Tee Shepard's Departure From Notre Dame Raises Questions

Notre Dame Defensive Back Highlights Unfairness in NCAA Transfer Rules

Tee Shepard is one of the top defensive back recruits in the country. Shepard enrolled early at Notre Dame and was expected to make an immediate impact in the Irish secondary next season. That all changed last week when Shepard left the program and returned home to Fresno.

It is unclear what actually led to Shepard’s departure at this time, although health concerns appear to be the primary factor. Shepard’s departure leaves the Irish secondary pretty thin.

Understandably, many Notre Dame fans are disappointed, considering Shepard’s cousin and former Washington Union teammate Deontay Greenberry spurned the Irish in favor of the Houston Cougars on National Signing Day.

Notre Dame’s loss will be a welcomed addition for another program. Shepard’s future destination remains to be seen.

As it stands, Shepard would have to sit out the 2012 season if he transfers from Notre Dame. Shepard was ineligible for his senior year at Washington Union due to transfer issues.

In most instances, players are forced to sit out a year and sometimes prevented from transferring to the desired school of their choice because the previous coach doesn’t have the athlete’s best interest at heart.

Recent examples include Maryland head coach Randy Edsall handling of quarterback Danny O’Brien and Tennessee coach Derek Dooley handling of receiver DeAnthony Arnett.

Both coaches subsequently reversed their positions after public backlash and the players were allowed to transfer to the school of their choice.

Arnett enrolled at Michigan State. Danny O'Brien will transfer to Wisconsin, where he will have two years of eligibility and be allowed to play immediately because he is a graduate student.

It’s not like Houston Nutt had to sit out a year when he resigned the head coaching position at Arkansas and took the head job with rival Mississippi four days later in November 2007.

The hypocrisy runs pretty deep. Coaches can leave their teams high and dry for big paydays at the drop of a hat while student athletes are often treated like property.

To Brian Kelly’s credit, he has remained supportive of Shepard thus far.

“Tee is a special person and its unfortunate that it didn’t work out here. Everyone at Notre Dame wishes him all the best in the world,” said Kelly.

Ironically, Notre Dame just successfully cleared USC transfer Amir Carlisle for immediate eligibility after the NCAA approved his waiver request on family grounds.

Tee Shepard has never played a down for Notre Dame. Assuming he is healthy to play, there is no reason Shepard should have to sit a year if he chooses to enroll elsewhere.

If he elects to join his cousin Deontay Greenberry in Houston, so be it.

If he wants to stay close to home, then he should go to USC or Fresno State free of restriction.

For all we know, Shepard may even return to Notre Dame, where he would be eligible to play in 2012.

Wherever he lands, one thing is certain, Tee Shepard should be allowed to play immediately.

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Danny "DSPN" Dabiri (Editor)