When Jack Coan first announced that he was using his graduate transfer to play football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, many of us exhaled a sigh of relief. With Ian Book moving on to the NFL Draft, the experience inside the quarterback room at Notre Dame was practically nonexistent — and very young.
Coan was exactly what the Irish needed for 2021 — a gap year QB that would keep the Irish at a high level, while allowing the coaching staff to develop Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner (and healing time for Brendon Clark). ONE YEAR, is what we were told, and what it looked like in terms of eligibility remaining for Coan.
Or is it?
Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated stated that Notre Dame says Jack Coan has two years of eligibility remaining. This doesn’t correlate what Notre Dame printed in their spring roster, as they had Coan listed with senior eligibility. Still, I trust Prister’s reporting and trust that Notre Dame knows the eligibility of its student athletes.
The math, however, doesn’t add up. As a freshman in 2017 Jack Coan played in 3 games and as a sophomore in 2018 he played in 5 games. According to the new eligibility rules from the NCAA, if an athlete plays in 4 or less games in a season — that season can be used as a redshirt year. Players get five years to play four seasons. The new rule, however, has this distinct language:
Effective for the 2018-19 football season.
There’s nothing that says the rule is retroactive, but the language doesn’t exactly prohibit it either.
Coan didn’t play in 2020 due to an injury — which he then decided to opt out all together. So 2020’s redshirt reason could be either injury or covid, but you can’t take one and hold it over another year. Perhaps the 2nd year revolves around 2017. Maybe they can somehow use the rule retroactively — which I don’t believe has ever been done because I’m not sure it CAN be done.
So... rules and math say that Coan has one year left and Notre Dame reportedly told a beat writer it’s two years. I reached out to Notre Dame for clarification on Sunday but as of publishing this piece, I haven’t heard back yet one way or the other.
And it really doesn’t matter much.
As it was stated on the Irish Illustrated Podcast, we shouldn’t expect Coan back in 2022 because Coan doesn’t expect to be back in 2022. The whole question is mostly moot barring some disaster. IF Coan was more open to the possibility, and this was actually an option, it certainly changes everything for 2022.
The best way to look at all of this is that Jack Coan goes out there and kicks ass in 2021, gets drafted, and we move on to what’s next. I just wanted to know what the options were — just in case.