The University of Mississippi was adamant when it received the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions findings of wrongdoing into its athletic program and subsequent penalties. From Director of Athletics Ross Bjork to the coaches, no one would block the transfer of any of its student-athletes to another school.
Let’s be honest, Mississippi couldn’t block a transfer waiver if it wanted to.
There are three opinions Ole Miss could select from in regards to waiver requests on behalf of Rebel student athletes to the NCAA regular transfer rules:
- It fully supports the request and agrees to why it should be granted
- It has no opinion
- It formerly disagrees with the reasoning behind the request, but supports the transfer under normal NCAA guidelines.
Ole Miss chose the third option in the case of quarterback Shea Patterson and has its reasons, primarily, that the school doesn’t feel it misled Patterson in regards to the severity of the NCAA sanctions which were coming its way, as Patterson contests. Patterson believes the school willfully misled him regarding how serious the sanctions at Ole Miss would be, influencing his commitment to the school under false pretenses, and as such, he wants to be allowed to play immediately at Michigan and not sit out a season.
Seeing that Patterson retained counsel following his departure, one shouldn’t be surprised that Mississippi chose the road it took.
“We would not oppose a waiver of the year in residence requirement based on a legitimate reason for any student-athlete who wants to transfer from Ole Miss,” Bjork is quoted by the Daily Mississippian. “With the waiver in question (Patterson’s), the way it was written, we had no choice, but to respond the way we did.”
Under normal circumstances, the transferring student-athlete would sit out the following year and absorb a year of eligibility and play the second season on campus.
These are no normal circumstances.
The main reason Patterson cited for wanting a change of address is because he felt Freeze misled him during the recruiting process, says his attorney Tom Mars.
According to Mars, Freeze and Ole Miss exhibited “egregious behavior” and misled Patterson about the sanctions and likely severity of the violations regarding recruiting inside the Ole Miss football program.
Mars has said University of Mississippi athletic officials, “were telling them (Patterson and other players at Ole Miss during that period) at the same time — both in person and over the phone,” any potential penalties would not be severe.
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