Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

SEC reportedly told Nick Saban he couldn't hire Hugh Freeze at Alabama

SEC reportedly told Nick Saban he couldn't hire Hugh Freeze at Alabama

Freeze was reportedly mutually interested in a position with the Crimson Tide, but it appears the conference wants to move on from the embattled coach.

It's the primary reason why Saban, the highest-paid and most powerful coach in college football, couldn't add Freeze to his staff this offseason, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation who provided previously unreported details about Alabama's pursuit of the former Ole Miss head coach.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey used permission granted to him via bylaw to dissuade Alabama from hiring Freeze.

Saban, who hired former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones as a consultant, wanted to bring on Freeze as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Those programs included LSU and Missouri, but a deal reportedly couldn't be reached because of the conference's stance on Freeze.

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"While it seems implausible a coach as influential and successful as Saban couldn't get what he wanted, a almost year-old SEC bylaw gives the league's commissioner additional oversight into schools" hiring practices.

"Sankey informed both Freeze and Alabama that it would look bad for the SEC for Freeze to be back coaching in the league while Ole Miss suffered from NCAA penalties incurred under his watch."
Ole Miss also received a two-year bowl ban, scholarship reductions, and had to vacate wins after the NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled the program had "fostered an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting".

Instead, Saban wound up promoting Mike Locksley to co-offensive coordinator and hired Penn State assistant coach Josh Gattis.

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