ESPN Blasted For Bringing Hugh Freeze On College GameDay

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ESPN invited new Auburn coach Hugh Freeze to Saturday’s College GameDay from the Big 12 championship game, and viewers were NOT happy.

Freeze left Liberty for Auburn earlier this week, returning to the SEC after a tumultuous exit from Ole Miss. The deal is set to be for six years, with an average salary of $6.5 million. There will also be a bonus structure, along with other incentives.

Auburn officials initially swung and miss with Lane Kiffin, and reportedly spent two days vetting Freeze, who was accused of 15 Level-1 violations tied to recruiting during his time at Ole Miss. The NCAA also said the school had a “lack of institutional control” during his time.

The investigation into Freeze also found that Freeze used a school phone to contact ads associated with an escort service.

Not-so-shockingly, there was online backlash when the Freeze-to-Auburn reports first emerged, and that backlash continued during Saturday’s College GameDay appearance.

Hugh Freeze comes to Auburn with plenty of baggage

Plenty of Saturday’s social media criticism centered around Freeze sending unsolicited messages to a former Liberty student – Chelsea Andrews – involved in a sexual assault lawsuit against the school.

Liberty was accused of mishandling allegations of sexual assault. Andrews was identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe #7.”

Following Andrews going public with her claims against Liberty and the school’s handling of sexual assault claims, Freeze sent her multiple messages, including one defending AD Ian McCaw as a “Jesus like leader.”

Hugh Freeze blasted during ESPN College GameDay.
Viewers were not happy that Hugh Freeze was on ESPN’s College GameDay. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

McCaw came to Liberty from Baylor after the Bears had their own sexual assault scandal that rocked the athletic department.

Earlier this week, Freeze acknowledged it wasn’t right for him to send unsolicited messages to Andrews.

“I learned from this situation that I should totally understand other people’s circumstances first before communicating or commenting on someone’s situation. It was an inadvertent misstep with no ill intent, and I am sorry,” Freeze told ESPN when asked about the messages.

Judging by Saturday’s backlash, the internet isn’t ready to accept that apology.

Hugh Freeze talks social media, gives recruiting pitch on College GameDay

Freeze, of course, was also asked about his social media use, which has been all over the news since his hiring.

One report earlier this week said Freeze had to give up all control of his social media accounts upon hiring, while Auburn officials later told OutKick that “was not accurate.”

“I have actually – a lot of people in that office work with me now, and I like it that way. It’s hard for me to keep up now with everything that’s going on,” he said Saturday. “I didn’t know a few coaches had already changed at different places because I can’t keep up with it and I’ve got my hands full with a lot of other things right now. But it’s been a joint effort.”

Freeze also used his time on set to give a quick pitch to any recruits who happened to tuned in.

“For all the recruits listening right now, you can play right away, you can help us get that back there,” he said.

Viewers didn’t like that, either!

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

3 Comments

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  1. I’m certainly no Freeze-defender or Auburn-defender. … BUT “how many” Twitter posts constitute “an internet wildfire” or other hyperbolic description of NATIONAL OUTRAGE ???

    Is there a baseline standard for declaring “online backlash”? At least one OUTKICK contributor regularly goes OMG if two goobers in Ypsilanti post on a subject.

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