The SEC Blocking Hugh Freeze from Alabama is Actually a Good Thing
It seems Nick Saban and The University of Alabama has become sort of a "Halfway House" for fired coaches looking to rebuild their careers.
Just this offseason Saban hired former University of Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones as a $30,000 a year "consultant" and one of his co-offensive coordinators is former New Mexico Head Coach Mike Locksley.
You'll recall a couple years ago, Saban took in then fired USC Coach Lane Kiffin and named him Offensive Coordinator. Kiffin stayed for a couple years, changing and growing the Crimson Tide offense.
The two had a bit of a kerfuffle at the end of the 2016 season as Kiffin began exploring other jobs. He landed at Florida Atlantic, one of 2017's, "Cinderella" teams who went 10-2.
Saban also brought in Steve Sarkisian when he was unceremoniously dumped after a battle with alcoholism while at USC (replacing Kiffin).....Sarkisian was brought on board as a "Consultant" in 2016 and by 2017, he took over as Offensive Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
I'm leading to something here---bear with me.
Now comes word---in the form of an investigative report by the Matt Zenitz and John Talty of AL.com saying Saban tried to bring on another troubled coach....
Former Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze....
You'll recall Freeze was dumped as the NCAA closed in on the Rebels litany of violations which led to them being put on probation for the next couple of years. Most of the violations and an attempted coverup were traced back to Freeze and his associates.
But Freeze, while not playing by the rules---is widely considered an Offensive Football guru and is one of the few coaches to hold not one, but two wins over Saban who clearly wanted to try and utilize Freeze's knowledge as an Offensive Coordinator.
Until the SEC stepped in and said um, "NO".....
For all the foibles and sometimes well earned reputation as a league who plays fast and loose with the rules, Commissioner Greg Sankey stepped in and stepped up, telling Saban no. Not a lot of people tell Saban no.
And that is a respectable stance by the sometimes "Win at Any Cost" SEC.
Clearly Saban is exploiting the expanding rules of coaching staffs and "Consultants" by adding as many people he thinks can help him as he's able to. Which isn't the issue at hand.
Obviously this is the newest trend in College Football as multiple schools are taking this route.
Heck, according to the AL.com report, both LSU and Missouri asked about Freeze too. And both times the SEC said no.
Now...don't misunderstand or misinterpret this. Freeze will be back as a coach. Soon.....it likely won't be in 2018. But he'll be on someone's sideline in 2019, mark my words. College Football does not let coaches who clearly have some talent go away---bad reputations be damned and Freeze is too good an Offensive Football coach to sit out for long.
He'll do his season of penance and be back. It may not be as a Head Coach for awhile, but I'd bet money he gets a job next season. To be more specific, he'll be back in the SEC or somewhere in the Southeastern U.S in 2019.
Semi-props to the SEC for taking at least a small moralistic stance for now. We're pretty sure this won't happen often. Despite my feelings that coaches should be forced to be out of the game for the length of time the schools they tarnish are, I don't ever see a world where that will happen.
Not when Coaches like Saban are looking for any new advantage they can find.
And not when the Coach is one with some talent.
Business....it's a College Football thing....