The University of Arkansas’ athletic department is filing paperwork with the NCAA to appeal the mandatory sitting out of a season that QB Ryan Mallett will have to do after coming over from Michigan due to the hiring of Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense. Honestly, good luck with that, guys — if I was Bobby Petrino, losing both Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to the NFL draft and left with the wobbly-armed Casey Dick as the starting QB, I’d try this one too.
The chances of the NCAA showing some leniency on the rule save extreme violations by a coaching staff or other extreme circumstances are slim and none. Never mind that Mallett and other players who commit to play football at the I-A level should have the ability to transfer with reduced time sat out if the coach is replaced — the rule itself is an anachronism, developed when coaches stayed at universities until they dies or retired, an era where the scrutiny a head coach was exposed to was much less intense.
It also preserves the naive belief that big-time football players choose schools based more on the institution than their own playing situation and the coach in place to execute it. Should Mallett have to blow off a year just to be able to play at Arkansas after the writing was on the wall at Michigan? Probably not, but that’s just the way the sick system operates — meanwhile, coaches can leave recruits high and dry, and they’re basically trapped.
I’d love nothing more if Mallett and the Razorbacks managed to coerce the NCAA into some form of compromise on this, but it’s not happening — there’s too much invested at the high levels of the administration in the belief that these men on the gridiron are attending institutions for much more than football. Otherwise, the rule wouldn’t be in place today.