It has been a long and winding road for Michigan transfer quarterback Shea Patterson on his journey seeking eligibility for the 2018.
The Ole Miss athletic department and Athletic Director Ross Bjork made things more difficult for Patterson recently, when they formally objected to his waiver request, stating it isn’t legitimate.
“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 said in a statement earlier this week.
Maize n Brew spoke with Patterson’s lawyer, Thomas Mars, and he, of course, strongly disagrees with the Ole Miss objection.
“For Ole Miss to assert now that these statements were not false or misleading given the reaction of the sports media across the board, given that they have no explanation for why they hid the notice of allegations from the public for five months in a manner that was found to be illegal,” Mars said. “And considering the fact that they already admitted publicly in October that they made statements that were misleading to the sports media, it does raise the obvious question why would they now have their lawyers tell the NCAA that they apologized for something in October they really didn’t do?
“Why would Ross Bjork say they didn’t make any false and misleading statements?”
Mars opinion is Bjork was leading the public relations campaign in 2016 shortly before National Signing Day that misled recruits such as Patterson. This “misinformation” campaign had recruits believing that the football program wouldn’t be impacted with NCAA violations. This turned out to be far from the truth, and Ole Miss was ultimately hit hard with infractions and sanctions that damaged their program to a high degree.
Mars is helping five other Ole Miss transfer players craft their waiver requests, and he believes the same pattern of behavior will occur from Bjork and Ole Miss. He thinks the university will object to each and every waiver request in the same manner they objected to Patterson’s despite evidence supporting the waiver request, and none supporting the Ole Miss objection.
“It’s madness that they think they can stop this tsunami of evidence on top of the mountain of evidence that already exists,” Mars said. “But knowing these guys as I’ve come to know them, I predict they’ll stick their head in the fan-blade five more times.”
What Mars has been trying to communicate with Ole Miss on the back-channel is that he believes it’s never too late to do the right thing. He would like to see Bjork and athletic department withdraw their objection to Patterson’s waiver request.
“I still hope that Ross on his own or with the help of some of his advisors will see the wisdom and correctness of saying ‘look, we thought we made the right decision objecting to Shea’s waiver but upon further consideration and having listened to the reaction and opinions of people all over the country including prominent sports journalists we’ve come to realize that wasn’t the right decision and decided to withdraw our objections,’” he said.
“With the exception of the Ole Miss fans who have been drinking too much of the Ole Miss kool-aid, I think that the rest of the college sports community would give Ross a standing ovation if he did that,” Mars said.
Mars did give an update on the timeline for Patterson’s waiver request decision from the NCAA, and Michigan fans won’t be pleased.
“Some information came to my attention (on Friday) that gives me less confidence in my forecast that there will be a decision announced next week or the following week,” Mars said.
Although Patterson will have to wait longer than he ever fathomed, Mars said he isn’t concerned with the delay, as it is just an administrative matter and his confidence is still at an all-time high that Patterson will be playing football on Saturday’s in 2018.
We’ll see how much longer it take for a Patterson decision, and we’ll see if Mars gets what he wants from Ole Miss and Ross Bjork, a withdrawal of their objection. Don’t hold your breath for either to happen anytime soon though.