All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and the mailbag is back!

Before we get going any further, I want to thank you guys for six years of support. Crazily, it has now been six years of Outkick. And in honor of our sixth year as a site, I just bought a place in Rosemary Beach. Would I have ever believed that I’d be buying a place on the beach six years after starting Outkick? No way, but you guys have supported me since we started the site and things are really rolling now baby.

Okay, on to the mailbag.

You know how it goes, it’s a relatively lazy summer Thursday evening and you’re watching “Paw Patrol” with your two year old when suddenly your phone blows up with news that Freeze is officially done at Ole Miss. And, bang, you’re off and running.

There really is no offseason when it comes to the news business. This is why I can never turn my phone off.

Not surprisingly, most of you have questions about Freeze, but we’ve also got a few OJ Simpson getting paroled stories as well. (By the way, I totally assumed our entire Friday morning radio show would be OJ getting paroled and then, BAM, Hugh Freeze is out for consorting with prostitutes.)

Here’s my discussion from last night on the Hugh Freeze situation at Ole Miss if some of you would rather have a combo of audio and the written word.

Okay, here we go, on to the mailbag:

Jesse writes:

“Most attention has turned to Freeze’s personal life, but can you outline how this affects the NCAA investigation for Ole Miss? I don’t think the average fan knows, myself included.

It was pretty obvious Freeze was going down at some point soon. Is it possible Ole Miss actually helped their chances by getting Freeze out for unrelated personal reasons, which may distract from the major violations that are under review?”

Taylor also writes:

“I’ve been following you and listening to your show now for almost a year, and I tell people that you are the best guy to listen in sports when it comes to the truth. With that being said, I was on my family vacation when you wrote the article about the Nutt lawsuit burying Freeze. I looked at my dad and said, “we are screwed, it’s over.” Of course, my dad didn’t want to believe it, but I told him over and over that something really bad has happened and we just don’t know it yet. I’ve been an Ole Miss my entire life. I just graduated from there this past May. I remember the LSU-Ole Miss 2003 game where Eli tripped on the center’s foot (still salty). I was a junior at Ole Miss when 4th and 25 happened (really). I’ve been through the the heartbreaks, the broken bones (Treadwell game, still upset), you name it I’ve been there. Even in the good times, I was there. 2014 Alabama will always go down as the greatest moment in my Ole Miss career. I really believed Freeze had taken us to where we wanted to be, and he had done it the right way. I was on the 9th row in the Superdome when Laremy Tunsil caught a freakin touchdown right in front of me as we buried the Mullet Man and his Cowboys into the ground. Now, that doesnt even seem real. Out of all those losses I mentioned above, this one hurts more than any of them. All of that to say, how does Ole Miss come up with a plan to get back to the day where we beat Bama and brought the goalposts down? Realistically, how do we become relevant again?”

If Ole Miss had wanted to completely curry favor with the NCAA, they would have fired Hugh Freeze months ago, when these allegations were first made. Then this case might be effectively over because the Rebels would have given Hugh Freeze’s head to the NCAA on a silver platter. Instead Ole Miss made the decision to stand behind Freeze, a decision that now seems disastrous.

As a result of Houston Nutt’s lawsuit Ole Miss’s 2017 season is effectively ruined since I can’t imagine they will be able to get a decent coach to take over this soon before the season starts. What’s more, which top coaches are going to take a job at Ole Miss when NCAA regulations are hanging over the Rebel head?

Maybe Lane Kiffin?

Who in the most Lane Kiffin move ever just went and followed four Ole Miss football accounts as soon as Hugh Freeze was fired.

Simply amazing.

Notwithstanding Lane Kiffin’s move here, the fact that Ole Miss took pains last night to say Freeze wasn’t being fired for NCAA issues is strange to me. Why not use that as an excuse here? If you were Hugh Freeze wouldn’t you have preferred to say that while you didn’t think the NCAA issues justified it, you’d decided to step down in the best interests of the university? Isn’t that infinitely preferable to getting caught with prostitutes?

As is, I would be stunned if Hugh Freeze doesn’t get a show cause from the NCAA. Given that he’s not going to be coaching this year that show cause might only be one year or it could be longer. But I don’t know how much benefit the NCAA will give to Ole Miss on this because, again, they didn’t fire Freeze over NCAA issues. They fired him over personal issues unrelated to the NCAA investigation.

Having said that, if I ran Ole Miss at this point I’d totally fall on the NCAA’s sword and try to get this case entirely resolved by November, so that you could go out to hire a new coach with everything public and the NCAA issues gone forever. Remember, Ole Miss didn’t have to buy Hugh Freeze out, so they can still afford to pay the right coach $4-$5 million a year. And if you get the right coaching hire done, you’ll be fine.

If I’m say, a top ACC coach, could I look over at the SEC and think, “Holy hell, I could be the second best coach in that conference?”

I would.

Because you can make a decent argument the ACC has five coaches right now who would be the second best coach in the SEC: Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, Bobby Petrino, Mark Richt, and Justin Fuente all may be better than Dan Mullen or Gus Malzahn or Jim McElwain or Kevin Sumlin or whomever you want to argue is the second best coach in the SEC. Why wouldn’t one of those guys take the money and head to the SEC?

Hell, you know what, if Butch Jones bombs out at Tennessee this year you know who I’d call? James Franklin. I’m not sure he’d ever leave Penn State given that he’s got it rolling now, but how much easier is it to win the SEC East right now than the Big Ten East? In the Big Ten East Franklin has to coach and recruit against Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, and Mark Dantonio every year. In the SEC East there isn’t a single coach as good as those three. Franklin would be the best by far.

Cory writes:

“I was hoping you could put your lawyer hat on and explain something for me.

With the whole Hugh Freeze escort scandal going on I was listening to your take on prostitution and how it should be legal. I totally agree. If one consenting adult wants to pay another for sex why should that be illegal? And on top of that, why can I pay two or more people to have sex with each other and film it (porn), and not pay another person to have sex with me (prostitution)?”

I’m with you, it’s a totally illogical distinction. But the law feels that when two people are being paid for something, it’s work, whereas when only one is being paid for something it isn’t. So they criminalize sex when only one side is being paid for the service.

Which is insane to me.

Because much of American commerce is founded on this exact business plan, one person pays another for their labor. You can pay someone to cook your food, watch your kids, cut your grass, dance naked for you, fix a car, model clothes, build a house, teach you golf, you name it and we frequently pay one person to do something for us.

But you can’t pay someone to have sex with you?

From a moral perspective, which is the more honest way to make a living — working as a prostitute or being paid by American tax dollars to pretend to work as a prostitute to entrap men who want to pay your for sex? It’s no contest, right? A prostitute is more honest than a vice cop.

Which is why one of my buddies in law school wanted to start a business that exploited this issue. His theory — why couldn’t you set up a company which filmed porno movies and only paid the girl for sex? The girl was paid to perform in the video and the guy got the only copy made of the porn.

It’s a fantastic question that seeks to exploit this legal loophole.

My position on this is straightforward — legalize prostitution and then use the money you spend paying fake prostitutes to catch guys now to ensure the women are legally licensed and not being used in sex trafficking. In other words, I think pulling prostitution out of the criminal underground, taxing and regulating it would make the women safer and make illegal sex trafficking rarer.

Just about all of us sell something — I sell my words, both spoken and written. If you’re a woman why shouldn’t you legally be able to sell sex if that’s your best asset? This is why I say I’m such a huge feminist. Other people, many of them left winger social justice warriors and right wing conservatives, are out here running around telling women what they can and can’t do. Meanwhile I have a radical moderate idea, I think it’s sexist not to allow a woman to sell sex if she wants to sell it.

Put it this way, if men could get paid lots of money for sex, you think there’s any way it would have ever been illegal?

Will writes:

“Why would Hugh Freeze walk away from $12 million dollars if fired and instead resign? Is there more to the story or did they have leverage to make him resign?”

Good question.

If you’re fired because you don’t win enough football games that isn’t being fired “for cause.” You still get paid all the money owed under your contract if you simply don’t win enough football games. If you’re fired “for cause” your contract is null and void. Which is the same effect as if you resign.

Here Ole Miss specifically said they would have fired Hugh Freeze for cause if he hadn’t resigned. So the difference in outcomes here is insubstantial. My guess is Ole Miss told him they would itemize all of the wrongdoing they found in his personal life, publish them, and fire him for cause if he didn’t resign effective immediately. By resigning Freeze gives up all claim to the $12 million he was still owed under his contracts, but Ole Miss doesn’t publicize all the evidence they had about his personal failings.

As is, the media had access to this one call to an escort service courtesy of the Houston Nutt lawsuit. (Nutt and his lawyers shopped the story about the call to an escort phone line to multiple reporters across the country. And it was this inquiry which led to Hugh Freeze losing his job.) Freeze and Ole Miss initially told media he’d simply dialed a wrong number. That’s a somewhat plausible, if a bit suspect, defense. But if you dial escort services again and again over months and years, can you really argue you’ve accidentally done it?

The pattern of calls that Ole Miss uncovered made Freeze unemployable.

Having said that, I believe Freeze will be employed in coaching again. He’s only 47 and fans and athletic directors have short memories if your problems exceed your talents. Bobby Petrino and Steve Sarkisian both recovered from more prominent falls than Freeze.

I’d expect Freeze will have a one or two year penalty and then get hired as an offensive coordinator somewhere before he gets another shot at a top job.

Scott writes:

“In light of the High Freeze phone call to an escort from a UNIVERSITY OWNED PHONE (what a dumbass), I have a few questions. Why do SEC football coaches have phones that are owned by their employers?  Certainly there is some explanation or else they wouldn’t all be doing it. Would it be smarter of them to own their own phones?  Wouldn’t personal phones be somewhat protected from public records requests? With the salaries these guys are making the monthly payment is not even a drop in the bucket.” 

The university provides cell phones to all coaches. That phone is tracked for purposes of recruiting, to ensure NCAA compliance, for instance. Most coaches also have a second “bat phone” or “burner” phone that they can use to recruit and conduct business outside of the public eye.

If Hugh Freeze had just had his own, private cell phone he would have been able to call escorts as much as he’d like and no one would have ever been able to find out. Maybe Freeze does have his own private phone.

Getting busted for this is insanely stupid.

If you’re a head coach or an assistant coach reading this right now — and many of them do –you need to head out this exact moment and get your own private cell phone.

It isn’t insane to me that Hugh Freeze was willing to pay for sex — all men pay for sex somehow or other since sex is not and has never been free — it’s insane that he tried to do it with his school cell phone.

Kyle writes:

“So listening to you talk about how religious/righteous Hugh Freeze claimed to be reminded me of a story from my childhood.

I grew up 2 houses down from the head coach of the New Mexico basketball team, Dave Bliss. Yes, the same Dave Bliss who is involved in what many people consider to be the biggest scandal in NCAA history. Now, practically being next door neighbors and him have 3 kids who were around my age, I was over at his house quite often and always admired him. You can bet I felt like the coolest kid ever when I would ride with him and his sons to summer basketball camps at the University. Getting out of the car of the head coach is a big deal for a 8 year old kid. 

One of the things that I remember about his family was how religious they were. They attended church every single Sunday, were big supporters of the church, and he would always talk about God when giving speeches. I thought he could do no wrong and was one of the good, always follows the rules, type of coaches. The day the family told me that they were moving to Waco to be a part of the Baylor program, I have to admit I was a little heartbroken. His family was terrific and, really, how in the world was I going to be able to enjoy the basketball program the way that I had been? One of the main reasons they said for moving, besides the increase in pay, was the fact that Baylor was the largest Baptist school in the world. Being around that was going to be great for the family. 

Well, flash forward a couple years and everyone knows what happens. It made me completely rethink everything that he had done and the way he acted. I never would have thought someone like that would do what he did. A guy whose house I was in all the time, playing games with his kids, having family dinners. 

So I completely agree with you that the more open and in your face people are with their religion, the more skeptical I am of what they really do or think. You never truly know what is going on behind the scenes until it gets to the point of huge scandal. 

Love listening to you every day.”

I’m immediately skeptical of anyone who publicly pronounces his or her religious faith on a regular basis. In the South it’s still not uncommon to meet new people and have them bring up God early in the conversation. When that happens I immediately suspect something’s up. I’ve just seen it happen way too many times that people who are the most publicly religious are hiding something or seeking to use religion to justify something. It’s as if they feel the need to make their religion public as some sort of armor to hide you from what they’re really like.

I’m perfectly fine with whatever religion you choose to support, but I don’t care at all about it. To me, stories about your religion are like stories about your fantasy football team, I just don’t care. You do whatever makes you happy and I’ll do whatever makes me happy.

I never bought into Hugh Freeze for this reason, he just seemed like a fake Southern Baptist preacher to me. And I’ve met quite a few fake Southern preachers in my days.

Okay, time for a fun summer question.

Jason writes:

“It’s summer time, and like most cities in the great US-of-A, I see fundraising car washes (99% are raising for their cheer squad) on practically every street corner. And on those corners are 15-17 year old teenage girls in booty shorts and usually less than a t-shirt. 

A grown buddy and I were discussing this and he thinks it’s ok to drive on in and watch these jail bait girls wash his car. I disagree. Who’s right?”

You can’t go to the high school cheerleading car wash if you’re a grown man unless:

1. You have a highschooler in the car with you who knows some of the girls.

or

2. Your daughter is on the cheerleading squad.

That’s it, period.

Also, you shouldn’t know a teenage girl you aren’t related to if you’re a grown man and your kids aren’t teenagers or you don’t have a job that requires being around them. I can honestly say I don’t know a single girl who is 16, 17, or 18 years old. Why would I? In what realm could we possibly overlap? My wife handles all babysitter contact. Can you imagine if the husband did?

Good lord.

One of the great lies we tell ourselves in America today is that there’s a huge difference between a smoking hot 17 year old and a smoking hot 18 year old. Because that difference is totally indistinguishable.

Don’t believe me? Go to the beach this summer and tell me which girls in tiny bikinis are 16, which are 17, and which are 18. Two of those put you in jail, the other is legal.

Good fucking luck telling the difference on sight.

I’ll share a funny story about that with you guys.

In 2016 I went to the Steeplechase Horse Race here in Nashville and an Outkick reader came up and asked me for a picture on the infield there. As we were standing there about to get our picture taken together a hot girl came walking by. She was all dressed up in her sundress and I said, “Hey, get over here, we need a hot girl in this picture instead of just having two ugly dudes.”

So she came over to get her picture taken.

So she poses for the picture with us and then I Tweeted out the picture. The next day all of her guy friends were retweeting it and commenting about how she didn’t even know she’d been in my picture and had no idea who I was. Which is perfectly normal. (I hold the record for number of hot women who are asked to take pictures of me with their boyfriends or husbands. Seriously, the hot girls are never in the pictures, they just take them.)

Except… it turned out the girl was a JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Not even a senior!

I thought she was like 22 or 23. Given the fact that she was on the infield at a horse race in the middle of a huge party it didn’t even remotely cross my mind that she might be in high school. There’s no way I would have yelled for a high school girl to come get her picture taken with us because she was hot.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Fast forward a year and I’m standing outside a University of Tennessee frat party before the Alabama game this past and a group of college dudes want their picture taken with me and guess who they were with? THE SAME GIRL.

Now a senior in high school.

And I was like, “Wait a minute, you’re in high…” and she grabbed me and she was like, “SHHHHHH! I go to Alabama!”

So this one underage girl managed to get her picture taken with me twice, as both a junior and a senior in high school, both times surrounded by crowds who had no idea how old she was.

If I were a single guy and this girl had come up to me at a bar, I would have bought her as many drinks as she wanted. And she was nowhere near 21.

So be careful out there.

Seventeen year old girls look like college grads now.

Thank the Lord I have three boys.

Have great weekends.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.