It looks like Jeremiah Masoli will be able to play after all. The NCAA announced today that the Ole Miss quarterback won his appeal of a ruling denying him a waiver to play for the Rebels this year instead of next.
The committee reviewing the decision seems to differ with the NCAA staff on how much discretion the Association has on whether to grant the waiver. The staff, you probably remember, decided that Masoli shouldn't get a waiver because he transferred in response to his dismissal from Oregon's football team. Though the NCAA never makes it easy to figure out why it does anything.
Throughout both stages of the waiver process, the case is reviewed and evaluated based on the specific facts of that particular case, as disclosed during the review process. In this case, the staff, subcommittee and school all acknowledged the complexity of the waiver request.
Of course, Ole Miss is much more complimentary to the NCAA today than after the original decision.
"We would like to thank the NCAA staff and subcommittee for approaching this case and all of its details with diligence and fairness," Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone was quoted as saying in a news release.
None of which changes the fact that the NCAA has to revise this rule in the offseason to avoid turning college football into a no-pay NFL system, where players move on a whim just because they have enough "service time." But if this is how the rule is going to be interpreted this year, then Masoli should be eligible to play. And, much to the relief of Houston Nutt and the Oxford faithul, now he is.