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Allegations of inappropriate behavior emerge against Hugh Freeze

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Hugh Freeze was not pushed out at Ole Miss for a 1-minute Jan. 2016 phone call to a Tampa escort service — not officially. No, the discovery of that phone call — by a Mississippi State fan, by the way, but that’s another story for another day — simply prompted Ole Miss to do a deep dive into Freeze’s phone records, where the school discovered, in the words of Rebels athletics director Ross Bjork, a “pattern of personal misconduct” for which Freeze resigned at the point of termination.

The deep dive into Freeze’s life has just begun — lawyers for Houston Nutt have requested records from a Freeze burner phone — and USA Today has found troubling allegations against Freeze dating back to his days as the head coach at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.

“Coach Freeze pulled me in his office and told me that my shirt represented drugs,’’ Dalmasso said. “I said, ‘I’ll go change in the bathroom,’ and when I said that he said, ‘No, you’re going to change in here so I get the (Grateful Dead) shirt and you can’t have it back.’

“He didn’t do anything sexual. But I stood in the corner and faced the wall when I did it and I changed out of my shirt. No privacy.’’

Another former Briarcrest student said Freeze was “hyper attentive’’ to the length of her skirts and that he loomed in the parking lot after she would go to her car to change clothes. She also said she was troubled by the time she and some football players faced discipline for arriving late from lunch, when she asked to be paddled — a form of discipline reserved for the male students — instead of receiving detention. She said she was stunned when Freeze obliged rather than getting a female teacher.

“(Freeze) did some bizarre warm-up taunt before actually making contact,’’ said the woman, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because she said she fears reprisal. “I was humiliated that he didn’t have a female in the room.

“I don’t know if the acts were intentionally sexual or if he was really that oblivious to the inherently sexual nature of his approach to discipline.’’

For his part, Freeze has denied those allegations. “These accusations are totally false. I can unequivocally say that during my time at Briarcrest Christian School I handled disciplinary issues professionally and in accordance with the school’s policy,” he said in a statement to USA Today. “I am very confident that the members of the administration who worked hand in hand with me during my tenure will verify that.”

Briarcrest also released a statement supporting Freeze. “Briarcrest would take any such allegations very seriously and would investigate fully,” the school said.

Without any other evidence or eyewitness testimony, the Briarcrest cases boil down to “he said-she said.”

Problem for Freeze is, how many more “shes” are out there?

UCF’s Shaquem Griffin wins inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award

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UCF has won another trophy for last season and this is one they can very proudly display in the school trophy case.

That’s because recent Knights linebacker Shaquem Griffin was named the winner of the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award during a ceremony in the Dallas area on Thursday night. Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph were also finalists for the new award.

Griffin was one of the best players in college football for UCF despite the fact that his left hand was amputated when he was younger because of a congenital condition called amniotic band syndrome. A tenacious pass rusher, he was the AAC’s defensive player of the year in 2016 and was recently named the defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl as his team capped off a perfect season.

The award honors “exemplary leadership” on and off the field from a Division I college football player and was presented by Witten’s foundation. The former Tennessee star and All-Pro tight end with the Dallas Cowboys started the award last year and serves somewhat as the college version of the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

HBO releases new trailer for Joe Paterno movie starring Al Pacino

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We’re inching closer to the release date of HBO’s Paterno about former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and his story in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Emotions already run high in State College whenever this subject is brought up and that seems like it will be the case again after today as the worst scandal in college sports history is relived and brought vividly to life on cable TV.

This is something that is happening however and HBO released a new, official trailer for the film on Friday that gives us an extended look at both Al Pacino in the title role and a bit more on some of the plot lines that are being brought to the silver screen.

In addition to starring Pacino, Barry Levinson is directing the movie, Riley Keough plays reporter Sara Ganim, Kathy Baker is Sue Paterno and Darren Goldstein was cast as former Nittany Lions coach-turned-whistleblower Mike McQuearyAs you can see in the trailer above, the film is mostly centered on what Paterno did or did not know about Sandusky — the team’s defensive coordinator who was found guilty on 45 of 48 child-sex abuse charges in June of 2012 and is currently serving a prison sentence of at least 30 years.

Paterno premieres April 7th on HBO.

UConn head coach Randy Edsall: We’ve become a farm system, pay the players

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The FBI sting into college basketball malfeasance has gotten a lot of folks riled up on Friday afternoon, especially when it comes to NCAA rules and potential violations. This, in turn, is leading to everybody and their brother rehashing the argument to pay (or not pay) players.

While you would probably not have expected it, even football coaches are wading into the discourse and there’s a somewhat surprising line of thinking being taken by UConn head coach Randy Edsall on Twitter:

While Edsall’s first point about football coaches getting nervous about the FBI probe spilling over into their sport probably rings true, it’s not every day you see a head coach openly advocating for paying players and calling college football a farm system for the NFL.

The Huskies head coach’s latter tweet is referring to a proposal put forward by the SEC that was approved last month which essentially allows non-coaching analysts to evaluate film of recruits in ways they could not previously do so. This has led to many expecting programs (looking at you, Alabama) creating player personnel departments in even greater numbers to streamline evaluating prospects and allow certain staffers to handle more of the recruiting load.

Edsall is far from the first coach to advocate paying players but something says his comments on Friday will also mean he will just be the latest in a long line of advocates for advancing much the same cause, especially in light of the payments going on in college basketball that are just beginning to come to light.

Charlotte’s Greg Adkins reportedly Marshall’s new O-Line coach

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Country roads, take him home.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Charlotte assistant Greg Adkins is expected to return to his alma mater of Marshall to take over as the Thundering Herd’s next offensive line coach.

Adkins is well known around Huntington for his work with the team back in the early 1990’s when they were winning NCAA titles and making regular title game appearances at the then-Division I-AA level. He also had stops at Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and with the Buffalo Bills among others before being hired at Charlotte by Brad Lambert.

The return of Adkins fills the hole on Marshall’s staff after the departure of offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, who left for Oregon earlier in the week.