You guys know my position on player transfers — the current rules are too restrictive and cater to coaches’ sense of control — but I’ve got to tell you after watching the farce of Shea Patterson’s transfer from Ole Miss to Michigan, there’s a part of me ready to declare a pox on all their houses.
Remember, this all started with Patterson and his lawyer, who has an enormous hard-on for Ole Miss, screaming about how the school needed to man up and let Patterson transfer because everyone lied to him. And when I say screaming, I mean finding receptive idiots in the national media to share their message of perfidy.
Shockingly, Ole Miss had no wish to accommodate the duo’s desire/demand that it admit to a pattern of deception, while not really having a dog in the hunt for where the kid plays this season. And why should it, anyway? No matter what, he’s not suiting up in Oxford.
So, there’s one school that wants a quarterback and another which just wants the quarterback and his legal entourage to go away. The solution seems simple enough that even two athletic directors could figure it out.
The NCAA decided Friday to waive in Patterson’s case its normal rule that requires non-graduated transfers to sit out a year before returning to the playing field. Michigan and Ole Miss said in an announcement Friday that the two athletic departments worked together during the past week to create a waiver request that they both agreed was accurate and one that took advantage of recently adapted NCAA rules to allow Patterson to get on the field this fall…
The new waiver, which used an NCAA amendment passed earlier this month that takes a player’s academic standing into account when applying to play immediately, put to rest Ole Miss’ previous objections to Patterson’s reasons for transferring.
“Both schools are ready to move forward and appreciate the assistance of the NCAA staff in bringing this matter to a resolution,” the two athletic departments said in a joint statement. “While the process has been complex at times, the solution was simple — two flagship universities and the NCAA staff working together with a focus on student-athlete well-being.”
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said he reached out to Michigan officials last week to try to work out a resolution regarding Patterson’s eligibility.
“Our biggest thing was we wanted to work with Michigan directly,” Bjork said. “We were able to do that and reach a resolution. We’ve admitted all along that our program has gone through some challenges. While Shea was here, we had a coaching change in July. If that impacted his well-being and he didn’t want to be here, we wish him the best and didn’t want to stand in the way of it.”
In other words, quit letting the lawyer try to score points and find a work-around that meets the schools’ goals. Success! Meanwhile, with the mission accomplished, Patterson admits the obvious.
In this case, Michigan benefitted from Patterson deciding that he did not want to play at his school (University of Mississippi) anymore because of football program probation violations. Ole Miss, in the wake of an NCAA investigation into booster-involved recruiting, faces a post-season bowl ban for a second straight in 2018, preventing it from being eligible for a spot in the playoff.
And Patterson, along with not wanting to sit out a year, admitted on Saturday that played into his decision to leave Ole Miss.
“If a university’s football program situation changes drastically, kind of like mine did with the bowl ban and two different coaching staffs, that’s obviously not the situation that I wanted to be in originally,” Patterson said.
“Players should get an opportunity leave that situation. That wasn’t what they thought they were getting themselves into.”
Well, yeah. Might have been better to have said so from the beginning, son.
Now that the hay is in the barn, Jim Harbaugh has some thoughts about transfers, and they’re about what you’d might expect coming from a football head coach.
Now, in the wake of long, drawn-out process with the NCAA over quarterback Shea Patterson’s eligibility in 2018, the Michigan football coach has some ideas to help fix the college-football transfer debate.
“There’s got to be something,” Harbaugh said Saturday during a football clinic in Paris. “Something. Maybe the school pays back the other school? Ya know?
“Say a school like Michigan gets a player from Eastern Michigan or Central Michigan — maybe you’ve got to pay the scholarship back? Or transfers — maybe you’ve got to pay the scholarship back?”
… To be clear here, Harbaugh isn’t advocating for a change in policy. Just extra burden on the team accepting a transfer from another school.
“Just so there doesn’t become free agency in college football,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the thing I would worry about. But I think scholarships should count as two, or pay back the other school for the money that they have invested, potentially.”
Free agency for players! Heaven forbid.
In December, though, Harbaugh’s actions somewhat contradicted his words. Despite college football free agency being a concern and players fighting through the adversity being his desire, reports surfaced shortly after Patterson, safety Deontay Anderson and other players were granted permission to transfer that a Michigan plane landed in Oxford, Miss., and that the fourth-year coach of the Wolverines took some players to IHOP.
Hypocrites gonna hypocrite.
Harbaugh’s suggestion, of course, if it came into being, would only serve to benefit the wealthy, which would be more than willing to hand out a little money to smooth the way to boosting their rosters. Also, of course, none of the funding would wind up in the players’ pockets. That’s got all the makings of a win-win for big Jim, who, by the way, is making a cool $9 million a year.
Sounds like he and Patterson are made for each other.