When the paperwork arrived on Monday, Marion Street was furious. Eight hundred miles away, so was Shawn Jefferson.
Your children play football in Mississippi. Jarrion Street is a true second year reserve linebacker; redshirt sophomore Van Jefferson was the second leading receiver of the Rebels in 2017. And when the NCAA hit Ole Miss Friday with a second postseason ban, it's 2018 after the self-imposed ban for this season, players quickly requested permission to contact other schools looking for a transfer. Several other rebels did the same.
The contact permit was granted on Monday, with limitations. No other school in the Southeastern Conference can contact Street or Jefferson, or the eight opponents outside the conference on the Ole Miss calendar in 2018 and 1919.
While limiting transfer options is shamefully common in athletics university, the circumstances here are quite uncommon. Despite a great breach of rules by the school and what the parents of those players describe as institutional dishonesty about potential sanctions, Ole Miss still refused to allow players to transfer without restrictions.
Until Tuesday. Faced with more negative headlines in a year full of them, the athletic department had an abrupt change of policy. After receiving a request from Yahoo Sports to comment on the situation shortly after noon ET, the school issued a statement at 1:20 p.m. saying that you are eliminating transfer restrictions.
"Regarding the limitations initially established in the contact permit, the restrictions are common," said the statement from the athletic department of Yahoo Sports. "Until we were notified [Tuesday] in the morning, none of the student-athletes had reported that they were not happy with those restrictions, frankly, if they had any objection and a legitimate reason to request the transfer to one of the limited schools, we would normally solve those problems with the student athlete and his family.The best interest of the student-athlete is always the priority.Trainer [Matt] Luke and [athletic director] Ross Bjork discussed the matter this morning.To be consistent, they are eliminating any restriction to Your contact permission for all those who have requested permission Our compliance office has contacted student athletes to notify them.
Faced with even more negative publicity, the school wisely chose to do the right thing and do it quickly. That should satisfy some parents who were angry earlier in the day.
"The ethical thing is to say: & # 39; We're wrong and we're going to let your son go where he wants", said Shawn Jefferson. , coach of open receivers of the Miami Dolphins. "Keep the children first." When they recruited Van, Ole Miss came into our house and broke bread with us, they said, "We're going to be an extension of your parents and take care of you and do things right." That was a lot of bull … We expected them to deal with truth and honesty, and we got the opposite. "
"Right now I feel like my son has nowhere to go, and this is horrible," Marion Street said. "If Ole Miss had been honest with us, but just say nothing is wrong [during the NCAA investigation] Can you imagine if this is your son?"
Street and her fiancé, Nate Hope, gave a clear account of the visit of Jarrion's official recruitment to Ole Miss, which coincided with the January 2016 Yahoo Sports report on the school that received the NCAA allegation notice. The story broke as they drove from their home in Trussville, Alabama, to Oxford, Mississippi, for the recruiting weekend.
Text messages began to flood their phones, from several parties asking if Jarrion might want to reconsider his commitment to Ole Miss. But they kept the car aimed at Oxford and got their plans stuck.
Upon arriving, Marion Street said they had asked assistant coach Derrick Nix about the allegations. She said that Nix referred them to head coach Hugh Freeze. During the course of the weekend, Freeze addressed the situation in both groups and private environments, they said.
During a recruiting dinner at The Inn at Ole Miss, both Marion Street and Hope said Freeze was standing in a chair to address the recruits, and Marion specifically asked her about the NCAA situation. She said that Freeze replied that there was nothing to worry about. At another time during the weekend, Jarrion, Marion, Nate and Jarrion's sister talked privately with Freeze and asked her again about the situation.
Marion Street said Freeze made reference to his faith, said he was a man of his word and reiterated that this would not significantly affect his son. He mentioned the possibility of the rebels losing a couple of scholarships, he said, but that was "the worst that could happen."
During that conversation, the family said that Freeze asked Jarrion: "Do I have your word that you? Are you coming?" Raised to keep his promises, Jarrion said he would honor his commitment.
Returning home on Sunday, the family received calls from Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. He had been recruiting Jarrion, and wanted him to make a last-minute trip to the school on the way home: the dead period before the day began began the next day. Malzahn pressed hard and Jarrion considered it.
But Hope, who had become the father figure of Jarrion after his real father, Jarrion Sr., died of leukemia in 2010, advised him against the visit. He stressed the importance of keeping a promise.
"He trusted us in our judgment as parents," Hope said. "My stepson trusted me and I let him down, there's nothing Ole Miss can say to make me feel better, I was an army officer, and if I said anything to my soldiers, they trusted me, this is the same kind of thing
"The situation could have been totally different if someone had told the truth."
Van Jefferson was already on campus at Ole Miss as a freshman in red shirt when the news of the Notice of Allegations they broke in January 2016. His father recalls similar guarantees given to players about the nature of what the football program might face.
Today, his highly marketable son can now receive and evaluate transfer offers from all sides, including SECOND: Considered a four-star prospect out of high school in Tennessee, Jefferson had scholarship offers from at least eight SEC schools.
Initially told that Those schools were banned by a program that was discovered to have committed major violations raised the blood pressure of Shawn Jefferson.
"I thought it was kind of a bush league for them to do this," said Major Jefferson. "It's incredible that they can do wrong and still try to control the future of children." [Ole Miss coaches and administrators] probably knew from the beginning that this was going to be a whopper [of an NCAA case]. These children were lied to, and I think it's wrong. "
Faced with the temptation to fight Ole Miss, the Jeffersons, Streets, and others who sought to transfer did the smart thing: they kept the services of attorney Thomas Mars. Civil battle with the school on behalf of former coach Houston Nutt became the main facet of this traumatic year for Mississippi, and he was anxious to take up the cause of the Rebels who were looking to play elsewhere.
On Monday, Mars took until the fight by sending an email to the school's legal advisers On Tuesday morning, the families were talking to Yahoo On Tuesday afternoon, Ole Miss was releasing the players.
"First let's put the future of these children, "said Mars," instead of treating them as if they were furniture belonging to the University of Mississippi. "
<p class =" canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "type = "text" content = " Letter from Ole Miss to Van Jefferson on Monday via yahoosports " data-reactid = "57"> Letter from Ole Miss to Van Jefferson on Monday via yahoosports