Freeze responds to Harbaugh: I will never apologize for wanting to be a father

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday April 13, 2016


Hugh Freeze isn’t backing down from his comments about satellite camps after Jim Harbaugh called him out, but Freeze also hopes the new ban can be changed to only restrict Power 5 schools.

Freeze joined Mike & Mike on Wednesday morning, one day after Jim Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated that coaches against the camps didn’t want to work as hard. Freeze had previously said coaches wanted some free time with their family, and that hasn’t changed.

I will never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband. I miss enough volleyball games. That is a priority for me,” he said Wednesday. “But in all reality, schools that are coming down to do camps way outside of their region, they’re really coming for one or two kids. That’s the truth.

“A better setup is for us to continue to run our camps and allow every school in a non-Power 5 (conference) to come attend your camp and see these 500 kids. When I address those camps, I stand up and say, ‘Here are all these coaches. Very few of you will play at Ole Miss. But you want an opportunity, and here they are.’ I understand the other side of it, but I don’t think people have an understanding of how the recruiting calendar is set up right now.”

Freeze said he and Urban Meyer had a long talk over how this FBS ban hurts Group of 5 schools, and Freeze understood it. He also said coaches are hopeful to change that, though it may be too late for this summer.

“We’re certainly trying to work that. We’re not certain the exact route that it has to go, but I’m afraid it may not be enough time for this summer,” Freeze said. “I do have confidence that makes sense to most people and we can hopefully make that proposal in our spring meetings and get it on the table. I really think that’s the perfect fit. There may be some other adjustments without saturating some of these cities.”

But why did the SEC propose the full-out ban then? Freeze was asked directly if the proposal was meant to keep other schools out of their territory, as many have accused. He said it was not. Freeze also said he's heard from high school coaches who were in favor of a Power 5 ban so hundreds of camps wouldn't pop up in major cities. He also noted Ole Miss' camp costs $20, trying to downplay the criticism that this ban removes a cheaper option for players to get in front of many coaches. 

“For me, it was spending time at home, and two, I value the relationships I have with (SEC) coaches, and I can’t see how in the world it’s good if I’m going to set up a camp in Kevin Sumlin’s backyard and vice versa, and we go into Kirby Smart’s,” he said. “Your experience is biased by your region and location and conference. We have been able to get those kids to come to campus in our two 15-day windows for camps.

“I don’t recall it ever being discussed, ‘We’ve got to keep people out of our backyard.’ They’re welcome to come here in that six-week evaluation period all they want and recruit kids. I think it’s more about the respect and the high school coaches’ time and the saturation it could be.”

But the ban is in place, and schools are already making changes to their summer plans, especially the Group of 5 schools caught off-guard.

Harbaugh says coaches don’t want to work harder. Freeze says coaches work plenty hard. But even when the camps were allowed, that didn't mean everyone had to participate. There would have been nothing forcing Freeze or other SEC coaches to set up any camps anywhere if they removed their own ban. Now, coaches are looking for a fix to their reaction.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.