UPDATE: Notre Dame football: Vanderdoes wins appeal
Perhaps the best thing that came out of former Notre Dame football recruit Eddie Vanderdoes’ final appeal for eligibility this coming season is simply the finality of it all.
That came Tuesday evening, when the National Letter of Intent Appeals Committee reversed an earlier decision and cleared the five-star defensive lineman from Auburn, Calif., to play for UCLA in 2013.
Scout.com’s UCLA affiliate, recruiting writer Rick Kimbrel and the Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson were among the first to report the news.
Maybe now, the case that started clandestinely roughly a month after Vanderdoes signed a binding national letter-of-intent with Notre Dame on Feb. 6 and exploded into an endless patter of redundant debate a couple of months later will begin to fade. Maybe.
Had Vanderdoes lost his appeal, he would not only have had to sit out the 2013 season, he would also have had four years or college eligibility reduced to three.
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly reacted to the news Wednesday via prepared statement:
"While I disagree with yesterday's decision by the NCAA National Letter of Intent Appeals Committee to reverse its original ruling and grant Eddie Vanderdoes a complete release from his NLI, I understand and respect the entire appeal process.
“However, this result does not change my opinion concerning the importance of protecting the integrity of the NLI program, nor will it change our approach to the process going forward."
The numbers were always in Vanderdoes’ favor, though, even if the letter and spirit of the LOI language wasn’t.
According to an NCAA report, more than 36,000 NCAA Division I and II student-athletes in all sports signed national letters-of-intent in 2010-11, and less than 2 percent (roughly 700) requested a release.
Vanderdoes, whose home is roughly a 6 1/2-hour drive from the UCLA campus, told the Bee’s Davidson several weeks ago that his change of heart stemmed from a change in circumstances that caused him to want to stay closer to family.