Sorry sea­sons follow scan­dal swaps

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

Uni­ver­sity of Mis­sis­sippi coach Hugh Freeze resigned in­stead of be­ing fired Thurs­day for what Ole Miss called a pat­tern of per­sonal mis­con­duct.

Pre­sea­son prac­tice is set to open in Ox­ford in a few weeks. The Rebels are a month and a half away from start­ing the sea­son against South Alabama.

This is no time for a coach­ing change, but of­fen­sive line coach Matt Luke is be­ing thrown into an in­terim po­si­tion.

He will try to save a sea­son that al­ready had been scarred by a self-im­posed bowl ban for NCAA vi­o­la­tions that Ole Miss said had noth­ing to do with Freeze be­ing forced out.

These types of scan­dal-driven off­sea­son coach­ing changes have be­come some­what com­mon in col­lege foot­ball.

His­tory shows teams that en­dure un­usual up­heaval do not fare well.

Here are some no­table off­sea­son changes and how those sea­sons turned out.

■ Art Briles, Bay­lor. Af­ter an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the school mis­han­dled sex­ual as­sault claims, some against foot­ball play­ers, Bay­lor’s board of trus­tees be­gan the process to fire Briles on May 26, 2016.


RE­SULT The Bears opened the sea­son ranked No. 23 and started 6-0, and then lost six con­sec­u­tive games. They won their bowl game to fin­ish 7-6.

■ Tim Beck­man, Illi­nois. Fired on Aug. 28, 2015, af­ter an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion found he mis­han­dled player in­juries.


RE­SULT The Illini had shown some progress in the pre­vi­ous sea­son un­der Beck­man and started 4-1, but they dropped six of their fi­nal seven games to fin­ish 5-7.

■ Jim Tres­sel, Ohio State. Resigned on May 30, 2011, af­ter it was re­vealed he lied about NCAA vi­o­la­tions in­volv­ing play­ers trad­ing equip­ment and mem­o­ra­bilia for cash and tat­toos.


RE­SULT The Buck­eyes went 6-6 and 3-5 in the Big Ten. The ad­min­is­tra­tion did not self-im­pose a bowl ban when it had the op­por­tu­nity and the Buck­eyes lost the Ga­tor Bowl to Florida to fin­ish with a los­ing record. The next year Ohio State had to serve an NCAA-handed-down post­sea­son ban when Ur­ban Meyer’s first team went 12-0.

■ Butch Davis (Spring­dale), North Carolina. Fired on July 27, 2011, amid an NCAA in­ves­ti­ga­tion about play­ers re­ceiv­ing im­proper ben­e­fits and aca­demic mis­con­duct.


RE­SULT The Tar Heels started 5-1 be­fore los­ing four of six to fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son. They com­pleted a lack­lus­ter year by los­ing to Mis­souri in the In­de­pen­dence Bowl and ended up 7-6.

AP file photo

For­mer Bay­lor coach Art Briles was one coach in re­cent years that lost his job shortly be­fore the col­lege foot­ball sea­son started.

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