Tom Mars Hits Back as Ole Miss Objects to Patterson’s Waiver Request

Shea Patterson
Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

The University of Mississippi has objected to former quarterback Shea Patterson’s request to the NCAA for immediate eligibility at Michigan, drawing a sharp response from Patterson’s lawyer, the Detroit Times reports.

Ole Miss formally objected to Patterson’s description of conditions at the school that led him to transfer to Michigan. Seeking to play for the Wolverines in the upcoming season rather than sit out one year, Patterson has filed for a waiver that would make him immediately eligible to play.

Patterson transferred to the University of Michigan after the NCAA imposed penalties on Ole Miss for various recruiting violations last December. One of the penalties was a bowl ban for the coming season. Ole Miss has appealed the ruling, which sparked an exodus from the football team’s ranks as some players alleged former head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff misled them about the extent of the university’s violations.

After Michigan requested the waiver, the Detroit Times says, Ole Miss “had the option to not respond but chose to file its objection to the NCAA on March 28. Patterson has since supplied answers to questions the NCAA asked regarding issues Ole Miss raised.”

Tom Mars photo
Attorney Tom Mars

“If I didn’t know better, I would have thought Ole Miss hired Pinocchio to write its response to Michigan’s waiver request,” the Detroit Times reported Mars as saying.

“It appears that whoever wrote Ole Miss’ response to Michigan’s waiver request wasn’t aware that Ole Miss publicly apologized to [former UM head coach] Houston Nutt last October for making misleading statements to the sports media about the NCAA case,” added Mars, who represented Nutt in a defamation suit against Ole Miss that was later dropped.

“There was no mention of the public apology in Ole Miss’s response,” Mars continued. “What’s more, the misleading statements to the sports media that Ole Miss publicly apologized for six months ago were the same misleading statements that Shea and a dozen other players and their parents say Ole Miss was telling them at the same time – both in person and over the phone.

“Along the same lines, while asserting it never misled anyone about the NCAA case, Ole Miss made no effort to explain why so many sports journalists openly said that Ole Miss had lied to them once Ole Miss finally let the media see the Notice of Allegations five months after National Signing Day. Nor did Ole Miss offer an explanation for why it unlawfully kept the Notice of Allegations under wraps for five months if everything it was saying to Shea, the other recruits and their parents in late January 2016 was fully consistent with what was alleged in the official charges they withheld from the public.”

Patterson, a 5-star recruit out of Shreveport, La., played half a season for Ole Miss last year before being injured. He announced he was transferring to Michigan just a couple of weeks after the NCAA handed down its ruling against Ole Miss.

After representing Nutt in his lawsuit against Ole Miss, Mars took Patterson and several other Ole Miss players as clients and represented them in their efforts to transfer to other schools.


Staff report

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