LaQuon Treadwell rebate, come on down? [Bryan Fuller]
Yo. Bolded alter-ego. Get in here.
So here's this:
Multiple well-placed sources have confirmed to the Ole Miss Spirit today that quarterback Shea Patterson has been granted permission by Ole Miss to talk to other programs about potentially transferring. Patterson and Ole Miss executed what is termed a "permission to contact" form on Friday, according to those sources. ...
Well-placed sources also told the Ole Miss Spirit that Michigan is probably the favorite to land Patterson, if he does execute a transfer from Ole Miss.
FWIW, Patterson's release bars him from SEC schools and other teams on Ole Miss's schedule the next two years.
I have questions.
I thought Patterson wasn't immediately eligible?
By the letter of the law he's not. The NCAA automatically grants a free transfer to anyone whose eligibility expires before a post-season ban does, but since Ole Miss just got one extra year only their rising seniors are 100% free and clear to leave. Patterson is going to be a junior.
However, it would make zero sense for Patterson to transfer to Michigan if he did have to sit out a year. If Patterson isn't immediately eligible he'd enter 2019 as a redshirt junior at a school with an entrenched starter who's either in the same class (Peters) or younger (McCaffrey). Therefore we have to assume there's a path to immediate eligibility in the world where Patterson does come to Michigan. This section of the NCAA rulebook that comes immediately before the "if your eligibility is covered by a post-season ban you can transfer free" section might be it:
184.108.40.206 Residence Requirement. The one-year residence requirement for student-athletes may be waived under the following conditions or circumstances: (Revised: 7/24/12) ...
For a student-athlete who transfers to a member institution after loss of eligibility due to a violation of the regulation prohibiting pay for participation in intercollegiate athletics (see Bylaw 12.1.4) or a violation of recruiting regulations (see Bylaw 13.01.1), or for a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I institution after loss of eligibility due to involvement in a violation of the freshman or transfer eligibility requirements for financial aid, practice and competition set forth in Bylaws 14.3.1, 14.5.4 and 14.5.5. The Management Council may waive these requirements only upon a determination of the innocence or inadvertent involvement of the student-athlete in the violation.
I'm not sure what a "loss of eligibility" means in this context. It seems clear that this section is designed to let players leave after specific sorts of NCAA violations, as long as they're innocent of them personally. FWIW, in 2003 all Baylor basketball players were eligible to leave immediately after the Bliss scandal. That's... uh... maybe a sui generis kind of thing, but the NCAA only banned Baylor from the postseason for one year.
In this specific case, Ole Miss's desperate attempt to keep the program together might backfire on them. Safety Deontay Anderson sat this year out and is now petitioning for immediate eligibility—he's even using Houston Nutt's lawyer!—because Ole Miss lied to him about the investigation:
According to Mars, Anderson claims that both Freeze and Bjork indicated that the NCAA investigation would not have a negative impact on the football program and that the bulk of the alleged violations pre-dated Freeze’s arrival, which was proven to be false. Those statements were allegedly made both in a group setting during Anderson’s recruiting visit on Jan. 29-31, 2016, and in private meetings with Freeze, including one instance where his father Michael Anderson implored Freeze to tell the truth about the severity of the allegations and potential penalties.
Ole Miss did not publicly release its first Notice of Allegations until May of that year.
According to Mars, Anderson submitted to the NCAA that he would not have signed with Ole Miss had those statements not been made.
“...in that individual meeting with Coach Freeze on Jan. 31 Mr. Anderson very emphatically asked to just tell the truth about the nature of the allegations and what the implications could be.
“Mrs. Anderson vividly remembers that, and so does Deontay and it underscores how important it was to all these student-athletes and their parents to get a full understanding of what the situation was and it underscores how unconscionable it was for them to be told anything less than the truth.”
If—when?—Anderson gets that waiver that should open the floodgates for the entire 2016 class. If Michigan gets Shea Patterson because Hugh Freeze was lying to everyone and people, including purported journalists, believed him, you will hear the deep rumble of my evil mastermind laugh from sea to shining sea.
Uh... is Patterson going to be eligible? I mean, #1 QB in the class of 2016 decides on Ole Miss?
Patterson wasn't implicated in any of the violations. And Ole Miss hired Patterson's brother Sean immediately after Patterson committed. That, rather than some money to keep mom's lights on, was likely the impetus to go play for Hugh Freeze. These days high-end QB recruits are often from affluent families that can afford the camp-trotting and intensive coaching; the Pattersons were probably focused more on the pot of NFL gold at the end of the rainbow than anything up front.
FWIW, like Devin Bush Sr., Sean is a legitimate football coach. He had analyst/QC roles at LSU and Arizona before his move to Ole Miss, and was a three-year starter at Duquesne prior to that. I'd bet a dollar that if Patterson transfers Sean will come along in a similar non-coaching role.
And you're fine with this?
I think players should be paid. I also think people should follow the rules laid out for them, and advocate to change them if they feel the rules are wrong instead of seeking personal advantage by breaking them under the table.
But what about Peters... and McCaffrey?
The major downside of taking Patterson is what it might do to Michigan's already desperately thin collection of QBs not currently in high school. Brandon Peters had a promising start to his career, and might take badly to Harbaugh importing a guy just when the depth chart opened up for him. While Patterson's a big fish, losing Peters would be a blow. I'm not sure maybe one year of Patterson backed up by McCaffrey is preferable to certainly two and maybe three years of Peters.
Any transfer in would be a delicate situation. Michigan's best approach might be emphasizing that Patterson wants to be a one and done; if that's the case than Peters's situation is basically identical to what it was with Speight around: competing for the job and maybe getting blocked for one more year.
McCaffrey's extra year means Patterson won't be as threatening to him; don't think it would impact him much.
Any other dudes we could pirate away? Especially tackle-shaped dudes? Please tell me there's a tackle-shaped dude.
The big fish is of course Greg Little, the former five star who was PFF's third-highest-graded SEC OT as a true sophomore. Little has given no public indication that he's on his way out, has no connection to Michigan, and doesn't have a brother in coaching that helps explain why on Earth he'd go to Oxford. He is in that 2016 class that might be set free, though, and if dude is thinking about heading to the NFL after 2018... I mean. It could happen! Shut up.
We've received some intel that Michigan is interested in one of Ole Miss's wide receivers. Sophomore AJ Brown, PFF's top-rated SEC WR, led the conference with 75 catches for 1200 yards this year and is also in that 2016 class; junior DaMarkus Lodge caught 41 balls for 700 yards and is definitely free and clear to transfer as a rising senior.
We think it's Brown but aren't clear on that. (Correction: we think it's Van Jefferson.) While Michigan has a lot of upcoming talent at WR they have maybe one established outside WR in Donovan Peoples-Jones and could not turn up their nose at Brown.
Michigan has no other spots of glaring need and doesn't have a lot of room to play with—this recruiting class is going to be smallish—so it's unlikely they go after anyone who doesn't directly address QB, WR, or OT.
Is this actually happening? These things get talked about all the time and they never ever happen.
This one looks like it's actually happening. Patterson and the WR in question are tentatively scheduled to be on campus this weekend. That's much farther than these rumors usually get.