The NCAA’s ruling that Shea Patterson will be eligible for the Wolverine’s 2018 season comes after weeks of uncertainty over whether or not the NCAA would waive the one year penalty that is usually associated with a transfer. Ole Miss filed an appeal to reverse Patterson’s 2018 eligibility earlier this semester and the NCAA released its decision Friday.
The NCAA Division I Council and Council Standing Committees met April 16-18 before releasing a comprehensive report outlining four criteria which must be met in order to allow a one-time transfer without the waiting period. In summation, the athlete must be in good academic standing, must be on track to fulfill a degree, the transfer must not be opposed by the original university and the athlete must have his or her “well-being” compromised by staying at the university.
Patterson was able to meet all of the criteria by arguing that he was misled about the severity of violations committed by the program under Hugh Freeze’s leadership during his recruiting period. Patterson claimed that his family expressed concern for his well-being because of the turmoil associated with Freeze’s departure from the university.
He was finally able to secure a release waiver from Ross Bjork, who met with University of Michigan officials a couple weeks ago.
Patterson has been working out with Michigan since March, and his coaches commented that the previous litigation hadn’t affected the way that they were handling spring practice. After working with the starting unit for almost a month, Patterson is poised to lead the Wolverines into next season, despite Jim Harbaugh’s notoriously discrete depth charts.
Patterson’s personal success at Michigan will be tied closely to that of his new coach. After 10-win seasons in both of Harbaugh’s first two years in the Big House, Michigan regressed to eight wins in the 2017 season and was handed its second consecutive bowl loss after a poor showing against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
Using its trio of John O’Korn, Brandon Peters and Wilton Speight, Michigan’s offense went for nine TDs and 10 interceptions through the air in the 2017 season. Shea Patterson tallied 17 passing TDs and nine interceptions during his seven games at Ole Miss.
Although no transfers are locked into their starting roles, Michigan should certainly improve from its mediocre 8-5 2017 season after Jim Harbaugh’s poaching run that attracted the likes of seven Ole Miss Rebels.
After promising big things when he took the job, Harbaugh must deliver to meet high expectations, or he, too, will go down in a long list of coaches that have failed to return Michigan to its end-of-year spotlight. His contract expires at the end of the 2021 season, so he’s got time to right the ship. However, another mediocre season might see him landing in the hot seat.
Shea Patterson’s time in Oxford has come to an end, but he will be watched closely by Rebel fans for the next few years as the football world waits to see if the Harbaugh-Patterson duo will restore Michigan to its former glory or crumble altogether. Rebel fans who still have a bad taste in their mouths from Harbaugh’s poaching will certainly be hoping for the latter.