Joel Klatt went on FS1’s Speak for Yourself last Friday and absolutely unloaded on Ole Miss. Klatt not only blasted ousted head coach Hugh Freeze for his actions, but also the entire university for it’s inability to succeed without cheating.
Check it out:
Klatt pointed out that Ole Miss had some level of success with Eli Manning from 2000-2003 (31-18, and 10-3 with a Cotton Bowl win in 2003), but that only came because the Manning family was already tight with then-head coach David Cutcliffe. Other than that, Ole Miss’ football program has been a disaster for a long time unless someone has been breaking the rules. Klatt claimed it had been a quarter of a century, but it’s actually been much longer.
Freeze was able to win some games, but as the school’s current NCAA scandal has shown, all of that came as the result of cheating.
In the 80s and early 90s, head coach Billy Brewer also ran into NCAA issues, with allegations of recruiting improprieties. The Rebels were banned from postseason play and live television in 1987 after the NCAA discovered Ole Miss recruits had received cash and gifts from boosters. In December of 1993, Brewer and the Rebels were again hit by allegations of recruiting violations and he wound up fired, while the program was buried by heavy NCAA sanctions in 1994.
Tommy Tuberville, Cutcliffe and Ed Orgeron had relatively unremarkable tenures from 1995 through 2007, then Houston Nutt took over in November of 2007. Nutt had his own issues with the NCAA and recruiting after he signed 37 players in 2010, despite only having 25 scholarships available. After an awful 2011 season during which he went just 2-10, Nutt was fired. In stepped Freeze, and we all know how that turned out.
Klatt is absolutely right. Other than one season with Eli Manning, Ole Miss has not found a way to win without cheating since the school went 10-2 under Billy Kinard in 1971. Despite great fan support and a ton of cash, Ole Miss can’t figure out how to win football games without breaking NCAA rules.
*Full disclosure: Our boss, Jason McIntyre works for FS1 and was on the panel of Speak For Yourself when Klatt made his statements.