Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze may not know everything that happens in his program -- or so he says -- but he has to own each and every thing that does occur. That's part of the responsibility of running a college football program, and it's what Freeze is facing now in the wake of a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.
The details of the NOA, released in May, revealed the most important part of the Ole Miss story as it pertains to Freeze: 13 violations were committed by the football program, eight were deemed to be Level I violations (the most serious kind) and nine of the 13 violations occurred under Freeze.
Even if you don't care about athletes receiving benefits -- and it certainly seems far down on the list of egregious acts -- plausible deniability isn't exactly an excuse.
But that's basically what Freeze tried to relay in an interview with ESPN.
"I don't know that it's possible," Freeze said about knowing everything that happens, before adding, "I'm the CEO of the program. I have to own everything that happens."
Freeze may own up to what he referred to as "mistakes," but as the CEO, it's also Freeze's job to know what's going on in his program. This is a responsibility every head coach not only signs up for when he accepts a job, but embraces.
Within a single answer, Freeze showed why it's hard to believe coaches who pursue plausible deniability. Still, Freeze maintained that his role in the situation was limited.
"Sometimes there are mistakes that are made with a large group of people that we really have very little control over. I don't know that I could ever change peoples' minds like that. I wish I could, but I don't know that I can.
"I've come to peace with that. I promised myself I would never get callous in this job, but I do see how it can make you that way. I'm pretty close [to being callous]."
Whether you believe Freeze or not, Ole Miss has undoubtedly been happy with the trajectory of the program under his guidance. The Rebels again should be one of the preseason favorites to finish near the top of the SEC West.
With self-imposed sanctions sent to the NCAA, Ole Miss and Freeze are hoping to move on.