Marcus Spears has strong advice for Ole Miss when it comes to the school’s objection to Shea Patterson’s waiver appeal: Let the quarterback play for Michigan this year.
Speaking to SEC Country, the SEC Network analyst was critical of Ole Miss’ formal objection of Patterson’s attempt to become eligible to play for the Wolverines in the fall. Patterson, who had 3,139 yards passing with 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in two seasons for the Rebels, transferred to Michigan in December after sanctions were announced for Ole Miss related to issues stemming from the Hugh Freeze era.
Patterson claims that Freeze misled him during the recruiting process regarding the NCAA’s probe into the program. Through its objection, Ole Miss argues that Patterson’s account isn’t accurate and that the player should have to sit out a season because of NCAA transfer rules.
“Let the kid go,” Spears told SEC Country. “Let him go. I don’t think any negative attention toward Ole Miss is positive for their university. I don’t know what you gain by not letting Shea Patterson just go ahead and move on with his career. Obviously, we always have these transfer questions. And a lot of people wonder if it’s a good thing for college football. I think certain situations dictate that. I think in Ole Miss’ situation, it dictates that you let players go do their thing.
“I mean, obviously the quarterback position is so polarizing. But Van Jefferson is over there at Florida right now, the wide receiver, and he’s competing in spring and getting ready for a season. So I just don’t think it’s good for Ole Miss to have this type of attention right now.
“I think they can benefit mightily from just going on about Ole Miss’ business and letting the chips for Shea fall where they may, because the longer you prolong this situation, the more negative attention you’re going to get. And right now for that program, I don’t think it’s positive.”
Frankly, it’s petty for school officials to object to Patterson’s attempt to appear on the field in 2018. Patterson’s lawyer, Thomas Mars, has criticized Ole Miss for its handling of the player’s waiver appeal. Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, for his part, has said the school had “no choice” but to object to the waiver appeal because of “the way it was written.”
Still, what does Ole Miss gain from producing a headline like this other than bad publicity?
Instead, school officials should concern themselves with trying to move on from a difficult, prolonged NCAA investigation. There’s little upside for Ole Miss in this public scuffle with Patterson and his desire to play this year.