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.