Eddie Vanderdoes discusses his successful appeal process


SAN BERNARDINO — Rarely thought of as an efficient organization, the NCAA’s quick decision surprised even Eddie Vanderdoes.

The five-star defensive end had hovered in limbo for weeks after reneging on his signed letter of intent with Notre Dame. After a written appeal failed, he finally had a chance to speak directly to the NCAA last Monday. He didn’t waste his chance, laying out his case for nearly 90 minutes.

The next day, the NCAA cleared him to play immediately. If they hadn’t done so, Vanderdoes would have had to sit this fall, as well as lose a year of eligibility.

Now he is available to replace starter Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a would-be senior who will redshirt the season recovering from hip surgery.

“I was real surprised,” Vanderdoes said. “They actually had called me an hour after, talked to me and told me they would have a full decision tomorrow. They basically had a decision but they kind of wanted to cover their bases the next day.”

An All-American at Placer High in Auburn, Calif. — roughly 35 miles from Sacramento — Vanderdoes gave the NCAA four main reasons for his appeal. One was his grandmother’s breast cancer, but he declined to discuss the others. Continue reading

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Eddie Vanderdoes announces for UCLA, breaking NLI with Notre Dame

Eddie Vanderdoes officially announced this morning his intention to enroll at UCLA, paving his way to a future in blue and gold.

The five-star defensive lineman originally signed to Notre Dame, but said he needed to be closer to his family in Northern California. The Placer High product was not officially released from his national letter of intent, but the Irish lifted the recruiting ban — a step that allowed him to sign grant-in-aid and enroll at another school.

Notre Dame said it does not intend to release Vanderdoes from his letter of intent, meaning that he cannot play for the Bruins until 2014.

Here is Vanderdoes’ statement, one he texted to the Sacramento Bee and other outlets.

“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.

“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.”

UCLA head coach Jim Mora confirmed the news shortly after Vanderdoes’ announcement. Unless Notre Dame changes its decision not to release Vanderdoes, he will have to sit out a season and lose a year of eligibility as a basic penalty for breaking a NLI. He will have four years to play three.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement that his school chose not to release Vanderdoes “in order to protect the integrity of that very important program.” Continue reading

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