It remains to be seen if Michigan will be able to climb the Big Ten East Division standings this season, but it is unquestionable the Wolverines have a better shot at playing for a national title than Ole Miss does this fall. That is why quarterback Shea Patterson says he decided to transfer to Ann Arbor.
Speaking to the media following the Michigan football program in Paris, France, Patterson opened up about his decision to transfer to Michigan for the first time. A big part of the reason Patterson chose the Wolverines is the opportunity to be able to compete for a championship, which is something that would be impossible with an Ole Miss program currently restricted by NCAA sanctions, including a postseason ban.
“I can live with throwing an interception in the national championship game. Or to get there, in the playoff. It might be hard to live with that — but I don’t know if I could have lived with not being able to to get the chance to compete for one,” Patterson said, according to Mlive.com. “I think watching Michigan all last year, and with the guys we got coming back on defense, I feel like we’ve got a real good shot at doing that.”
Patterson likely solves the biggest question for Michigan coming off the 2017 season now that he has officially been ruled eligible for the upcoming season. Michigan’s defense should be loaded with talent and the Wolverines return the team’s leading rusher in Karan Higdon (not to mention a nice alternative in Chris Evans). Among the biggest issues Michigan had last week was at quarterback, which hindered the rest of the offense. With Patterson likely to win the quarterback job (and yes, Jim Harbaugh is saying there will be an open competition for the job), the offense could receive a nice boost in production and efficiency. The schedule will be tricky with road games at Ohio State and Michigan State and home games against Penn State and Wisconsin (and Nebraska?), but the offense almost has nowhere to go but up.
Michigan has yet to play for the Big Ten championship in the championship game era for the conference, and Ohio State figures to be the favorite out of the East division this season. Then again, the last two years of the College Football Playoff have included a non-division winner in the four-team field (Ohio State in 2016, Alabama last year). So the precedent has been set. If Michigan can get even a marginally improved offense with Patterson, who knows?
Fresh after learning quarterback Shea Patterson will be eligible to play for Michigan this fall, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh shared his thoughts on how to fix the NCAA transfer process moving forward. Simply put, a school accepting a transfer could pay for a scholarship to the school from where that player is coming.
“Say a school like Michigan gets a player from Eastern Michigan or Central Michigan — maybe you’ve got to pay the scholarship back,” Harbaugh opined with media following the football program in Paris, France, according to MLive.com. “Or transfers — maybe you’ve got to pay the scholarship back?”
That is definitely an interesting concept, and in theory, it could incentivize a program losing a player to move quicker in sorting out the transfer process to allow a player to move to a new school. Patterson eventually won out in a drawn-out transfer battle where Ole Miss was initially reluctant to approve a waiver to allow the former Rebels quarterback to be eligible right away this fall.
Under Harbaugh’s proposed transfer plan, Michigan would be on the hook for covering the cost of a scholarship for Ole Miss. This would bring the college game closer to a professional sports level with one team having to pay another for acquiring a player. Harbaugh is aware that this would blur those lines a bit.
“Just so there doesn’t become free agency in college football,” Harbaugh said, per MLive.com. “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.”
It may be just another idea floated by Harbaugh that may not gain much traction, but sharing new ideas is always a good idea if it leads to a conversation about improving the game and can open the door for a better experience for the player.
The Michigan Wolverines may have their new starting quarterback. Shea Patterson, after a drawn-out battle for eligibility this season, will be eligible to play for the Wolverines this fall. According to a report from The Detroit News, Patterson has been granted a transfer waiver from the NCAA after the NCAA, Michigan and Ole Miss came to terms on an agreement to allow for Patterson to become eligible.
From The Detroit News report;
An agreement has been reached among the NCAA, Michigan and Ole Miss, according to the source, and with the completion of some paperwork, Patterson will be eligible to play this fall.
The source requested anonymity because an official announcement has not been made, but that announcement is expected soon.
A Michigan official said Thursday night the athletic department has “no new information on a final decision from the NCAA.”
Ole Miss had been holding up the transfer process for Patterson because the school did not accept Patterson’s reason for wanting to transfer from the Rebels to Michigan. Frustrated with the process, Patterson ripped Ole Miss and former head coach Hugh Freeze. With Ole Miss blocking the transfer for Patterson, the former Ole Miss quarterback had been hanging in limbo with Michigan with no idea if he would be cleared to play this fall for the Wolverines or if he would have to sit out a season due to typical NCAA transfer rules.
Because Ole Miss was placed on probation amid scandal, Patterson sought a transfer after feeling he had been misled and lied to by Freeze and Ole Miss. Now at Michigan, Patterson can immediately begin focusing on competing for the starting job at quarterback for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. Given how much Michigan could stand to improve at the position, Patterson could give the Wolverines a much-needed boost this fall.
A formal announcement on Patterson’s status at Michigan is expected to be made once the legal paperwork is completed between the NCAA, Michigan, and Ole Miss.
If the tension between Ole Miss and Michigan-bound quarterbacks transfer Shea Patterson wasn’t already made clear, a letter from Patterson did not hold back his seething comments about his former university in an explanation to the NCAA hoping to help his cause. Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was just one of Patterson’s targets.
Patterson suggested Freeze was not the man he claimed to be and believes Ole Miss has taken measures designed specifically to prevent certain players from leaving the program via transfer. Patterson is just one player attempting to move on from the program for a new college football home that is battling to gain eligibility for the upcoming fall rather than sit out a full season as per typical NCAA transfer rules.
“It doesn’t seem fair to me that the only thing standing in the way of Coach Freeze making $5 million a year at another school was the discovery that he wasn’t the trustworthy, straight-laced role model that he claimed to be,” Patterson states, as reported by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.
Patterson is transferring to Michigan, but his eligibility status being left up in the air to be determined has left uncertainty about what will happen in Ann Arbor. If Patterson is granted immediate eligibility, he would likely step right into the starting job for the Wolverines. But with Ole Miss holding up the transfer process with regard to his eligibility status, things have gotten dicey for all parties involved.
Patterson’s lawyer also put Ole Miss on full blast in this ongoing battle and war of words. We have not seen the end of this one yet.
One way or another, the playing status of any player choosing to transfer out of Ole Miss will be resolved before the start of the 2018 college football season. Or so we hope. As it stands as of right now, a handful of players who have decided to get out of Oxford are still hanging in eligibility limbo awaiting a decision on whether or not exemptions will be approved to provide instant eligibility for the upcoming football season.
Among the players who have left the Rebels for other opportunities as the Ole Miss program has a dark cloud looming over it, quarterback Shea Patterson is still unsure if he will be suiting up for Michigan this fall or staying stranded on the sideline. According to Patterson’s lawyer to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Patterson is currently in a holding pattern with his waiver request.
The hold-up at this point in time is Ole Miss has not received from the NCAA documents regarding Patterson’s waiver request filed by Michigan to the NCAA. Ole Miss is given 10 days to review the documents to respond to the NCAA, but those documents must come from the NCAA. Because this is the NCAA, however, the fact Michigan sent copies of the waiver request directly to Ole Miss means nothing since the documentation must come directly from the NCAA for security purposes.
The hope is the NCAA does provide the necessary documents to Ole Miss soon, and that Ole Miss will have a response ready to file back as soon as it receives since it has had the documentation on hand already courtesy of Michigan.
Of course, this is assuming Ole Miss does right by Patterson and any other player feeling misled by the university during the recruiting process and grants their approval to proceed with their transfer and waiver for immediate eligibility. There has been no guarantee that will happen.
Michigan opens spring football practices on March 23 and head coach Jim Harbaugh would benefit from knowing if Patterson will be eligible for the fall or not by then. Of course, even if the decision looms into the summer, Patterson will still have plenty of time to work with the Wolverines to prepare to potentially start in Ann Arbor by the start of the season.