Shea Patterson absolutely hammered Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze in his filing to the NCAA as he requests immediate eligibility for his transfer to Michigan. While Patterson makes several great points, it’s worth noting that he should have known who he was getting into bed with when he agreed to attend Ole Miss.
Among other things Patterson said about the Ole Miss program under Freeze was the following:
"“It doesn’t seem fair to me that the only thing standing in the way of Coach Freeze making $5 million a year at another school was the discovery that he wasn’t the trustworthy, straight-laced role model that he claimed to be.”"
I’m sorry, but Patterson only has himself to blame if he believed Hugh Freeze was a “straight-laced role model.”
To be clear, I 100% believe Patterson should be eligible next season. There’s absolutely no reason why he should have to sit out a year, especially with Ole Miss facing serious NCAA sanctions. But here’s the thing–based on his recruitment, Patterson knew what kind of a program Freeze and company were running.
Patterson committed to Ole Miss in February of 2015 as a member of the 2016 recruiting class. While USC and LSU were both in the hunt, most believed the battle came down between the Trojans and the Rebels. Ole Miss had landed some hot prospects nationally, but Patterson had a deep familiarity with USC from spending plenty of time in Southern California working with quarterback guru Steve Clarkson.
There wasn’t much difference between the opportunity at the two programs, as both needed young quarterbacks at the time. There was one stark difference between the programs when decision time rolled around: only one offered Patterson’s older brother a job.
Less than a week after his younger brother committed to the Rebels, Sean Patterson started work at Ole Miss. His official title, “associate director for recruiting operations” made him a member of the football support staff. The older Patterson brother had worked as an offensive quality control assistant, but resigned the day his younger brother committed to Ole Miss. Boy, that’s a funny coincidence.
If a school uses the “we’ll give your brother a job if you come here” pitch, then it’s your fault for believing the coaches when they tell you they aren’t cheating. There was nothing illegal about bringing both Patterson brothers to Ole Miss, but we all know it’s a cynical move. So I’m sorry, I’m not buying that Shea Patterson was some kind of innocent, wide-eyed doe in the chaotic forest that was Hugh Freeze’s program. He and his family knew what they were signing up for.
Yes, Patterson should be eligible this fall. Yes, Ole Miss was a cesspool under Freeze. But Patterson knew what he was getting himself into when he committed.