So what is the situation with Ashlee Palmer? Here is the official verbiage from the NCAA that covers LOI or NLI and there is a specific part to mid-term transfers:
Initial Enrollment in Four-Year Institution. This NLI is applicable only to prospective student-athletes who will be entering four-year institutions for the first time as full-time students. It is also permissible for 4-2-4 transfers who are graduating from a junior college as outlined in provision 8b to sign the NLI. With the exception of midyear transfer students in football, (who must graduate at midyear for this NLI to be valid), no prospective student-athlete enrolling at midyear shall sign a NLI.
Here are all of the possible scenarios that I have identified:
If Ashlee graduated on-time, and we understand that he did, there is no way (zip, zero, nada) that Palmer could enroll at Washington without a release from his LOI from Nebraska or if his paperwork got screwed up through the compliance office.
Now, we do know that Palmer did fax his scholarship papers to Washington this morning and that is not a big deal. The big deal happens if Palmer intends to enroll at Washington and enroll as a scholarship player.
If he decides to try and go to Washington on scholarship with Nebraska having a valid LOI (which it seems to be) then Palmer will lose a year of eligibility and residency. Washington couldn't give him a dime to go to school.
Additionally, if Palmer didn't graduate, but signed with Nebraska in December as a mid-year transfer he would have missed the criteria and the LOI wouldn't be valid. But, if that happened then Palmer also wouldn't be eligible to sign for one year. So he couldn't sign today anyway.
Clear as mud? Thought so.
Here are the high points: If Palmer graduated on-time to be called a mid-year transfer then the LOI to Nebraska is good, case closed. From here there could have been a release given by Nebraska or paperwork could have been submitted incorrectly which would make the LOI invalid.
Palmer did fax the scholarship paperwork to Washington today. This would only come into play if Palmer goes to Washington on scholarship next year. If that happens he would lose a year of eligibility and residency.
Above all of this, Palmer did send Nebraska a LOI in December as a mid-term transfer would. If he did not graduate on time not only would the LOI not be valid, but Palmer couldn't sign today anyway. He would have to wait for one year.
All in all, the situation surrounding Nebraska and Palmer isn't very clear. This isn't another case of Adrian Mayes though. This may have been a failure to understand if the LOI was still good or not or understanding if Nebraska has or hasn't released Palmer from his LOI.
What we might have is a case of a school trying to convince Palmer that he could still enroll at Washington now because they too are on the quarter system. Brandon Johnson, Ashlee's teammate at Compton C.C., weighed in on this angle.
"I haven't talked to Ashlee in a couple of weeks," Johnson said. "I would be shocked if Ashlee wasn't there (at Nebraska next year). I don't think that he knows what he is doing, really. I think that he is listening to a lot of coaches."
Johnson was recruited as late as last night by Washington as well. "They tried to get me to sign with them last night. I don't like that. I told them I was going to Nebraska. I bet that they talked to Ashlee about getting him in still at Washington because they are on quarters too."
Johnson went on to say that the bond that he shares with junior college commits to Nebraska goes further than just what he shares with Palmer. He said that he and Andre Jones and Steve Allen have all become close and talk quite frequently. They are looking forward to making some noise at Nebraska.
"Those two boys, man, we have talked a couple of times about it. We all believed that our word was all that we had. My father always told me that without your word meaning anything that people lose respect for you. I talk to Andre all the time. We are going to crack some heads and make some heads turn this year."
This day is the fruit of Johnson's labor. He said that today's letter went in today for all of the doubters. "I worked so hard for this dream to come true to play division one football. There were a lot of doubters out there on me. I know that I am going to be playing division one football."