Henry Kissinger, former United States Secretary of State and academic observed that “The reason that university politics is so vicious is because stakes are so small."
The inverse is also true — that when the stakes are incredibly high with millions to be gained or lost, minimal discussion is had with the public or the university’s students. Alabama’s 2nd highest paid civil servant — the Head of Auburn’s Football team — may go to a coach mired in legitimate controversy that may affect not only Auburn’s values and ethical standings but also its coveted football program.
While am not a sports fanatic, sources told ESPN that Liberty’s Hugh Freeze has been in informal discussions with Auburn’s athletic director John Cohen for the head coach role after being “heavily vetted."
It is important we conduct our own heavy public vetting here, within open pages of a campus newspaper, because in two years when boosters and the athletic department spend millions of dollars to once again remove a coach — except this time under ethical failures — we’ll need to know why.
Hugh Freeze was ousted from Ole Miss for using a university cellphone to contact an escort service after vacating numerous wins due to recruiting and academic violations that occurred during his leadership. This led him to fail upward and still receive a million-dollar coaching contract at Liberty, a Christian University, where being threatened to be dismissed by a prior school’s athletic director for “moral turpitude” isn’t frowned upon.
While I understand millionaires play by a different set of rules, I think it’s important we examine if a lack of morality is worth the discount on a head coach. I encourage Auburn’s Athletic Director and University parents to reassess if we want Freeze to educate the next generation in “clean sports."
The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors.
These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees.
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