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July 21 Hustle Bag: Does performance trump poor decisions?

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MAC Media Day fireworks, bad behavior, and the OJ situation

Each week during the summer, we open up the HustleBag for all your questions and queries regarding sports, life, and general advice. Come for the MAC sports love, but stay for the life guidance. It’s the least we could do.

So if you’ve been under a rock or off the grid for the last 24 hours or so, you may have missed that Hugh Freeze has resigned from his head coach position at Ole Miss. The smoking gun was apparently calls made to an escort service from a university provided cell phone that was discovered through an open records request. Throw in a pending NCAA investigation and you’ve got a bridge too far for administration and thus, Freeze was out.

You may recall Freeze was a high volume Christian and trumpeted his faith regularly, so this story smacks of all the salaciousness need to make a media feeding frenzy: sex, scandal, hypocrisy, SEC football. It’s all the top of the line topics to make the angry internet mobs wet themselves in anticipation of the memes and OMG JUICY! kind of storylines.

My takeaway on this story, completely avoiding the religious hypocrisy, is that it is yet again proof that your results dictate your behavior allowances and what people will put up with. When Ole Miss was winning and taking down Alabama in back to back years? No one seemed to care that recruiting may have been, at best, on the margins and in the gray area of allowable tactics. Now? A call to an escort service is what ties the hangman’s noose in Oxford. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the decline on the field and the lower than usual recruiting classes coming in.

Think about your own office or profession. If you’re the top performer then you can be in the bad behavior business and at best people will just talk behind your back and dislike you. But your job security is rock solid assuming your results continue. Lowest rated performer? Could be the nicest guy in the office but I can guarantee you his name is on someone’s list somewhere as who to lay off when times get tight. It’s simple business.

No one will admit this with any power to actually decide it, but I would be willing to bet my life on the fact that if Freeze and Ole Miss had a 12-1 season last year with a top five class coming in no one would care about escorts and phone calls. Winning gives you the benefit to run whatever race you want no matter how muddy the track. For Freeze, he just fell out of the lead and got covered in dirt.

On to the HustleBag...

From Pat in Cleveland
Any fireworks expected for MAC Media Day next week?

Like actual fireworks or the metaphorical kind? Frankly, I wouldn’t expect much of either. We’ll have Rocket in attendance as the MAC road show transitions to the NFL Football Hall of Fame in Canton instead of its former home at Ford Field, so that will be a nice new piece of scenery. The thing I’ll be looking at more than any other is how new Western Michigan coach Tim Lester handles the day. He’s got a difficult act to follow as PJ Fleck without question was the star of media day in years past just being his usual self. I’m curious to see how Lester does, how the media spins it, and how WMU fans react to it all.


From Ryan in Indianapolis:
So OJ got paroled this week. Worst week ever for the criminal justice system?

Not even close. You have to keep in mind this case had nothing to do with that last thing that landed him in a bit of hot water and the back of a Bronco on the 405. And let’s be honest, stealing back your stuff seems like not really a 9 year kind of crime. So in some respects, you could say this was an example of the system working exactly the way it should.

Then there’s the Doug Gottleibs of the world who go on the sports talk shows and decry this parole hearing finding by announcing OJ should burn in hell. HOT TAKE ALERT!

Parole is no joke, by the way. OJ’s life as he knew it before all of his legal misgivings is essentially over. The lengthy list of requirements for parolees from where and when you can go places to where and when you can go and what you can do while there is pretty heavy. Reason number 4,372 why you should try to avoid getting your bottom landed in prison. It’s not like Shawshank with the friendly librarian with the pet bird.


From Nicole in Kentucky:
With the recent slew of MAC athletes on watch lists for major awards, what are the chances an award is won by a MAC player?

Not to burst your bubble, but low. Like most things in life, the college football awards seem to go to the most notable players on the most notable teams. Unfortunately, that means teams that generate wins with national eyeballs upon them. For the MAC, it’s an uphill climb. A finalist for a national award? Possible. Winning a national award? I wouldn’t count on it. Maybe a specialist award. Punters are people too, after all.


HustleBag runs Friday afternoons here at Hustle Belt. You can submit questions via Twitter (@HustleBelt) or via email at HustleBeltBlog (at) gmail.com.