Right on the heels of the transfers of Ronald Talley, Zach Frazer, Demetrius Jones, Konrad Reuland, and Chris Stewart, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were dealt another serious blow when the University of Notre Dame itself announced its plans to transfer. While all of the others were third-string players unlikely to make an impact on the team this season, the loss of the University of Notre Dame and its 8,332 students, 780 faculty members, 26 varsity teams, $6.5 billion endowment, and 1,250 acre campus will have very serious consequences for the Irish's 2007 season, and quite possibly beyond.
"All in all, it was a pretty amicable departure," said University President Rev. John I. Jenkins. "It's been a really great 165 years, but I just think it was time to move on."
Needless to say, the University of Notre Dame is now one of the hottest recruits on the market, and coaches from coast to coast are clamoring to get the University to come for an official visit.
"No doubt about it, I'd love to have the University of Notre Dame come to DeKalb," said Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak. "I think the University's resumé speaks for itself. It's not every day you get a chance to recruit a seven-time Heisman winner, 79-time All-American with 11 national championship rings. I think having that kind of firepower would really help put NIU on the map and put us on the path for a MAC championship, if not multiple MAC championships."
The University has already picked up scholarship offers from Florida, LSU, Southern Cal, and Ohio State, to name a few. Due to NCAA regulations, the Unviersity would have to sit out for one year if it transferred now, but there appears to be a loophole that would allow it to get on the field a year earlier. If the University enrolled in a junior college before this month's deadline and earned an associate's degree this semester, it would be eligible to transfer in the spring semester of 2008 and play next season. A source close to the University says that this is the plan, and the University has narrowed it down to either neighboring Holy Cross College or to Pearl River Community College, which has a better space-age technologies program, which is the University's major.
Whichever team gets the services of the University will have a big catch. The University is a four-star recruit on Rivals.com and is currently ranked #96 in the Rivals 100, and is rated as the #2 Entire University for the class of 2008.
Not bad numbers, but a lot of those are wind-aided and hand-timed.
Without a doubt, this will be a big blow to the Fighting Irish in the short term. The University of Notre Dame will not make the trip to Purdue this weekend, and with the Irish already being 21.5 point underdogs, the situation has just become exponentially more hopeless. However, all is not lost for Irish fans. In an interview on ESPN radio, Tom Lemming spoke highly of the future of the Irish:
"Without a doubt, losing the University was a big blow to Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you it's going to be easy to replace what it brought to the team: the students, the athletes, the facilities, and, most importantly, that intangible leadership. However, if you look at this 2008 recruiting class that's lined up, it's clear to see that help is on the way. The Irish will struggle through these growing pains as they try to replace the University, but they'll be back with a vengeance in 2009, maybe even sooner."
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