Oct 4, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; General view of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium during the first half of the Mississippi Rebels game against Alabama Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
When Ole Miss doesn’t like something, they take their ball and go home. Such is the case in two incidents over the past couple of years as the Ole Miss administration, and some media, have sought to control the message by boycotting certain media members who did not fall in line with their best wishes.
In the summer of 2013, 5-star recruit Marlon Humphrey tweeted some not-so-kind things about Ole Miss:
Humphrey, who ended up signing with Alabama, later deleted those tweets and apologized saying he had never visited Ole Miss as a recruit and had not experienced any racism from the OM family.
John Talty, a Clarion-Ledger recruiting writer at the time (now with AL.com), published an article covering Humphrey’s tweets. In the article he elaborated about how 3-star recruit Daniel Gresham had thought Ole Miss was racist until he visited campus, discussed the protest when President Obama was re-elected in 2012, and brought up the last known KKK march in Oxford (2009).
Around the time that article was published, sources close to M&WN were told that John Talty was being black-balled by the Ole Miss administration and football program. This lasted for an unknown period of time, but multiple channels have confirmed the initial boycott to be true.
Fast forward 18 months to January 28, 2015. Coach 34, popular poster at EliteDawgs.com, was a guest on Out of Bounds – a Jackson, MS sports talk radio show. He was there to discuss his message board post that had gone viral about the Ole Miss “recruiting playbook”. Normally message board posts don’t go viral, but this one had over 65,000 views and was being discussed across the internet, even sparking the twitter hashtag, “#TheNetwork”; referring to Ole Miss’ legion of boosters who worked in unison as Coach 34 described in his post.
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork and the Ole Miss Athletic Foundation both tweeted about “The Network”:
So, Bo Bounds brought him on his show to discuss “The Network” phenomenon. Bounds allowed Coach 34 to use his alias on the show rather than his real name. This is common courtesy considering Coach 34 is a fan rather than a paid member of the media, and he is on the show to discuss a post on a message board where all the posters use an alias to describe themselves. This upset RebelGrove.com writer Neal McCready:
Previously, McCready had a weekly segment on Out of Bounds where he discussed Ole Miss athletics. The day before, January 27th, he discussed “The Network” during said segment. Since Coach 34’s appearance on the show, however, McCready has stopped all appearances on Out of Bounds.
Since January 28th, Ole Miss athletics have had the following major events occur:
- signed a top 20 recruiting class (according to 247 Sports)
- started baseball season (after going to College World Series in 2014)
- defeated Mississippi State twice in basketball
- made the NCAA Tournament (winning in the First Four)
- women’s team is currently in the NIT (first postseason berth since 2010)
Here is the list of Ole Miss coaches and administrators who have appeared on Out of Bounds:
Here is the list of Mississippi State coaches and administrators who have appeared on Out of Bounds:
- Tony Hughes
- Rick Ray
- John Cohen
- Scott Stricklin (twice)
- Dan Mullen
- Ben Howland
Now, Bo Bounds is a Mississippi State alum and everyone knows that, but he bends over backwards to be fair to Ole Miss because of it – often times talking about Rebel sports too much in the opinion of many of his MSU listeners. Why haven’t Ole Miss coaches been guests on his show since “The Network” interview? Clearly the show’s presence is big enough to warrant the biggest names at Mississippi State to take part, and has been for Ole Miss in the past.
On Wednesday morning’s broadcast, a caller (“Greg”) asked Bo, “I’m just curious, man, Andy Kennedy just got through with the NCAA Tournament and we didn’t have any interviews with him. Are we gonna get anybody on from Ole Miss?”
Bo Bounds response:
"That’s a great question, Greg, I’m not sure. Ah, we’ll see though. We’ll see. Um, hadn’t had AK on in about two years, but, ah, did text him a couple weeks ago and I agree with you Greg, I thought he did a wonderful job.We’ll see, ah, it’s not something that’s a necessity for sure."
I contacted Bo Bounds on Wednesday afternoon, and he confirmed to me that he requested to have Andy Kennedy on when Ole Miss was in Gainesville to play Florida (game was played February 12th). He also confirmed that no Ole Miss coach has been on the Out of Bounds program since Coach 34’s appearance on January 28th.
The Ole Miss media hasn’t been too kind to Bo either. Checking back on available records since January 29th, there have been three appearances by Parrish Alford (OM beat reporter for Daily Journal) and twice by Riley Blevins (OM beat reporter for Clarion Ledger). Interestingly enough, there have been no internet reporters, i.e. Ole Miss Spirit, Rebel Grove or Ole Miss 247.
The MSU newspaper writers like Mike Bonner have made several appearances over the same time frame, but also internet reporters Paul Jones and Robbie Faulk of Bulldawgs247 have each been guests on the show.
Why all of the sudden have Ole Miss coaches and internet reporters been avoiding Bo Bounds? It’s awfully suspicious considering the timeline of events dictates this happened after Coach 34’s interview on the show.
Bo did release this statement to us regarding our suspicions that Ole Miss is black-balling his radio show:
"The Out of Bounds show is not aware of an official boycott of the show. We enjoy interviewing coaches from several universities and colleges throughout the state and country. One of those schools is Ole Miss. Our focus is Mississippi and the SEC West and we’ll continue to strive to deliver great content, Monday-Friday on Out of Bounds."
I don’t mean to put words in Bo’s mouth here, but it’s interesting that he said he was unaware of an “official” boycott of his show.
What does all this mean?
If it’s true that Ole Miss’ coaches and administration, and some media, have been black-balling Bo Bounds it’s just another example of a thin-skinned attitude towards people not in their program. It shows they do organize to align themselves with those who fit the message they want, leaving those who go against their wishes in the dust.
You can be the judge on what Ole Miss should be doing in this situation, but there’s no doubt they are leaving their hard-core fans in the Jackson area out to dry over a petty dispute.
When will they return to Bo Bounds’ program? All we can do now is sit and wait for them to uncross their arms, bring the ball back over to the other kids and start playing again.
UPDATE: Hugh Freeze joined Bo Bounds this morning for an interview. It should be noted that the radio program is currently at a golf tournament featuring both Dan Mullen and Hugh Freeze, and they both stopped by the show. Considering the nature of this article, it would have looked really bad for Freeze to refuse an interview as he was walking by the radio tent.
Was there a boycott? We’ll never be 100% sure, but I still stand behind what was said in this article as it was all true at the time of publishing at 6:30 this morning. Regardless, good for Hugh Freeze joining the program and hopefully all petty disputes will be put aside for the good of the fans who enjoy the Out of Bounds radio program.