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Hugh Freeze's viability as a coaching candidate to fill an SEC vacancy was vetted with the conference by South Carolina before the program ultimately hired Shane Beamer, two sources close to the situation tell CBS Sports. It is believed that Freeze would pass scrutiny by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who must evaluate and approve of his hiring if he returns to the league.

Freeze is expected to be the top candidate for Auburn now that it has fired coach Gus Malzahn after eight seasons.

Sankey reportedly "encouraged" Alabama not to hire Freeze three years ago to an assistant position. While Freeze's name did not appear in the NCAA report about institutional issues at Ole Miss, he was head coach of the Rebels program shrouded in controversy and violations.

Freeze went 39-25 (6-21 SEC) at Ole Miss with his stellar 2015 season (10-3, 6-2 SEC) and the high-level recruiting that went along with it not only standing out but also raising eyebrows. Recruiting and academic violations led the NCAA to hand down significant penalties to the Rebels, which were forced to vacate 27 wins.

Freeze resigned from Ole Miss before the 2017 season after an investigation led the university to discover he used a school-provided cell phone to call escort services over a five-year span.

After his departure, he was unemployed for two seasons before being hired by Liberty. Freeze has led the Flames to a 17-6 record in two seasons with a 9-1 mark in 2020.