Ever since the NCAA passed the new redshirt rule that allows a player to play in just 4 games and still retain a year of eligibility, fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have developed a solid debate each preseason about how it will go down in South Bend.
That probably won’t matter this season if the NCAA Board of Governors agree to pass a decision made by the Division I Council.
Sources: The NCAA Division I Council decided today that fall sport student-athletes can compete in any amount of competitions this year and it will not count as a season of eligibility. This still needs to be approved by NCAA Board of Governors on Friday.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 19, 2020
Yes... I think this does mean that cornerback Shaun Crawford could technically play a 7th year at Notre Dame (which means he will need a Moose Krause like “Mr. Notre Dame” nickname if that comes to pass).
I highly doubt Crawford would stick around, but the rule (which still needs to be passed) does create some problems with the 85 man scholarship count for Notre Dame and every school in the country. If the clock is essentially paused for a year — how does that affect the count for incoming freshmen in the 2021 class? Theoretically, if everyone returns for 2021, Notre Dame would be 18 over the limit right now.
Of course that hypothetical is highly unlikely — as in 0% chance — but again... there still may be some type of issues. Perhaps the NCAA should increase the scholarship count to 90 for the next 4 years to help alleviate this problem. The truth of the matter is that most of the freshmen would have probably redshirted anyways, and those that can leave after this year — probably will.
So maybe this is much ado about nothing?
Source tells @TheAthleticCFB that, if this passes, current seniors will be exempted from 2021 scholarship limits (same thing happened with spring athletes who got a year of eligibility back).— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 19, 2020
My bad y’all. So in 2021 — in theory — Notre Dame could have 25 players over the scholarship limit if all seniors return. There are currently 25 players that are seniors or 5th year seniors (and of course Crawford as a 6th year senior).
I highly doubt it would be anywhere close to that number, but it does allow Notre Dame to grab more recruits for the 2021 class if it wants (instead of a 20 man class, for example, they could easily sign 25+). They could also grab more graduate transfers. It definitely provides more options for 2021.