Former Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson – the former #1 QB recruit in the country, and a big piece of the Rebels’ heralded 2016 recruiting class – officially transferred to the University of Michigan in December 2017.
Michigan then filed a waiver to allow Patterson to play immediately, due to the circumstances of Ole Miss recruiting Patterson to Oxford under false pretenses.
Basically, Patterson and other players, felt that they were lied to about the NCAA situation in Oxford. Ole Miss self imposed a bowl ban last season, and the NCAA tacked on another one for this year, so Patterson would have had 2 of his 4 seasons (and 2 of his 3 as a full-time starting QB) without the chance at reaching the postseason.
On top of that, Hugh Freeze, the coach that recruited him, was fired.
As part of the waiver process, Michigan’s petition, on behalf of Patterson, was sent to Ole Miss, along with the NCAA.
Ole Miss had an option to respond, but it was not required that they do so.
They could have left it alone and just wiped their hands of the situation.
Which, honestly, would have been the smart thing to do.
It’s what they have claimed they have wanted to do this whole time.
But Ole Miss filed an objection to the waiver on March 28th. It was just made public yesterday.
Tom Mars, Houston Nutt’s attorney, is also representing Patterson and other former Ole Miss players that have transferred. He was quoted in a story by the Detroit News last night:
“If I didn’t know better, I would have thought Ole Miss hired Pinocchio to write its response to Michigan’s waiver request,” Mars said Monday night.
“It appears that whoever wrote Ole Miss’s response to Michigan’s waiver request wasn’t aware that Ole Miss publicly apologized to Houston Nutt last October for making misleading statements to the sports media about the NCAA case,” Mars said. “There was no mention of the public apology in Ole Miss’s response. What’s more, the misleading statements to the sports media that Ole Miss publicly apologized for six months ago were the same misleading statements that Shea and a dozen other players and their parents say Ole Miss was telling them at the same time — both in person and over the phone.
“Along the same lines, while asserting it never misled anyone about the NCAA case, Ole Miss made no effort to explain why so many sports journalists openly said that Ole Miss had lied to them once Ole Miss finally let the media see the Notice of Allegations five months after National Signing Day. Nor did Ole Miss offer an explanation for why it unlawfully kept the Notice of Allegations under wraps for five months if everything it was saying to Shea, the other recruits and their parents in late January 2016 was fully consistent with what was alleged in the official charges they withheld from the public.”
“What senior Ole Miss officials were telling everyone the weekend before NSD (National Signing Day) bore no resemblance to what the NCAA had alleged in the NOA just a week earlier,” Mars said. “And it’s clear that Ole Miss’s purpose in misleading Shea and his former teammates was to make sure the truth about the NCAA case didn’t keep him and the other top-rated prospects who were in Oxford for the biggest recruiting event of the 2016 cycle from signing with other schools.”
“After dealing with Ole Miss for over a year,” he said, “I’ve learned to expect their leadership to do and say things that the leadership at other Division I schools would never consider doing and to justify their actions by reminding themselves that ‘We’re Ole Miss.’”
I’m not sure that I understand Ole Miss’s stance here.
The national media has blasted schools and coaches for blocking transfers in the past, but this is new territory.
Ole Miss allowed Patterson to transfer, but they did not have to be involved with this situation. They did not have to even respond to Michigan’s waiver for Patterson.
But they did respond.
Ole Miss objected to Patterson playing immediately, completely denying that they misled their own recruits to get them to sign, even with evidence stacked against them.
Even though they publicly apologized for misleading the national media and alleging Houston Nutt was to blame for Ole Miss’s NCAA issues, and not Hugh Freeze’s staff.
I doubt that Ole Miss actually has much influence in this decision by the NCAA, but it doesn’t show that they have the best interests of their student athletes in mind.
And that’s a shame.