Arkansas to file waiver in hopes of ex-Michigan QB Mallett can play in '08

Updated: February 6, 2008, 12:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas will ask the NCAA to allow transfer quarterback Ryan Mallett to play immediately for the Razorbacks without sitting out a year.

Mallett transferred from Michigan after Rich Rodriguez replaced retiring coach Lloyd Carr.

"After visiting with Ryan and his parents, we feel that it is appropriate to file a waiver in this case based on extenuating circumstances," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a release. "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."

When contacted by The Associated Press, a school spokesman would not elaborate on what Long meant by "extenuating circumstances."

Mallett's father, Jim Mallett, told ESPN's Joe Schad he believes his son's pending appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility could be a landmark case.

"I know the NCAA has never really ruled on this one before," Jim Mallett said from his Arkansas home on Tuesday night. "But at some time I suppose they would have to."

The Malletts' claim to the NCAA is simple. He should not be punished because an incoming coach runs a system which does not fit his pocket-passing style.

The 6-foot-7 Mallett, who played in 11 games for the Wolverines last year, has three years of eligibility remaining. Mallett appears well suited to a pro-style offense, but Rodriguez's offense works well with a more mobile quarterback.

"We knew as soon as Rodriguez was hired it was obvious there would be a problem," Jim Mallett told Schad. "He would not fit into the coaches' spread offense. Now, is this something Ryan had control over? No. Now for him to sit out 18 months because of it would be tough. So we're asking the NCAA to examine the particulars of this case."

Jim Mallett said he understands that across-board provisions allowing any athlete to transfer without cause and play immediately would be problematic.

"Then, of course, you do have a circumstance where a player would follow a coach," he told Schad. "But this is different. Lloyd Carr retired and we loved Lloyd Carr. Ryan left not because he wanted to, but because he needed to. He deserves a chance to play. And we're anxious to hear what the NCAA thinks."

Mallett was 61-of-141 for 892 yards with seven touchdown passes and five interceptions last season while filling in for Chad Henne when the senior was injured.

Mallett went to high school on the Texas side of Texarkana, but lived on the Arkansas side.

Information from ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.