Vanderdoes, a five-star recruit from Auburn, Calif., signed his letter of intent with Notre Dame in February. However, the 6-foot-4 defensive tackle says his circumstances changed and that he wants to stay closer to his family and not attend Notre Dame. Notre Dame agreed to waive its recruiting ban on him, which allowed UCLA to recruit the incoming freshman. But the Irish are refusing to release him from his letter of intent, which will prevent Vanderdoes from playing this fall and cost him a year of eligibility.
“We did not release him from his national letter of intent in order to protect the integrity of that very important program,” Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said in a statement, via WNDU. “But we have worked with the Vanderdoes family so that Eddie can continue his education this fall at a school closer to his home. We understand Eddie’s interest in remaining closer to his family and wish him well.”
Notre Dame reportedly was hesitant to lift the recruiting ban because they were worried he would go to rival USC, where he committed last year before changing his decision.
It seems that Vanderdoes is unlikely to get the fourth year of eligibility. He was denied an appeal to the National Letter of Intent board, but he can still appeal Notre Dame’s decision.
Though he may not be able to play in the fall, Vanderdoes was appreciative of Notre Dame for lifting his recruiting ban.
“I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for lifting the recruiting ban and allowing me to sign an athletic scholarship with UCLA. Over the past four months, circumstances have changed for me and my family. For very personal reasons, I feel a strong need to remain close to home and be near those who are most important in my life,” Vanderdoes said in a text message to the Sacramento Bee.
“I am honored and humbled that Note Dame thought enough of me as a person and a football player to offer me a scholarship. They have been very gracious to recognize not only how difficult a decision this was, but also how important it was for me to be near my family at this time. I take my commitments seriously, but as circumstances changed, the most important commitment is the one made to family.”
All of this is unfair to the student-athlete. The kid has not attended Notre Dame or practiced with the team, yet you are refusing to let him go elsewhere? Just do the right thing — not the spiteful thing — and let him go so he can have four years of eligibility. Why take that away from him? Coaches can jump around and leave their contracts at will, yet student-athletes are beholden to mythical pieces of paper they sign in February before even enrolling in school. The whole thing seems so petty.
Below is a video of Vanderdoes’ highlights:
Image via YouTube/We Are SCGoogle+