Shea Patterson’s eligibility is the hottest topic surrounding Michigan football’s offseason.
Players transferring as undergraduates normally have to sit out for a season before regaining eligibility, but the NCAA could potentially waive the requirement for players transferring from Ole Miss, as Patterson is, if it rules the players were misled by the school during their recruitment.
According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, attorney Thomas A. Mars expects the NCAA to issue a ruling on the eligibility of Patterson and other Ole Miss players by “late March or early April.”
Per CBS Sports, six players transferring from Ole Miss are planning to use screenshots of texts messages and “electronic interactions” to show that the school misled them while they were recruits about the NCAA investigation into the program, which resulted in a two-year bowl ban and a scholarship reduction handed down this fall.
The players: Patterson, Tre Nixon, Deontay Anderson, Jarrion Street, Jack DeFoor, and Van Jefferson.
CBS Sports obtained screenshots from text messages between then-Ole Miss recruits who were discussing potential sanctions that could be handed down to the school. Patterson wrote this to future teammate Nixon:
“… don’t listen to any of that crap. [The violations] happened before freeze was even here. The worst thing that can happen will be we lose one or two scholarships for next year. Nothing serious …”
That ended up being far from the truth, and Mars aims to prove the coaching staff told recruits the backlash from any NCAA investigation would be minimal, while they knew it could actually be much worse:
In a series of texts that will be forwarded as part of these materials, there is evidence that shows players and their parents believed Freeze as he allegedly minimized the scope of the NCAA investigation concluded last year.
The players are essentially contending, because they were allegedly misled about the broader scope of the Ole Miss investigation, they should be eligible right away at their new schools.