Notre Dame football walk-on program gets great news in House settlement talks

The fallout from the House revenue sharing settlement isn't yet known but it appears the roster limits won't be as hard on Notre Dame football as first thought.

It’s not hard to see the walk-on program's impact on the Notre Dame football team. The effect is both immediate and historic, when you look at stories like Rudy. 

That’s why when reports started surfacing that the House vs NCAA settlement would effectively end the walk-on program in college football, there was quite a bit of trepidation around South Bend. However, it looks like the demise of the program was greatly exaggerated.

The House vs NCAA settlement involves revenue sharing among other things and it’s long been thought that when it’s officially adopted, a roster cap will be implemented. However, Pete Thamel reported this week that while earlier reports had the cap set for Notre Dame football and others at 85, it could be quite a bit bigger.

Notre Dame football walk-on program gets great news

“The range of roster limits being discussed is between 100 and 110,” Thamel wrote on social media. “With the Big Ten lobbying for the higher side of that range.”

The Fighting Irish would also almost certainly lobby for the higher end. The Notre Dame roster currently sits at 121 players. That’s both scholarship and walk-on players. 

While a cap of 110 would still mean that the Irish would have to shed some players, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as drastic as if they had to get all the way down to 85. And there was even more good news on that front. Thamel said that there will likely be a “wind down.”

In other words, Marcus Freeman and company wouldn’t have to cut 10 or 11 guys immediately.

“There’s discussion of a ‘phase in’ on this,” Thamel wrote. “So teams with giant rosters – think 130/140 – potentially don’t have to make immediate giant cuts for 2025.”

Notre Dame football doesn’t quite reach the “giant roster” cut, but it’s big enough it could definitely take advantage of the phase in. Should that end up being where settlement talks finish up.