OXFORD – Jeremiah Masoli got the ruling he was waiting for but not the news he wanted.
The college football nation watched as the former Oregon quarterback enrolled at Ole Miss this summer, but Tuesday the NCAA denied the school’s request that it waive its requirement that all transfers have residency established at the new school for one academic year before competing.
The school immediately filed an appeal with the NCAA sub-committee on appeals. A decision is expected within a week, possibly by Friday.
“It is our opinion that (the NCAA’s) decision was subjective and not weighted toward the best interests and opportunity of the student-athlete Jeremiah Masoli,” Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone said.
Boone, Masoli and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt issued brief statements at a hastily called news conference prior to Tuesday’s practice. None of the three took questions.
The NCAA gave two reasons for its decision. The first was because Masoli would not have been eligible for the 2010 season at Oregon, having already been suspended by coach Chip Kelly for his part in the burglary of a fraternity house.
The NCAA also claimed a discrepancy in the time frame from when Masoli was dismissed at Oregon – in June following a citation for driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana – and when Masoli began to seek a transfer.
Boone contends that NCAA rules require a transfer student to be in good standing with the previous university, not an athletics team. Masoli had been dismissed from the Ducks football team, not the school itself, where he earned a BA in Sociology.
“That question is not part of the waiver application. We are aware of other student-athletes that have similar issues, but since it is not part of the process, the questions never came up, and the waivers were successful,” Boone said.
Boone also expressed confidence that his staff worked in good faith to determine when Masoli began to seek a transfer.
“That is a difficult task for anyone to try and accomplish,” Boone said.
If the appeal fails, Masoli will not be eligible for the 2010 season but, because he has not used a redshirt year, will be eligible in 2011 if he remains at Ole Miss.
Tuesday, Masoli did not address his future past the appeal process. Over the weekend, Masoli’s mother, Linda Masoli, declined comment when asked how her son might respond if the request for waiver was denied.
While Masoli appeared upbeat behind the podium, he said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the NCAA’s decision. He expressed confidence in the appeals process.
“That’s why the NCAA has the appeals system in place, to make sure they get things right in certain situations. I still have faith and hope that the NCAA can find it in their heart to do the right thing,” he said.
In making his statement, Masoli appeared before media for only the third time since arriving at Ole Miss on Aug. 6.
Masoli had spent time in a juvenile detention center before ever reaching Oregon.
Nutt said Masoli has exhibited good behavior and had urgency in his voice when asking the appeals committee to overturn the ruling.
“I have players that I have dismissed. I want them to go play for somebody else. I want them to learn from their mistakes,” Nutt said. “I just really plead with the committee to look at this hard, do the right thing. We’re in the people-helping business. We’re trying to make a difference in young peoples’ lives. That’s what we do.”
Parrish Alford/ NEMS Daily Journal