From the mother ship this morning, Bjork says no substance to complaints
The recruiting success of Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze generated a lot of excitement among Rebels fans. It also generated some raised eyebrows, questions and challenges from those who are not Ole Miss fans.
When Freeze took to Twitter and challenged his accusers to take their complaints of wrong-doing to the school’s compliance office, many took him at his word.
Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork said he received “75 or 80” responses charging some sort of violation.
“We had … I don’t know the exact number of responses. As of that Friday I think it was 75 or 80 on that first Friday that coach Freeze put out that message. Most of them were not anything of substance. There were a few that had stories that caused us to say, ‘OK, we need to look into these.’ But nothing has come to light from those,” Bjork said.
“We get things every day in our compliance world that we have to track down or follow up on and make sure that it’s either more severe than others or things that just don’t have any validity to them. Right now we haven’t seen anything related to those emails.
“We will continue to stay diligent and continue to remind the Ole Miss family, our staff and our student-athletes of the dos and don’ts.”
Bjork said he witnessed the relationship building with recruits and thought the accusations were simply wrong.
“That part of it was unfortunate, because I know how hard our staff has worked. I know the momentum that was created with the key relationships we had to capitalize on two of the top five players in the country. It fueled the rest of the recruits to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on down there. Why are all these guys looking at Ole Miss? What’s happening with that program? What’s happening with that staff?
“We’ll deal with it. We’ll hit it head-on. That was the message and intent we had with coach Freeze’s message a few weeks ago.”
Freeze seemed to take the accusations personally when he addressed them at his signing day press conference. He wasn’t alone in that regard.
“We all took it personally. It’s our program that we’re ultimately responsible for. They weren’t coming to me directly, necessarily. I had a few of them that came directly to me, mainly on social media. Coach Freeze has a lot of people that follow him and a lot of activity on social media.,” Bjork said.
“Those threats, if you will, those were taken personally by all of us, and I think we did the right thing by saying, ‘Look. We run a program with integrity. If there’s something out there that we should be aware of, here’s a process to do it.’ That applies to anything. That applies to any fan. That applies to any person associated with our program or not associated, that if there’s something out there we have a duty and obligation to follow up on it, and I think that was the intent of that. It’s hard to filter the personal side of it. We all want to run a program with integrity, and that’s our first intent. Coach Freeze just felt, ‘Hey look, we’ve got to say something out there, because we’re just getting attacked unfairly.’ If there’s something then show us what evidence there is.”