potential compliance issue
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

A few months ago, Hugh Freeze tweeted that people should email this address regarding any potential NCAA compliance issues.

In accordance with Freeze’s request, I felt compelled to inform you about something I saw unfold on television last night. If this issue has already been brought to your attention, please accept my apologies for the redundancy.

Anyway, below are the details of what could be a potential compliance concern.

[REDACTED]

Just thought you guys may want to look into that.

Subject: Recruiting Violations
Date: April 29, 2016

Dear Ole Miss compliance officer - If you actually exist,

A couple of years ago, Coach Hugh Freeze released this email address to the public in an effort to divert any information pertaining to recruiting violations away from the student-athletes and to the AD. Well, last night [REDACTED] while he was at Ole Miss. Contrary to the way you guys have operated in the Freeze era, this is, in fact, illegal.

Keep up the good work! One would think that blatant cheating would result in tangible results, but 0 SEC West Titles doesn’t seem like the ROI you all are hoping for. Keeping wallowing in the stench of mediocrity, even if you have to cheat like hell to stay there.

OLE MISS BY DAMN!

Subject: Potential Violations
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Good morning Gentlemen,

I hope you’ve had a great week. If you haven’t heard, [REDACTED]. I’m absolutely shocked that this is happening at such a fine academic institution! I’m positively certain that Hugh Freeze had nothing to do with this. Please do not make him spend too much time on this issue. He’s only making $5 million a year and he needs more time with his family in the summer months. Best of luck.

Sincerely yours in football,

Subject: Possible NCAA Violation
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Coach Hugh Freeze had asked everyone to email you with proof of possible rules violations. It is all over the internet where your associate athletics director is paying cash money to some of your football players. I just thought Coach Freeze would want to know.

Subject: Compliance issue - football
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

To whom it may concern:

Your head football coach (Hugh Freeze) requested publicly in recent months for anyone with information as to illegal benefits being provided to recruits or players to “please email the Ole Miss compliance office”. Around 8:30pm last night, [REDACTED]. I would assume several others also heard this statement, but can only speak as to what I heard. If you would like more details, feel free to reach out to me directly at the number below.

I look forward to your call.

Subject: What a night!!!
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Good morning guys. If you are anything like me, your head is still spinning from the wild chain of events last night.

First and foremost, congrats on having 3 players drafted in the first round. That is a very impressive accomplishment, no matter how the players ended up in Oxford (more on that shortly). Laquan Treadwell is amazing athlete and I truly am impressed by his skills. Nkemdiche is a physical specimen that will be a force to be reckoned with. I understand that his vertical is off the charts. I dont know too many other people that than jump 2 stories high after that much synthetic marijuana. You have to be concerned for his opponents extra point attempts. They’re going to get blocked, am I right?

That brings me to the point of this email, [REDACTED]. I know you are going to have your hands full, so I dont expect a return email, [REDACTED]. I wanted to bring it to your attention in the event that it needs to be documented. Man, that guy has been nothing but problems this season. Im sure you’re ready to put him in the rearview.

However, I would like you to investigate the coaching staff, as it appears that they are paying players over there. As you know, this is a NCAA infraction, and it shouldnt be taken lightly. Also I am only writing you because Coach Freeze said if there was any evidence of cheating, we should contact you.

I have documents from [REDACTED] outlining the details. If you should need these, please let me know and I will send them in a followup email. I couldnt believe my eyes, I thought that Coach Freeze’s staff was on the up and up. Boy is my face red!!

Anyway, Ill let you get to work, because I know you will be super busy today.

Subject: New Sanctions
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

To Whom it May Concern:

Good morning. It has come to my attention after watching the NFL draft last night that the University of Mississippi has been participating in improper and illegal benefits to its student-athletes for quite some time. The head coach and leader of your football program asked that if anyone has facts on the matter, to please contact this email address. I am simply doing my part and reporting proof of said allegations. I asked that you open a case to determine just how far these type of activities flow within your football program and great university.

I did not attach the video evidence, but you can turn to any major sports broadcast today and find the referenced material!

A number of Michigan employees and fans wanted to do their part to help Ole Miss investigate.

This email comes from a non-athletic department University of Michigan employee whom I won’t identify:

Subject: Possible Athletics Compliance Issue
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Good morning!

I received this email address from current Mississippi football head coach Hugh Freeze. He asked that if anyone were to become aware of any possible compliance violations that we should email here. A former student athlete at your university recently may have brought an issue to light:

[REDACTED]

Attached are screenshots from said student athlete’s Instagram account, which largely spell out the details of one such incident. I hope you all will use this information responsibly and investigate as best reflects the integrity of your esteemed university and of the NCAA.

These next few emails seem to come from Wolverines fans:

Subject: Cheaters
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

You’re all a bunch of cheaters. Harbaugh is laughing his ass off.

Subject: Violation Reports
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

It was brought to my attention that your family loving football coach would like the public to report any factual violations to the compliance department. After watching the [REDACTED], I thought you fine people should be contacted.

You may not be aware, but [REDACTED] kind of put you guys on the spot. Instead of worrying about Jim Harbaugh and satellite camps, [REDACTED]. Also, the video of him [REDACTED].

Have a great day!

Another emailer, who signed their note “Concerned Amateur Athletics Fan,” wrote:

What actions is the Ole Miss compliance department going to set into place to seriously look into this matter and not turn a blind eye? (Assuredly not focus on satellite camps that truly benefit high school athletic prospects?)

(Go here for more on the Great Satellite Camp Controversy of 2016, which boiled down to Harbaugh vs. the SEC.)

Subject: Investigations
Date: Saturday, April 30, 2016

Suggest you guys an ladies get on your horses.

[REDACTED] is too easy. It’s the other ones we want to find out about.

I’ve got a law degree from the University of Michigan and will come down pro bono to help you out.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Subject: Cheating
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

[REDACTED] admitted he took money from ur coaching seen it on tv with my own eyes n ur coach said if anyone had any info on players receiving benefits to let his compliance dept kno . If you dont believe just read every sports section you can find in the morning

Subject: Cheating
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Coach Freeze stated that if we have any info on possible ncaa violations to please contact this email address. I think I might have something. Please reply to this email for more information.

Thanks,

A concerned football fan.

Subject: Cheaters......
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

How brazenly dishonest your Institution of Higher Learning has become! The admission of a former player last evening on national television (the NFL draft show) shines a bright light on your pattern of cheating where recruiting is concerned. Shame on you!!!

Subject: Cheaters!
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

I no longer like or respect Ole Miss athletics. Embarrassing!

Subject: Evidence of recruiting violations
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

To whom it may concern,

2:40

Subject: Violation
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

I am watching espn and i think I see a violation when [REDACTED]. Thanks.

Subject: Pissed
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hello,

Considering we won’t have a football team next year because the athletic department is paying players bills, will there be a refund on our student tickets?

Subject: Violation
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Hello,

Hugh Freeze said in 2013 to email if anyone had facts about a violation. Your guy just admitted on national tv that you are cheaters. Just making sure you were aware in case you were still looking the other way.

Thanks

Subject: N/A
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Subject: Corrupt
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Your school is Corrupt as is much of the SEC..nothing but cheaters and liars and dishonesy

Subject: violation facts
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Coach Freeze mentioned that if we have evidence of NCAA violations that we should send them here, soooo I’m thinking I have some pretty strong stuff, will snapshots of text messages between coaches/admin and a player count as evidence??

Thanks!

Subject: Application
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

I would like to apply for a player/starter position at Ole Miss.

I hear the pay is pretty solid and the benefits are great.

Where should I email my resume and salary requirements?

Subject: Cheating, pAying players, hypicrital HC who lies and hides behind religion, cover up
Date: Sunday, May 29, 2016

See internet

Some emailers wanted to make a point about Arkansas.

Months earlier, the Hogs had used a bananas fourth-and-25 conversion to beat the Rebels in Oxford. Wounds from that play were still fresh.

Subject: Urgent Matter Regarding Athletic Department
Date: April 29, 2016

To Whom it May Concern,

Coach Freeze personally asked me to email you if I had any facts about a violation. I don’t want to slander any young men, but I feel it’s my duty as a citizen to report the violation I saw. It’s offensive that the Ole Miss Athletic Department would go to such length to be blatantly paying their recruits to play football, but what makes it worse is THAT YOU CAN’T EVEN BEAT ARKANSAS.

Subject: Response to Coach Hugh Freeze twitter update (possible violations)
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Here’s facts about a violation.

[REDACTED]

4th and 25

Woo Pig

To: Request
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

Here, we have a person who has some issues.

Hugh, Barney, et al:

Your program has been [REDACTED] all over the world wide web. If the claims are true all of you will soon be broken men, yet right now you are simply afterbirth, slithering from your mother’s filth and paying for your deviltry. The power of Christ compels you to become honest men and forsake the shit stained lives you have been living. Your athletic department is nothing more than an old and dry dingle berry hanging from the Ole Miss anus which itself is only an inch away from the vaginal sludge you call an athletic department.

It takes a lot of love to crush a young man’s dreams, but that is is exactly what the good book requires you to do. So, confess your sins publicly and let the NCAA bayonet your wounded. Considering the natural born jackasses you fellows appear to be, I assume you are stumbling over the enormity of being [REDACTED]. So, instead of walking around like free range dementia patients, accept this prescription for two testicles each and do the right thing. You will feel better as soon as you are able.

You have posited your program as an angelic one, and though I am not a gynecologist, even I could see her devil’s tail.

Slam the lair’s door to the atrocious beast you built, wipe the scum from your polluted lips, and quickly present yourselves where innumerable people have told you to go.

Another string of tips came in late May 2016, after the NCAA hit Ole Miss with a formal Notice of Allegations.

This first email is the most racist of anything in these batches of messages:

Subject: Notice of Allegations
Friday, May 27, 2016

Dear Mississippi Staff,

You guys are a disgrace to college football. You let 18 to 22 year olds take advantage of you before running off to the NFL for riches. It’s time somebody realized that these Neanderthal “student-athletes” are only loyal to the people that pay them or help them get paid. That’s it.

You’ve sold your soul to win and for what? You’ve lost all credibility and integrity and you lost a fan in me.

I cheer for the New York Giants and Florida Gators. Because Eli Manning is my QB, I root for his college team too, whenever they don’t play the Gators. That won’t happen anymore. You have a duty to the fans as well as the players and you’ve failed all of us.

Shame on you! You deserve the heavy punishment you’re going to receive and then some. Maybe one day, you’ll realize that none of it was worth all the trouble.

I hope they hammer you for this.

Subject: Illegal inducements
Date: Friday, May 27, 2016

Coach Freeze defiantly said that everyone should E-mail this department if they had any conclusive information about Ole Miss providing illegal inducements in your football program. Your own attempt to deflate a major NCAA crackdown by self-reporting a small number of them, seems to me like it constitutes proof. Teams like Ole Miss are a disgrace to the sport that I love.

Subject: Re: blind side
Date: Monday, May 30, 2016

I think high school

Coach freeze paid [REDACTED] he admitted it. Can always turn a blind-side I meAn blind-eye

Bazinga.

Subject: Violations
Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Coach Freese told me on Twitter to email this address if I had any evidence of NCAA violations. It is against NCAA rules for coaches to pay for your player’s power bill. I will let you if I come across anymore evidence of violations.

Subject: Recruiting violations
Date: Friday, May 27, 2016

All the money you paid players but couldn’t get Hugh’s ass to a dentist to fix them beaver teeth.

Rest in peace you pieces of shit

Later, the athletic department received a different kind of investment opportunity.

Subject: Projects
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hello Sir,

I am a consultant to His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and my client have a huge pool of financial resources lodged with banks in Europe for investment into profitable projects worldwide so my responsibility to our esteemed client is to source for potential business opportunities for our clients for investment.

If you want to make an inquiry about our services contact us because only serious projects will be considered.

Ole Miss also received an offer in 2016 to collaborate with a person who runs “oil and gas businesses in Gabon and Angola” and promised access to “high-net-worth individuals.”

It was unclear at press time if Ole Miss ever made an investment in either venture.