FOOTBALL: UA Wants NCAA To Let Mallett Play I

FAYETTEVILLE — Ryan Mallett's mother said Tuesday that the family supports Arkansas' attempt to get her son cleared to play immediately for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that the university intends to file a waiver with the NCAA in the hopes that Mallett will be ruled eligible for the upcoming season.

Mallett, a former five-star quarterback from Texarkana, Texas High, transferred to Arkansas in mid-January after spending last season as a freshman at Michigan.

Long said "extenuating circumstances" led to Mallett's transfer, so he shouldn't have to sit out a year, as NCAA rules call for. The NCAA is expected to receive Arkansas' waiver in the next few weeks.

"We're in support of doing that," Debbie Mallett, Ryan's mother, said Tuesday afternoon when asked about the waiver being filed on her son's behalf.

Mallett played in 11 games as a true freshman at Michigan last season, and he took over as the starter when Chad Henne suffered a leg injury.

Mallett passed for 892 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions in 2007. But he asked for a release from his scholarship after Rich Rodriguez was hired to replace retiring Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.

Mallett decided to transfer because he didn't believe he fit Rodriguez's offensive system. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound quarterback felt he was better suited for a pro-style offense, like what Petrino plans to implement at Arkansas.

"After visiting with Ryan and his parents, we feel that it is appropriate to file a waiver in this case based on extenuating circumstances," Long said in his statement released through the university.

"While the outcome of the waiver request is uncertain, we feel strongly that as an institution we should offer our full support to Ryan and his family in this process."

Mallett has three years of college eligibility remaining.

Former Springdale High star Mitch Mustain, another five-star quarterback, was forced to sit out last season after transferring from Arkansas to the University of Southern California in January of 2007. Like Mallett, Mustain started as a freshman.

The NCAA has made exceptions and ruled that a player didn't have to sit out a year after transferring to another Football Championship Division school.

But those exceptions often involve extreme circumstances, like the death or serious illness of a family member.

Former Arkansas defensive end Zach Snider was granted a waiver by the NCAA in 2006 after he transferred to Tulsa to be closer to his father, Gary, who was battling colon cancer. He was allowed to play immediately.

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