Nick Saban tried to hire former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze for the Alabama coaching staff earlier this offseason, but the addition never materialized. Now, thanks to reporting from John Talty and Matt Zenitz of, we know why.

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

“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.”

Though the bylaw does not explicitly give Sankey power to prevent a coaching hire — the final choice is the school’s — his thinking clearly impacted the situation.

According to the report, the SEC preferred Freeze “go off the radar” for a while before pursuing a coaching position within the conference.

That’s ultimately what happened, as Alabama promoted offensive analyst Mike Locksley to the coordinator position. He was the player-favorite choice, too. Saban also snatched Josh Gattis from Penn State to complete the offense’s side of the coaching staff.