Ole Miss Football: NCAA Should Do The Right Thing For Transfer Players

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 10: Hugh Freeze, head coach of the Mississippi Rebels leads his team on the field before a game against the Wofford Terriers on September 10, 2016 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Mississippi defeated Wofford 38-13. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 10: Hugh Freeze, head coach of the Mississippi Rebels leads his team on the field before a game against the Wofford Terriers on September 10, 2016 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Mississippi defeated Wofford 38-13. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images) /

Ole Miss football was back in the news this week with the matter of 2017 transfer players and their requests for immediate eligibility.

There’s nothing quite like having Ole Miss football dragged thru the mud just days away from signing day. However, by now most Ole Miss fans should have gotten beyond negative media. Especially when it’s completely out of the University of Mississippi’s hands. Yet we are finding ourselves dealing with it once again.

Of course, Ole Miss football had been getting past the initial shock of the COI ruling. By the time we had received the sanctions we had already finished a 6-6 season under then interim head coach Matt Luke. We had also had the final win of the season over in-state rival and No.14 ranked Miss State in the Egg Bowl.

As you know, Matt Luke became head coach and has been doing a tremendous job recruiting. Despite a few transfers and despite sanctions, of which Ole Miss admin is in the appeal process, there has been a minimal impact on recruiting. We’ve had a lot to be excited about lately. Given the situation things could really be much much worse.

So Here We Go

Ole Miss Rebels Football
Ole Miss Rebels Football /

Ole Miss Rebels Football

Enter CBS college football contributor Dennis Dodd. First, Dodd is a great sports journalist despite Ole Miss being on the receiving end of his scathing article just before NSD. I really don’t blame him for doing it. Dodd is in the business to bring the latest news in sports. Sadly this one which affects the Ole Miss football program and other schools now.

In truth, there really were some very shady recruiting tactics being used by former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. Ole Miss then had a head coach who was willing to progress at all costs. There are screenshots, smh. Of course, as one fan said on social media, “I’m sure every other coach in the nation is honest enough to tell recruits that he only plans on winning 7 or 8 games.” He makes a good point.

Naturally, as a fan of Ole Miss I’m really not proud of what we have become in all of this. Thanks to very good sports writers like Dennis Dodd we can’t easily forget any of it either.

The real stinger in all of this is the wheels fell off in Oxford thanks to media members with an agenda against Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze. Dodd isn’t doing this because he has a motive other than great sports journalism. The article he wrote, though scathing, is very well written and sheds a lot more light on a very touchy subject. Now on to the main subject.

Immediate Eligibility For Transfers

As a result of the NCAA investigation and sanctions, there were Ole Miss players from the 2017 team to transfer. Of course, former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson’s exodus from Oxford to Ann Arbor drew much attention. Patterson to Michigan was the first of what wound up being six players. Also transferring were Van Jefferson, Tre’ Nixon, Deontay Anderson, Jack DeFoor and Jarrion Street.

Naturally, this didn’t come as much of a surprise to many of us who have followed the Ole Miss program closely. There were already rumors of Patterson transferring even before the 2017 season even began. There is also word from sources there were players already being contacted by other schools prior to the 2017 season. The way the season progressed and with sanctions limiting postseason play for 2018 the transfers happened.

Regardless of your position on the subject, the players had every right to transfer. Under the circumstances affecting each individual player they may have indeed made the best choice for both themselves and for Ole Miss. I know Rebel nation is split on the players involved. Many Ole Miss fans feel as though there was a betrayal by Patterson and the other players. Honestly, that really shouldn’t be the case at all.

Unfortunately there will be transfers in college football. Even in good seasons there may be a transfer or two. Of course, under the circumstances surrounding the Ole Miss football program the flood gates opened. We shouldn’t blame the players for the choices they make or the people who influence their decisions.

Evidence Supports Players

Another sore subject within this entire situation is the main character attorney Thomas Mars. There is no doubt he has centered himself against Ole Miss. As you may recall, Mars was also Houston Nutt’s attorney in his recent case against the university. As much as we may dislike Mars and his tactics, he actually is a good attorney and obviously has a very strong case for these players.

In the Dodd article there are screenshots of text and direct messages between former head coach Hugh Freeze and Patterson. From the conversations contained within we can see there was indeed an element of deception involved. Of course, I’m not here to pass judgment on Hugh Freeze whether he knowingly deceived the players or not. Regardless, the messages are pretty damning.

Next: Nuke The NCAA!

We know there is more to the story which will come out as this case progresses. Of course, based on what we’ve seen so far there is sufficient cause for the NCAA to rule in favor of these players. However, we have no clue what the NCAA will do. Transfers have always been a very touchy subject for schools, players and the NCAA. Under NCAA rules it is normal for players to sit out an academic season if they transfer.

However, players can petition the NCAA to play immediately and normally do. Based on certain circumstances the NCAA may allow the players immediate eligibility. Under these circumstances it is highly likely we’ll be seeing these players active in 2018. For Ole Miss football and these players it would be best for the NCAA to do the right thing and allow these players to play immediately. Most Ole Miss fans want to see the end of it sooner rather than later. Hotty Toddy!