Shea Patterson's long winter of waiting appears to be coming to an end.
The NCAA is expected to let the Michigan quarterback know soon if he will be able to take the field for his new team in the upcoming season.
No official decision had been reached Thursday night, according to multiple sources close to the situation, but the months-long process of evaluating Patterson's waiver request is nearing its conclusion.
Patterson transferred to Michigan in December after two seasons at Ole Miss. He asked the NCAA to waive its usual rule that keeps transfers on the sideline for one year because he says his former coaches at Ole Miss led him to believe the scope and possible punishment related to an ongoing investigation into rules violations at the school was smaller than it actually was.
Patterson is one of several former Rebels who left the school as underclassmen this offseason after the NCAA banned Ole Miss from playing in a bowl at the conclusion of the 2018 season. At least six of the other recently departed players are also petitioning or plan to petition for immediate eligibility.
Ole Miss objected to Patterson's waiver request earlier this month with the school saying it didn't believe he and the other players were told lies about the future of the program. Rebels coach Matt Luke said he and others at the school have no problem with Patterson being able to play in 2018, but the school did not agree with the way his request was worded. Athletic director Ross Bjork told reporters he had "no choice" but to object because of the claims made in the waiver request.
Bjork said Thursday night that Ole Miss was waiting for the NCAA to send the school Michigan's updated filing before deciding how to respond. Ole Miss has the option to agree, disagree or give no response to the filing, but ultimately it is the NCAA's decision to make.
Patterson is expected to compete with redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters and others on the Wolverines roster for the starting job in Ann Arbor this fall if he is cleared to participate. He passed for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns as a starter in the first seven games of the season for Ole Miss in 2017 before a leg injury ended his season in late October. He practiced with the team throughout March and April while waiting for a decision from the NCAA.
Michigan passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton said last week that Patterson was an obvious "playmaker" who shouldn't have any problem catching up to his competition when it comes to understanding Michigan's playbook and offensive schemes. Hamilton said all of the team's quarterbacks were getting equal reps during spring practice this past month, and he did not have a timeline for when the coaches would decide on a pecking order.
"If you watched any of his film, it's obvious he can extend plays with his legs and he can make all the throws," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the uncertainty about Patterson's eligibility for the coming season didn't affect how the team practiced this spring.