Word began circulating yesterday evening that UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes would be eligible to play for the Bruins this year following his appeal to the NCAA. Notre Dame, the school Vanderdoes signed with in February, had been unwilling to release the five-star D-lineman, who transferred to UCLA earlier this summer. That would normally mean Vanderdoes would have to sit out the 2013 season and lose a year of eligibility.
Instead, Vanderdoes will have an opportunity to contribute immediately for the Bruins. That’s something Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly still isn’t 100 percent on board with. In a statement released through the university, Kelly said that while he understands and respects the NCAA’s appeals process, it does not change his stance on the matter.
“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,” Kelly said in a statement. ”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.”
A report from CBS’ Bruce Feldman in June said that Vanderdoes was citing a family illness as the cornerstone of his appeal, and the NCAA apparently felt the reason was legit. Does the decision open up the proverbial flood gates to other athletes seeking an appeal to get out of NLI’s? John Infante of athleticscholarships.net doesn’t necessarily think so based on the fact that a trend was in place even before Vanderdoes’ case.