Herbstreit on UM's Shea Patterson: ‘Let the guy ... play’

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

As Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, a transfer from under-probation Ole Miss, still awaits word from the NCAA whether he will be able to play this fall, there is growing outside noise supporting his immediate eligibility.

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN college football analyst, told The Detroit News during a conference call Tuesday that he does not understand the holdup in clearing Patterson. Several former Ole Miss teammates also transferred from the school that is enduring multiple NCAA sanctions including a two-year bowl ban.

“Let the guy, let him play,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t know what the issue is. I have no idea what we’re waiting on.”

Herbstreit said college football players who transfer from a program under NCAA probation should be able to immediately play for their next school.

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“These guys should be able to leave a program that’s in disarray and be able to transfer out and be able to go and right away be able to join a program and be able to hit the ground running,” Herbstreit said. “I feel bad that he’s still dealing with some of that stuff.”

Last week, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement the school had “no choice” but to file an objection to Michigan’s request to the NCAA for Patterson’s immediate eligibility. Michigan’s compliance department handled the initial request to the NCAA.

Currently, the situation is in limbo and a timeline for an NCAA determination remains unclear.

Thomas Mars, Patterson’s attorney, represented former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt in a defamation suit against the school settled last year. Ole Miss also issued a formal apology last October for spreading lies that NCAA violations took place under Nutt’s watch as head coach.

Patterson transferred to Michigan last December. He, along with his former Ole Miss teammates who also transferred, contend they were lied to by former head coach Huge Freeze, members of the football staff and athletic department personnel. Patterson believes he was misled during the recruiting process in 2016 regarding the breadth of the NCAA violations.

Mars eviscerated the Ole Miss objection.

“If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought Ole Miss hired Pinocchio to write its response to Michigan’s waiver request,” Mars told The News last week.

In Herbstreit’s role as a college football analyst, he sees football across the country. He knows what Patterson, if eligible this fall, can bring to the Michigan offense.

“Talk about a difference maker,” Herbstreit said. “He is a unique player that can throw it, can run. Everybody talks about Jim Harbaugh, what’s going on with Michigan, why aren’t they winning. It’s going to happen.

“Once he’s recruiting the quarterbacks and the receivers and the skill it eventually will be there, and they might be there now on campus. Michigan will be fine. You know he’s got to get a quarterback to get to the next level. Shea would give him that instantly. Hopefully that works out for him.”