ANN ARBOR — When the NCAA asked for information regarding quarterback Shea Patterson appeal for eligibility to play at Michigan this coming season, the Toledo native obliged, authoring a nine-page response described as “scathing” by CBS Sports, which viewed the document.
Shea Patterson could be closer to finding out his fate after transferring from Ole Miss to Michigan this offseason.
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Patterson, who transferred from the University of Mississippi to UM this winter, said, “I’m not going to hold anything back.” It included attachments and multiple key documents that backed up his statements Ole Miss deceived him and his teammates regarding the severity of potential NCAA violations..
Four months after Patterson left Ole Miss, a program under siege because of the violations that include a bowl ban for 2018, a ruling on his waiver request for immediate eligibility feels imminent, according to his Arkansas-based attorney, Tom Mars.
Ole Miss received Patterson’s response Monday — the university previously objected to Patterson’s request for eligibility — setting in motion another 10-business day deadline for a reply. Athletic director Ross Bjork took all 10 business days to issue his first objection. But this time, it took Ole Miss less than 24 hours to respond.
“The University of Mississippi has received the additional information recently prepared and submitted by Shea Patterson’s legal counsel,” Bjork said. “This additional information does not materially differ from the first submission as to the applicable standard and objective factual basis for the waiver request and the related timing of transfer and submission of the waiver request. The University has already addressed the relevant facts and chronology of events and has nothing to add.
“At this point, the University believes the NCAA staff should make a decision on Michigan’s request to waive the year-in-residence requirement applying the relevant bylaws, guidance, and precedential case histories. Once again, the University would not oppose immediate eligibility for Shea Patterson based on legitimate grounds. The University is grateful for Shea Patterson’s contributions to its football program and wishes him success in his future academic and athletic endeavors.”
There’s still a hint of objection in the statement’s language, but it also extends an olive branch to Patterson for the first time. Mars also interprets it as a message of surrender of sorts by Ole Miss.
“It’s about time a transferring student-athlete was able to bring more than a dull knife to a gunfight,” he said.
Patterson has practiced “very well” this spring according to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and would be in the running to be the starting quarterback. In 10 games in two seasons at Ole Miss, Patterson threw for 3,139 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
When Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel was asked about the length of time it’s taken the NCAA to review the case, he did not strike a worried tone. The request was first filed Feb. 26.
“It’s a process,” Manuel said. “We continue to work on it as we need to and monitor where it is, and then respond if we need to respond to additional conversations the NCAA has. Sometimes these things take longer than others. We’re doing the work we need to do.”
The NCAA is considering updating transfer rules to eliminate the requirement in some cases that players sit out a year of compeition when moving between universities at the same level, but Manuel said those discussions were not impacting the Patterson case.
“My understanding is that they’re going off the current rule and trying to understand all of the facts around this particular case, as they have with all other individual cases,” Manuel said.
Mars has issued a lengthy statement highlighting key points that dispute claims made by Ole Miss regarding Patterson’s case, including allegations the school tried to cover up the scope and severity of violations in 2016 when Patterson and other players were being recruited.
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