The former Rebel quarterback transferred to Michigan in December. He petitioned the NCAA to waive its usual one-year transfer waiting period this spring on the grounds that his old coaches at Ole Miss lied to him and other players about the degree of trouble the program was in for violating NCAA rules.
Ole Miss refutes those claims, and thus objects to the players’ request to waive the NCAA’s normal transfer rules. Patterson’s attorney, Thomas Mars, said he remains optimistic that the NCAA will allow Patterson to play this fall, but does not know when a final decision might come.
“The fact that [Ole Miss] took the low road was no surprise to me,” Mars said Monday night. “But having read what their lawyers said in their response, I was surprised that Ole Miss would risk losing what little credibility it has left with the NCAA just to object to Shea playing for Michigan this fall.”
Ole Miss declined to comment about its response to the NCAA. Patterson is one of a half-dozen former Ole Miss players who have transferred and requested a waiver to play immediately in 2018.
After a lengthy investigation, the NCAA ruled in December that Ole Miss had shown a lack of institutional control in its football program. Ole Miss previously self-imposed a one-year bowl ban for the 2017 season, but the NCAA added another year to that postseason ban among other penalties. Patterson and others have argued that former head coach Hugh Freeze and others on the Ole Miss staff lied about the scope of the NCAA investigation.
Patterson announced his plans to transfer to Michigan less than two weeks after the additional sanctions were levied against Ole Miss. Michigan submitted paperwork for the waiver request in late February. Patterson has practiced with the Wolverines during the spring as he awaits word on whether or not he’ll be able to compete for playing time in 2018.
The former five-star prospect threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games last year as a sophomore before a leg injury cut his season short.
If cleared to play, Patterson is expected to compete with redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters and redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey — another former five-star recruit — among others. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters in March that former starter Wilton Speight might also return to the team despite declaring his intention to transfer to another school at the end of the 2017 season.
The NCAA responded to Michigan’s waiver request last week with several follow-up questions. Mars said those questions led to his optimism about Patterson’s chances of being on the field in Ann Arbor this coming fall. He said Ole Miss’ response didn’t change his outlook.
“I stand by what I’ve said about the likelihood of the NCAA allowing Shea to be under center this fall,” Mars said. “Anyone’s guess is as good as mine about when the NCAA will make a decision.”
CBS Sports was first to report on Ole Miss’ objection to Patterson’s request.