NCAA settlement could mean end of beloved tradition at Notre Dame football

One aspect of a potential NCAA settlement would make it so Notre Dame football would no longer have any walk-ons.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to know for sure whether the upcoming purported settlement in House vs NCAA is going to be a good thing, or a bad thing for Notre Dame football. On the one hand, if the settlement does come along, it's going to be good to not have the court case hanging over the sport. On the other hand, we've already talked about just how much it might cost the Power 4 schools. There's even a chance it would cost enough that the Fighting Irish would feel as though it was finally time to join a conference.

Adding to the uncertainty, another potential aspect of the settlement could deal a severe blow to Notre Dame football. Ross Dellenger of Yahoo! Sports suggests that the agreement could lead to a drastic reduction in the number of players on any team's roster.

Dellenger reports that the settlement would include a limit of 85 players on a college football roster. That's down from the 120 that are allowed on a roster now. The number would essentially mean that Notre Dame football would have to do away with walk-ons

That part of the settlement talks has been met with plenty of anger from coaches and athletic directors who rely on their walk-on programs to not only help with a practice squad, but also in the age of NIL to stash players on the roster without them needing to pay for their own school but also not take up a scholarship.

This past recruiting cycle, Notre Dame football added a nice bench piece at quarterback by making him a preferred walk-on. 

Notre Dame football would have great tradition undercut by a potential aspect of new settlement

Notre Dame hasn't always relied on the walk-on program like other schools. However, there's obviously a proud tradition of the underdog story making good, most famously embodied by Rudy Ruettiger.

There's also the fact that this settlement would severely limit the futures of thousands of high school football players who might not get a scholarship offer from Notre Dame football but are given the opportunity to try and show what they can do - like Rudy - by walking on. 

At the moment, it's hard to see the provision being met with anything but rage by coaches and players in the sport. Here's hoping that keeps it from being a "thing" and ending an important tradition within Notre Dame football.