By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone Friday did not say that the university has adopted a policy either for or against football recruit Jerrell Powe.
Powe’s lengthy battle to gain college football eligibility, presumably at Ole Miss, jumped back in the news late Thursday when a story on ESPN’s website indicated that Powe and his representatives are unhappy with the school’s reluctance to promise him admission if he is cleared by the NCAA.
“I do understand there is talk out there regarding a letter I had written to a prospective student-athlete,” Boone said. “I cannot comment on that.”
Powe’s family friend and adviser, Joe Barnett, told ESPN that Boone’s response to a guaranteed admission letter was, “Well, he hasn’t even applied for this semester yet.”
Also part of Powe’s legal team is Alabama-based attorney Don Jackson, who has represented other athletes, including former Mississippi State basketball player Mario Austin, against the NCAA.
Jackson said he senses at Ole Miss a “fear of retaliation” from the NCAA.
Powe played defensive line at Wayne County in 2004. He believed he was on track to become eligible after a year at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, but the NCAA rejected his transcripts, citing its opposition to his work in internet courses through Brigham Young University.
Powe filed suit and was allowed to enroll in classes at Ole Miss but not play football. He eventually dropped the lawsuit and returned to Waynesboro where he’s been working to complete seven core credits.
Jackson wants to give Ole Miss seven to 10 days to publicly express its support for Powe, according to ESPN.
Barnett, meanwhile, has indicated that Powe may soon be ready to shop around and that LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Miami have expressed keen interest.