Ole Miss sent its objection to the NCAA over the eligibility of Shea Patterson at Michigan for this season. What now?
Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
It was going to be good, but Ole Miss formally objected to the NCAA about the last part, and now it might not be eligible for reading until the start of the 2019 college football season.
“You know, at least a few of those quitters had the guts to come in here and tell me they were haulin’ ass. When they did, we gave those boys a bus ticket, a ride down to the station, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the trip.”
So basically, former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson is transferring to Michigan and he wants to be able to play this season. He can be a part of the Wolverines – that’s not a problem – but the NCAA has to decide whether or not it really is kosher for him to be eligible right away, or if he has to wait a year like any normal transfer.
Once the NCAA handed down its sanctions against the Ole Miss football program, according to Dennis Dodd, a few of the players – including Patterson – claimed they were misled by former head man Hugh Freeze about the seriousness of the investigation during the recruiting period, and wanted to transfer and be able to play right away.
And now, Ole Miss is questioning whether or not the allegations against Freeze are being made out to be more than they actually were, and sent in its formal objection to the NCAA after Michigan requested that Patterson be eligible for this season.
So it’s become a he said/program said situation, and it could make a big, big difference for Michigan football this season, and for the future of a few solid quarterbacks.
And no one looks good, least of all the NCAA for dragging its feet before ruling on such a high-profile situation.
Let’s say Patterson and the other transfers are overblowing what happened. Okay, whatever – Ole Miss should take the Steve Spurrier attitude that if a kid doesn’t want to be a part of the program, then shake his hand and let him go and do what’s in his best interest.
But Ole Miss has to fight this – at least a little bit. What’s done is done and the scandal probably won’t get any worse, but it’s not a good look across the board if it seems like Freeze misled his recruits.
Let’s say Patterson really was sold a bill of goods and wouldn’t have gone to Ole Miss had he known the full extent of the issues. There are a few problems here.
First, there’s no such thing as a coach who doesn’t do a sales job of some sort on recruits.
There are a whole lot of other players out there who’d love to transfer and play right away under the “I wasn’t told the whole truth during the recruiting process” defense. The NCAA does have to step lightly in how it rules, and it can’t be sloppy. Otherwise, welcome to your Get Out Of Program Free card.
Second – and I don’t actually agree with this line of thinking – what about the whole being a student-athlete thing? Isn’t a player supposed to commit to a school just as much as he is to a team or a coach?
Okay, scratch that, but it’s not like Patterson was denied an education at Ole Miss after the NCAA hammer dropped, and he’s currently able to go to Michigan and learn things.
And that leads to the third issue here. What did Patterson actually miss out on because of the sanctions against Ole Miss?
Yeah, the Rebels are on probation and lost the head coach who recruited Patterson.
What, Patterson was going to win a national title at Ole Miss? An SEC championship? Sure, that’s the dream, and that’s why everyone wants to play in the SEC, but c’mon … Ole Miss players miss out on the chance to go bowling and a swag bag full of stuff. That’s about it.
They still get to play football for the Rebels, and they still get to be on TV, and they still get a chance – if it’s their realistic dream – to work their way into becoming NFL prospects.
No matter how it all went down with Freeze in the recruiting process, really, why should Patterson get to be eligible right now at another school, as opposed to, say, players who committed to Arizona to play for Rich Rodriguez before his scandal kicked in?
Don’t get me wrong; 99.4% of the time I’m all in for the players and their rights. I’m for overhauling the transfer rules and system, and I hope the NCAA just says, “fine, whatever … go play” to Patterson and Michigan for this year.
But within the framework of the current – albeit archaic and mostly dopey – NCAA rules, I do get it,
Ole Miss looks a bit petty with this objection, but the NCAA doesn’t have to care. It’s not like the Rebel football program can swing this one way or another.
So, NCAA, while I’m all cool with him playing right away, being who you are, here’s what you should do.
Make Patterson ineligible for this season, but don’t let that count against his overall eligibility – he still gets two more years, at least, starting in 2019.
Michigan wins, because it might get a whole extra year of Patterson, if he really is that good. Brandon Peters can develop further as the possible starter, and/or Dylan McCaffrey can get his shot, and/or Wilton Speight can choose to come back after deciding to use his grad transfer to explore other opportunities.
Patterson started as a true freshman, so if all goes well, this can be treated like a redshirt season. He can spend a year learning the system, make sure his injured knee is 100%, and then be ready to rock next year. Apples and oranges situations, but pull a Will Grier at West Virginia
Or, the NCAA can just let the kid play, Ole Miss can shake its fist at the NCAA and save a little face, and everything will be just fine.