With Lynch leaving Notre Dame, USF pursuing eligibility waiver

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As expected, South Florida is pursuing a waiver to let former Irish defensive end Aaron Lynch played in 2012. Bulls head coach Skip Holtz, while hosting an interactive Google+ Hangout, mentioned the process of getting Lynch integrated into the South Florida football program. (Fast-forward to around minute 17 for the Lynch talk.)

“Right now, the NCAA rule is if you transfer from D-I to D-I, you have to sit for a year unless there’s some extenuating circumstances,” Holz said during the fan chat. “And there are some things there that we’ll look at to see if that’s a possibility. Right now, looking at Aaron Lynch, he would have to sit for a year and then after that year, he would have three years of eligibility unless the waiver with the NCAA is heard and approved, then he would be granted permission. But at this point, that would be way too early and would put the cart before the horse.”

Lynch’s case has been well documented. After a freshman season that earned rookie All-American kudos for leading the Irish in sacks, Lynch walked away from the Irish football program in the middle of spring practice. After talking with his family and returning to campus, Lynch made the unilateral decision to leave South Bend and move closer to his girlfriend and his roots back in Florida.

What the NCAA will rule is anybody’s guess. Notre Dame was the recent beneficiary of one waiver, with Amir Carlisle granted immediate eligibility after leaving Southern Cal and coming to the Irish football program after his father’s new job with Purdue moved the entire family to Indiana. Just today, Michigan State announced that DeAnthony Arnett, a freshman wide receiver that played last season for Tennessee, would be eligible immediately to play for his home-state Spartans. Arnett wanted to return to Michigan to help his family as his father’s health started to fail, and what ensued was a lot of egg on Vols coach Derek Dooley’s face.

Yet Lynch’s case might most closely resemble that of former Oklahoma Sooner Justin McCay. McCay transferred to home-state Kansas and was denied his request for immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Head coach Charlie Weis disagreed with the ruling, commenting to the Kansas City Star that the NCAA denied the request because “there wasn’t that one catastrophic event evident to rule in his favor.”

(Weis, as you’d expect, had even more to say: “I’m extremely disappointed that common sense did not prevail,” Weis said in a statement. “I have read all of the information on this case and it is a shame that this case resulted in a rejection. I cannot release all of the details of Justin’s case as it would be an invasion of his privacy.

“I can only say that the University of Kansas felt the evidence was overwhelmingly in his favor. I also do not understand why the NCAA had us appeal this case to the subcommittee only to have received the same answer with the same rationale.”)

With Lynch’s mother and siblings relocated to Ohio, it’s hard to say there’s a “catastrophic event” that will allow Lynch to play immediately. Homesickness, and a girlfriend that’s at a nearby college most likely won’t be enough to have the NCAA grant a waiver, especially with the decision being against the wishes of Lynch’s mother, who picked her son up from school this week with no plans of returning to South Bend.

Lynch is scheduled to enroll in the second session of summer school at USF.