College Free Agency: Is This Good??

Shea Patterson
37907506721_59edeb400f_o” by MGoBlog is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

First off, happy Stars Wars Day, and may the fourth be with each and every one of you. Last week saw something happen that is a little bit disturbing. Shea Patterson, the five-star Quarterback from Mississippi, was granted immediate eligibility to play at Michigan after transferring from Ole Miss. This is a bad precedent that the NCAA is setting, they have now opened Pandora’s box. Every disgruntled student-athlete that is unhappy with his situation will now transfer and petition the NCAA to be able to play immediately.

One could argue that this situation may have been warranted immediate eligibility. Since Patterson signed, the school has been put on an extra year bowl ban and reduced scholarships over a four year period. In Patterson’s case, it took the NCAA FIVE years to hand down this ruling, that’s right FIVE!! Patterson wasn’t even being recruited when these violations took place.  Though the counter-argument would be that he signed with a school and a coach while they were under investigation. Patterson was also recruited by the same staff that was implicated, so who really knows how “clean” his recruitment to Mississippi was.

My take on the whole transfer issue is this: I believe that schools should not be allowed to limit where you want to transfer, that is ludicrous that in 2018 they are allowed to do this. I also believe that if a coach leaves for another position, then the athlete should be allowed to transfer and play right away. Like it or not, a high percentage of athletes sign with colleges because of the relationship they have built with the coaches, and if the head coach leaves that relationship is no longer there. If a student-athlete commits to a school and the head coach:

a) gets fired

b) retires


c) commits to school currently under investigation.

These three things can be reasonably assumed in the recruiting process. The only one that could be argued is if a coach up and retired and no one saw it coming. In the case of Patterson, Ole Miss was under investigation when he signed so, in my opinion, he should not have been immediately eligible after the transfer.

The NCAA transfer rules are stacked against the players, but all of that is about to change. I was reading a proposed rule change that would give the student-athletes the ability to compete for 5 years and have six years to do that. That would be a step in the right direction to make it more player friendly than it has been, at least the athletes when they do transfer will not lose a year of eligibility as they do now.

On a side note, I am thrilled that Harbaugh now has a QB and they may be able to score more than 10 points a game.  Harbaugh was touted as the quarterback whisperer, but that hasn’t been the case since he got to Michigan. Harbaugh came to Michigan as the savior and the man to turn around the program, but has gone 1-5 against the likes of Michigan State and Ohio State. Now it will be interesting to see what he can do with a highly touted QB, his first since arriving in Ann Arbor.


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