Ole Miss's Petulance Shouldn't Matter To The NCAA Comment Count

Brian April 10th, 2018 at 1:05 PM


i don't even own a gun, Ole Miss, let alone the many guns it would take to necessitate an entire rack. what am i gonna do with a gun rack? [Bryan Fuller]

The various single elimination tournaments are over. The spring game is this weekend. And Shea Patterson remains in eligibility limbo a month and a half after Michigan's case for his immediate availability went to the NCAA. Every so often someone asks me if this is a bad sign.

It's not. The delay is entirely because Ole Miss is doing everything they can to continue screwing the 2016 recruits they lied to just before the relevant Signing Day. Michigan gave Ole Miss the whole package before they even sent it to the NCAA; Ole Miss, like the Michigan FOIA department, took every last nanosecond available before filing a reply. Their reply then required a reply:

Michigan’s petition to the NCAA on Patterson’s behalf was sent to Ole Miss, according to standard practice. Ole Miss had the option to not respond but chose to file its objection to the NCAA on March 28. Patterson has since supplied answers to questions the NCAA asked regarding issues Ole Miss raised.

And so we're here, waiting for Shea Patterson and summer. When Shea Patterson is eligible it will stop snowing.

But none of this should impact what looks like a slam dunk. Ole Miss's problem—one of Ole Miss's many problems—is that they didn't just lie to their recruits. They lied to anyone who would listen, planting a series of credulous stories from friendly local reporters. This move backfired spectacularly when Houston Nutt sued Ole Miss, winning a settlement and a public apology for lying about their NCAA troubles. This is literally a thing Ole Miss said in public because of a lawsuit:

“Certain statements made by University employees in January 2016 appear to have contributed to misleading media reports about Coach Nutt,” Ole Miss said in a statement without a specific name attached. “To the extent any such statements harmed Coach Nutt’s reputation, the University apologizes, as this was not the intent.”

In addition to this, Michigan submitted reams of communication between Shea Patterson and various other Ole Miss athletic department employees; five other 2016 recruits seeking immediate eligibility are telling parallel stories to the NCAA.

Ole Miss's NCAA case is over. The NCAA itself has declared that Ole Miss was lying. Hugh Freeze is fired, in part because of Ole Miss's institutional decision to lie about that case. Ole Miss can gain nothing by denying the obvious, and after discovery in the Nutt case it is very, very obvious:

In Mars’ work as counsel for Nutt and, later, the transfers, he revealed Freeze’s misinformation campaign was initiated when Ole Miss received a notice of allegations from the NCAA two years ago. Mars uncovered through text messages, phone logs and interviews, how Freeze and the athletic department launched a plan to mislead media and football recruits — including Patterson — telling them the bulk of the violations involved women’s basketball and track and that Nutt was responsible for issues regarding the football program.

This has been to NCAA court. It has been to real court. Ole Miss has gotten a pie in the face both times. Even the wildly unpredictable NCAA shouldn't be able to screw this up.

The length of time here is more about the unprecedented amount of information that's been submitted here, the likelihood that the NCAA is regarding these six appeals as one larger decision, and Ole Miss's final middle finger to college football before once again descending into irrelevance. If Patterson doesn't get a waiver nobody can ever get a waiver.



April 10th, 2018 at 3:20 PM ^

Miles Bridges gets cleared of all wrongdoing with a phone call

Mike Krzewsddfvvzsauuhski’s Dog vouched for him and that was good enough for the NCAA......

Starting to wonder if there is something to this Anti-Michigan bias at the NCAA...


April 10th, 2018 at 1:48 PM ^

the coaches this year will vote to change the transfer rule requiring sitting out one season, why would the NCAA want to stiff these kids?

Besides, even if elegible, who's to say he will be the starter come this season. I think too much time is being spent on this issue.


April 10th, 2018 at 6:03 PM ^

The same people ended Mitch McGary's career for smoking pot while injured one week before the rule changed. They gave him the maximum possible sentence and denied his appeal several months after the maximum sentence had been scaled back for being barbaric and stupid.


April 10th, 2018 at 1:16 PM ^

I don't think there was ever any serious question about whether Freeze and other Ole Miss people lied to recruits. That's the easy part. But typically, a person who claims to have been deceived needs to show they "reasonably relied" on the false statement(s). If Ole Miss lied to Patterson, but he had other information from which he knew or should have known Ole Miss was full of shit, then that could prevent his waiver from being approved. That's why I think those text messages he sent other recruits are so important--they tend to show that Patterson believed what Ole Miss was telling him. Assuming that belief was reasonable (which it may or may not have been), I think those texts win the case.

814 East U

April 10th, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

I wonder if Patterson having a brother on the Ole Miss staff helps/hurts his claim. I guess you could argue his brother should have known the truth (that football was in trouble) or that his brother lied to him so he definitely relied on bad information. 


April 10th, 2018 at 1:28 PM ^

Yeah, that's a good question. But the dynamic here is kind of unusual. The NCAA may care about the reasonable reliance piece, but that doesn't do Ole Miss any good. Ole Miss is claiming they never lied to Patterson or the other recruits--well that's obviously bunk. But it wouldn't help Ole Miss to shift their argument to the much more plausible, "yeah, we lied--but you knew we was cheatin' and signed with us anyway." So if the brother did indeed warn Shea then M wouldn't have any incentive to admit that evidence and Ole Miss wouldn't either. But I wouldn't be surprised if Freeze lied to the brother too anyway.


April 10th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

Not really.  For one thing, that assumes Patterson would not have enrolled at Ole Miss had he known the truth about the NCAA investigation.  Certainly that's what he says now.  But is that true?  I think that's a fair question.

Second, even if Patterson actually believed the Ole Miss people, that doesn't necessarily mean his belief was reasonable.  Certainly there was plenty of smoke around Ole Miss providing improper benefits before the NCAA took action.  He had ample opportunity to investigate and evaulate the program before committing to it.  It certainly seems possible that Patterson came across information in that process from which he should have known what he was signing up for.


April 10th, 2018 at 6:57 PM ^

I think it is reasonable to believe that a 5 star QB with offers from almost every big school wouldn't go somewhere that was about to get a 2 year post season ban on top of other punishments.

Elite players want a post season.


April 11th, 2018 at 7:56 AM ^

Of course it's reasonable to think that, and surely there are many elite prospects who would have decided against Ole Miss for that reason.  But that is not necessarily true.  So the question is what Patterson would have done.  Would it have made a difference to him specifically?

Patterson's says it would have.  But if Patterson had information before signing with Ole Miss that suggested major sanctions (such as a post-season ban) were likely and he still enrolled there anyway, that would suggest the opposite.  Or if he had information suggesting that the Ole Miss coaches were lying to him and he didn't take further steps to learn the truth about the NCAA allegations before signing with Ole Miss, that could also undermine his case.  And I think it's possible that evidence of this nature could well exist, because Ole Miss was widely suspected of cheating for years before the NCAA allegations came down, becauase the NCAA allegations (and possible punishments) were public documents Patterson would have had access to, because Patterson was a high-resource recruit with plenty of people he could have sought advice from, and because Patterson had personal interactions and visits with Ole Miss and would have been in a position to potentially observe additional things not reported in the media.

I hope Patterson gets his waiver and I don't personally have any information suggesting he won't.  I'm just pushing back against this idea that "we know Ole Miss lied, therefore this case shoudld be a slam dunk."  Everyone knows Ole Miss lied.  But there's more to it than that.


April 10th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

...is the potential "can of worms" the NCAA is considering here. Subsequent claims of having been "misled" could cause other players down the road to submit transfer waiver requests even for the most specious of reasons. The NCAA may be weighing that as a possible, if not probable, outcome in the event they grant these waivers.

For instance, "Coach X said during my recruitment that I would play on offense, and they moved me to defense. I was misled and want to transfer and become immediately eligible to play offense somewhere else."   

Of course, I think players shouldn't be required to sit out a year anyway. It's a stupid rule as far as I can tell and only marginally protects institutions while greatly harming players, IMHO.

Time will tell... C'mon NCAA. Do the right thing and grant the waivers. 


April 10th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

but probably a stretch for a kid to say he wasn't given a position promised to him. Compared to a program that was under investigation and the coaches flat out lied about what was going on and screwing these kids a chance to play in post season and possibly even a good team when all sanctions were leveled against them.

Your talking about basically breaking a law/rule compared to telling a kid he will be a TE and then turn him into an OT because he out grew the position.


April 10th, 2018 at 3:29 PM ^

But this is exactly how precedents work.  Ole Miss lies to recruits to get them to sign.  Those recruits later argue they should be given a waiver to transfer without sitting a year because they were decieved.  If the NCAA grants the request on this basis, now there is precedent saying that if an institution secures a player's committment through deceptive means, then the player can transfer elsewhere without sitting a year.  Then somebody comes along and says "I was deceived too, I should get to transfer without sitting."  The subject matter of the deception in the second case may be different ("they said I could play QB, now they want me at safety"), but that's arguably irrelevant--the principle is the same (i.e., had they told me the truth about the thing I cared about, I never would have signed there).   


April 10th, 2018 at 4:33 PM ^

But what you propose is exactly the reason why the procedures for a waiver exist:  if a coach promises a kid that he will play quarterback, nd then involuntarily transfers him to another position, the kid should be able to transfer without sitting out.  That's why the procedure exists in the first place.

Now, coaches don't generally make such promises (they tell the recruit he can legitimately try out for a position), but, if they foolishly do, then the player deserves to be able to go somewhere else.


April 11th, 2018 at 10:04 AM ^

Well, one limitation is that the promise probably needs to have been made in bad faith.  If the coach promised the recruit he could play QB because the coach genuinely thought he'd be a QB, then that's not really bad faith.  It would need to be more of an Ole Miss situation where the coach is actually lying--i.e., he knows he's going to put the recruit on defense, but just tells him he'll play QB to get the committment.

I don't really have an opinion either way.  But I can see this turning into a real mess.

Let's take the situation where the player claims the coach promised him that he could play QB, and that's why he committed. Which of the following statements would you consider a promise:

  • "Come to Fake State. You'll be our quarterback and we'll dominate the league! You're a baller!!"
  • "You're the kind of dynamic player we need at Fake State.  Put in the work and I guarantee you'll be our starting quarterback by the start of your sophomore year--maybe sooner."
  • "You're the top QB prospect on our board.  We are offering you at QB and look forward to seeing you run our offense for the next four years."  
  • "I know lots of other schools have offered you at safety.  We think you're a quarterback.  So if you want to play quarterback, come to Fake State."
  • "If you come to Fake State, you will be a quarterback.  I promise we won't try and move you to some other position."

I think most people would agree that the first statement is not a promise and the last one is a promise.  But the middle three, I think, are all arguable.  So where do you draw the line?

And then, of course, often the alleged promises would be oral statements from years earlier--so the people involved may disagree on the exact wording, there will be differences in context and background circumstances that bear on interpretation, and so forth.

Transfers are pretty common.  Nobody likes to sit out.  So wouldn't a player usually have an incentive to seek this type of waiver if the staff at his initial institution made any kind of statement that could be construed as a promise?  That could be pretty disruptive if coaches are constantly having to respond to these kinds of claims from transferring players--especially when an element of this is proving the coach made these promises in bad faith and thus the coach's reputation is really on the line.  




April 11th, 2018 at 7:08 AM ^

We're not talking about a particularly bright bunch to begin with, are we?

The endgame might be, Patterson is denied (but all the others are granted because NCAA), Mars sues, NCAA goes to court, a bunch of papers shuffle back and forth, NCAA settles out of court, and Patterson is finally cleared to play on December 1.

And yes, I believe they really would be that mind-blowingly crazy and petty.  I offer as evidence. . . the NCAA.


April 10th, 2018 at 1:17 PM ^

This post uses sound logic and evidence to make a clear, ironclad case in favor of Shea Patterson to be immediately eligible. It makes perfect sense.

So, how long before the NCAA denies it?


April 10th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

Why is anyone surprised by Ole Miss's response?   Dont they almost HAVE to respond this way if they want to have any sort of defense against potential NCAA sanctions?  Did we honestly think it was going to go like this?

Patterson: "They lied to me.  I should be immediately eligible for transfer."

Michigan: "What he said"

Ole Miss: "Ok you got us.  We lied to him.  Make him eligible immediately."

NCAA: "Eligibility granted"

Common.  Anybody who'd watched the NCAA for five minutes HAS to know it's going to go like this instead:

Patterson: "They lied to me.  I should be immediately eligible for transfer.:

Michigan: "Yup, yup."

Ole Miss: "No we didnt.  Honest - we really didnt."

NCAA: "Oh crap.  Now what do we do?"

They took the only path they had.  Why we couldnt see that is beyond me.



April 10th, 2018 at 1:25 PM ^

People were under the assumption that Ole Miss would be thankful for getting off with a relative slap on the wrist, and would thus gladly comply with the waiver requests in order to get an easy piece of good PR. I don’t recall people expecting Ole Miss to vehemently appeal the NCAA verdict several months ago when Shea originally transferred.


April 10th, 2018 at 1:31 PM ^

My stance from the very beginning was that if I were "Ole Miss", that I wouldn't contest any of the tranfers.

I'm not saying they would admit any wrong doing in the process. Just that they should want this part of the saga to go away as quietly as possible.

They have nothing to gain by contesting this. Those players are gone and never coming back.

Wolverine In Iowa 68

April 10th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

On the one hand, Nick Saban doesn't like Ole Miss, because Ole Miss beat him a couple of times and are a direct competitor in recruiting, so Ole Miss must be punished for being bad.


BUT....on the OTHER hand, punishing Ole Miss in this matter will help Michigan/Jim Harbaugh, and NCAA overlords (under Nick Saban's directions) have spent the last few years writing Anti-Harbaugh rules, so Harbaugh must be stopped at all cost.


This, literally, is the irresistable force and the immovable object.


The NCAA is trying to find out who Saban hates worse.


April 10th, 2018 at 2:12 PM ^

mGrowOld. Ole Miss was going to fight it and no one should be surprised. It doesn't mean he's not going to be granted eligibility it just means the NCAA has to look a little closer and cross all the T's and dot all the i's before it happens.

Ole Miss right now is basically the band on the titantic still playing music like nothing really happened, even though the program hit an iceberg.


April 10th, 2018 at 1:24 PM ^

"Even the wildly unpredictable NCAA shouldn't be able to screw this up."


I never ever doubt the ability of the NCAA to screw something up. The next time they get something right will be their first. 




April 10th, 2018 at 1:24 PM ^

I have a question.

In a normal court filing, there are penalties for filing - well bullshit with the courts.

As this Ole Miss response seems to forget the fact they have already been convicted in this matter (twice) - and they are trotting out older arguments that have already been disawoved  - even by Ole Miss - isn't there some NCAA rule about this?

Can't the NCAA increase their penalties for filing frivolous bullshit in official paperwork?



April 10th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^

The block was clean. JT was short. Shea should have been eligible. ... is a t-shirt I don’t hope to see next year but if my Michigan fandom has taught me anything over the last 10 years...it is if you can be song punched, you will be.