Writer Pat Forde calls Attorney Thomas Mars “the most impactful man in a suit in college football” in a recent article published by Yahoo Sports.
Excerpt from Yahoo Sports
The most impactful man in a suit in college football over the past two seasons is not a conference commissioner, not an athletic director, not a TV analyst. He doesn’t sit on the College Football Playoff selection committee, doesn’t work at the NCAA, doesn’t negotiate contracts for coaches.
No disrespect to Jim Delany, Gene Smith, Kirk Herbstreit or Jimmy Sexton, but the most impactful man in a suit is a glib Arkansas lawyer with a zest for hooking bull sharks and University of Mississippi leaders. His work has radically altered both the 2017 and ’18 seasons.
Tom Mars is the reason why Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has a chance to be the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, and why the Wolverines have a chance to make the playoff. Mars is the reason why Van Jefferson currently is the leading receiver at Florida and Tre Nixon is the No. 2 receiver at Central Florida. He is the reason why Deontay Anderson is the third-leading tackler at Houston. He is the reason why Jack DeFoor is playing this season at Georgia Tech, and Jarrion Street is playing at UAB.
That was Mars’ work as the Great Emancipator of Ole Miss transfers attempting to gain immediate eligibility elsewhere. He fought the school, fought the NCAA rules and won.
Last year, Mars’ high-pressure pursuit of an Ole Miss apology to former football coach Houston Nutt led down a document trail that eventually resulted in the discovery of Hugh Freeze’s infamous escort call on his university cell phone records. That led to Freeze’s firing and the elevation of Matt Luke as coach of the Rebels, on the program’s way to an NCAA postseason ban and other sanctions.
Freeze isn’t the only Ole Miss fixture to depart the school since Mars commenced laying siege to it in the summer of 2017. University general counsel Lee Tyner, the point man in dealing with — and sometimes obstructing — Mars’ relentless search for documents, resigned 11 months ago. Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, who had to navigate the fallout from the football scandal, announced his retirement last week. Athletic director Ross Bjork endures, but bears some Mars scars from months of battle.
Nick Saban wishes he were as intensely focused on victory as Tom Mars.
“Never in my life have I met anyone like him,” said Sean Patterson, Shea’s father. “I call it a Mars thing, where you really can’t understand unless you experience it. He’s committed to you, and you really don’t want to be on the other side of him.”