Masoli Denied

After an exaggerated, three-week process, Ole Miss learned that senior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli would be restricted from playing football for the Rebels until 2011, due to an NCAA waiver decision rendered Tuesday afternoon.

The university intends to appeal the decision, citing "no case precedents" to support the reasons given. The appeal will now be reviewed by an NCAA Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, an independent group comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences.

A response expected as early as Friday but no later than one week.

"I just want to plead with that subcommittee," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said. "I want them to know what kind of person this young man has been for the last month. Our players want him here. He's been an outstanding person; he's been doing the right thing. All he's done is exactly what he was supposed to do."

Athletics director Pete Boone said Masoli compiled all the necessary requirements under the code with which waiver transfer is directed, and that there is no requirement stating a student-athlete has to be in good standing with an athletic team – an apparent sticking point with the NCAA.

"The question is not part of the waiver application," Boone said. "We are aware of other athletes with similar issues, but since it isn't a part of the process, the questions never came up and their waivers were successful."

Boone said the NCAA considered "time discrepancies" when recalling the interest between the institution and Masoli or, in simple terms, when Masoli was considering a transfer to Ole Miss.

Jeremiah Masoli

"I think this is a difficult task for anyone, even (American illusionist) David Blaine, to try and accomplish," Boone said. "It is our opinion that their decision was subjective and not weighted toward the best interest and opportunity of the student-athlete, Jeremiah Masoli."

Masoli, while obviously disappointed in the ruling, still has "faith and a lot of hope" that the NCAA "can find it in their heart to do the right thing."

"When I found out today, I was very shocked and disappointed," he said. "I really didn't think it was going to take this long or we were going to get this decision from them. I just wanted to let everybody know that I've done everything I can to follow the rules and do everything that the rule book says I should do. I graduated early, which was not easy. I found a graduate program here at Ole Miss that I'm very interested in.

"I'm just very hopeful still that the NCAA will do the right thing in my case. That's why the NCAA has the appeal system in place, just to make sure they get things right in certain situations."

Ole Miss didn't show immediate interest in Masoli until late-July, when redshirt freshman Raymond Cotton opted to transfer to South Alabama. In need of a third quarterback, Nutt began researching the possibility of adding the former Oregon quarterback, who isn't far removed from leading the Ducks to the Rose Bowl.

Masoli has practiced with the team since preseason camp opened in August, splitting first-team repetitions with sophomore Nathan Stanley and junior Randall Mackey.

Houston Nutt

Nutt has said he will implement a two-quarterback system this season, with Masoli presumed to pair with Stanley.

Now, barring appeal, those plans are in flux. Stanley and Mackey have run with the starting offense this week as the team prepares to open its season against Jacksonville State Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

"He's done everything that we've asked him to do," Nutt said. "He was not dismissed from the university, which is very clear in the rules. He was not dismissed from the university. He was dismissed from the team. I've had players that I've dismissed. I want them to go play for somebody else. I want them to learn from their mistakes. I want them to be a better person.

"There's no question in my mind, Jeremiah's at the right place. I really plead with the committee to look at this hard, do the right thing. We're in the people-helping business. We're trying to make a difference in young people's lives. That's what we do. He's done everything the right way. The rules are very, very clear."

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