Nothing Golden About Gregg Doyel’s Hackjob

Well, it was only a matter of time before someone performed the offseason ritual of writing a Notre Dame hack piece. On the heels of the Eddie Vanderdoes drama, we knew it was coming, we knew some brave internet white knight troll would bravely call ND out attempt to generate page clicks.

Loyal readers, I give you Gregg Doyel (only linking so you don’t think I’m making this up) and his well deserved destruction below.

Nothing golden about Kelly playing hard ball with waffling recruit

Nice title — manages to take a shot at Brian Kelly and an eighteen year-old kid that you’ll later defend. Granted, a copy editor may be to blame for this, but the stupid starts so fast it’s amazing.

The system is broken, and not by accident. It’s broken on purpose. The system allows coaches like Brian Kelly to switch schools as they please — and for more money — but players who want to switch schools are at the mercy of those same coaches. Because the system sucks.

Actually, Vanderdoes was at the mercy of the National Letter of Intent, a contract, but who needs minor details like that in a scathing lede?

Funny thing though, Brian Kelly is also subject to a similar contract. Coaches leave for more money not just for a pay raise, but to cover that whole buyout thing that protects the former school financially.

But Notre Dame doesn’t have to follow the system. Notre Dame, leader that it considers itself among institutions of higher learning, could refuse to follow along. It could allow the system to work for an 18-year-old high school senior, but it won’t. Notre Dame is playing hard ball with five-star recruit Eddie Vanderdoes, which means Notre Dame is part of the problem.

Headline if Notre Dame released Eddie from his NLI: “Notre Dame Sets Fire to College Football Recruiting, Screws Everyone”.

You can’t be serious here, Gregg. Notre Dame is a leader because it is one of the few schools that prides itself in following the system better than everyone else.

Oversigning? Nope.

Treating scholarships as only a one year commitment? Nope.

Following the rules that govern recruiting? WHY YES!

So it’s not just the system that sucks. For playing along with the system, Notre Dame sucks too.


Visceral language, right? You offended?

Nope, I’m laughing.

Be offended.


Know what offends me?

Writing this piece of crap?

/sees you wrote more

Oh, guess not.

That a school like Notre Dame, and a coach like Brian Kelly, would stick it to an 18-year-old kid like Eddie Vanderdoes.

Again, Notre Dame followed the rules of the NLI program. I suppose by not making an exception we are “sticking it” to Vanderdoes. This is a pretty big statement, hope you can back this up, Gregg.

True, he’s an enormous kid. He’s about 6-foot-3, 300 pounds. He looks like a man, and given that he’s 18 years old, technically I guess he is a man. But he’s 18. Just graduated high school. Still lives with his parents. He’s a kid, is what he is. A kid faced with a bigger decision than most of us faced at such a young age, and a kid who clearly was overwhelmed by it all. He committed to Southern California. He signed with Notre Dame. He wants to attend UCLA. He’s 18, you know?

Point #1 is that Eddie is just a dumb kid? Are you trying to defend Eddie here or insult him?

Gregg, you have just said that both Eddie and his parents (who must sign the NLI as well even though Eddie is 18) are too stupid to enter into a binding contract. You also point out his first decommit, which is pretty much a base insult for any dumb college football fan to hang their hat on.

Deciding a college is scary, but it definitely helps that Eddie knew that, no matter which school he picked, he would get to attend for free. In my case (and you brought everyone into this straw-man for some reason), I told my parents that I wanted to attend Notre Dame, turning down other scholarships and the chance to continue my baseball “career” at other schools (with scholarship assistance).

I signed the dotted line well before I was required to, much like Eddie did. I was nervous about it at times, but before I did, my parents did this crazy parenting thing and had a discussion with me to make sure I was 100% positive about this, even though I was sold in my mind a month or so prior.

I’m not sure how we survived this process, but we managed.

Empathy would help, and while I don’t expect it from many Notre Dame fans,

And here comes another drive-by insult without anything to back it up. Somehow, we are devoid of empathy because reasons.

I like to think the rest of you are capable of putting yourself in the shoes of a high school senior being pursued by famous men at famous college football programs, and the mind-blowing whir that must pass for a normal day when Lane Kiffin is calling you and Brian Kelly is texting you and Jim Mora Jr. is pulling into your driveway.

We are also capable of putting ourselves in the shoes of hundreds of other athletic departments. You know, those people that would be pretty furious at us for setting the worst recruiting precedent ever by declaring a NLI worthless.

That’s a problem we’d all like to have had in high school — but wouldn’t you also like to be given a break if you picked one school, a school 2,000 miles away, a school in a different climate, and then changed your mind? Wouldn’t you like to be excused if you were Eddie Vanderdoes from Auburn, Calif., and you decided after signing with Notre Dame that you’d rather play for UCLA?

Yeah, I’d like to.

I’d also like to have hacks like you fired for writing crap like this instead of being praised for the amount of pageviews you brought in.

Unfortunately, I can’t get everything that I want in life. There are rules, sometimes they are dumb and make no sense, but life sucks. Get a helmet.

If that were me, I’d like that break. If it were my son, I’d like that break. And you know what? If it’s Eddie Vanderdoes, who I wouldn’t know if he knocked on my door, I’d like that break.

See above.

You are still employed by CBS, right? CONGRATS BIG BREAK TO YOU, SIR!

Because it’s the right thing to do.

Gregg Doyel logic: Breaking rules = good, Following rules = stupid, immoral.

But this is the NCAA we’re talking about, and it’s college football we’re talking about, and it’s Brian Kelly and Notre Dame we’re talking about, and the right thing doesn’t always get done in those circles.

Let’s just bypass the fact that Doyel thinks Notre Dame is in the business of being shady and marvel at the fact that he equated ND, the NCAA, and all of college football into one gigantic pot of similarity because that makes sense.

Kelly’s a self-serving phony, is one way of saying it. He flirted with the Philadelphia Eagles after the BCS title game, which was his right. A person should have the freedom to pursue his options, and Brian Kelly exercised that freedom. He pursued the NFL. Then backed off.

But Eddie Vanderdoes cannot flirt with UCLA. Cannot pursue that option. Cannot decide to go to school there — not if he expects to play football this season, or for the four years entitled to college athletes.

Brian Kelly’s contract requires a buyout should flirtation turn into another job. I suppose we could fine amateur student athletes instead, but I guess the NCAA and NLI folks decided that using another valuable commodity common among all student athletes, years of eligibility, was a better way to go.

And this is where Brian Kelly is a complete phony.

You already said that.

How can I say that? You wouldn’t believe how easy it is for me to say that.


See, on National Signing Day in 2012, Kelly had this to say about receiver Deontay Greenberry, who was committed to Notre Dame but signed instead with Houston:

“I used to have a saying [about situations like this one],” Kelly said on Feb. 1, 2012. “I’d rather play against him four times than have to have him with us four years if he’s not the right kind of fit.”

Not a bad saying (though after the comments appeared, Notre Dame’s P.R. department implausibly claimed Kelly wasn’t talking specifically about Greenberry). Hell, I like that saying — and Kelly’s right. If a player doesn’t want to be on your campus, better to deal with him four times a year as an opponent than have to deal with him every day for four years.


Only, Kelly didn’t do that with Vanderdoes. He’s not going to have to “play against him four times” — because he didn’t release Vanderdoes from his National Letter-of-Intent. Vanderdoes can still go to UCLA this fall, but he can’t play. Worse than that, much worse, this year will count as a year of eligibility, meaning he will have four years to play three seasons at UCLA starting in 2014.

Brian Kelly is screwing Eddie Vanderdoes, an 18-year-old who wanted to stay in his home state. Why? Because he can. Because the system sucks.

Gregg, if you published this for say, Bleacher Report (where it belongs), I have a feeling CBS would be pretty pissed at you. They’d probably point at a lot of clauses in your contract and some consequences would come your way. If CBS didn’t, they’d be opening Pandora’s Box and other contracted writers now have precedent to the same.

It would be the same with recruiting. The NLI becomes nothing more than a verbal commitment which already means little these days.

Now I’m sure someone is saying “But Tex, that isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison”. Well…

When Kelly was at Cincinnati — I live in Cincinnati, not that it matters; Mark Dantonio of Michigan State left Cincinnati in 2006, and he’s my favorite football coach — he left for Notre Dame. And he didn’t leave at a good time, either.

He didn’t leave, for example, in June.

Kelly left Cincinnati in December 2009. After Cincinnati had gone 12-0 in the regular season, but before the Bearcats played Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Cincinnati had a shot at perfection, at magic, but Kelly was gone. Why? Because he could. Because the system let him. Because Notre Dame was a better job and who cares if Cincinnati was in the middle of its season?

Brian Kelly didn’t care.

Gregg did it too.

Again, when Kelly did that, there were consequences for it in the form of a contract buyout and you bet your ass Cincinnati is going to make sure they get every penny of that money for the early contract termination.

Further, do you think Cincinnati is going to say in December (or June for that matter), “Well coach, thanks for the time here. Have fun at ND, no hard feelings because we know it’s where you really want to be. We’ll just pretend the contract never happened.”?

Of course not, that would be beyond stupid yet it is precisely what you are asking for here.

Now Eddie Vanderdoes would like to play this season at UCLA. He told Notre Dame in June. That gives Kelly time to find another defensive lineman, if he feels he needs one for the 2013 season. Will that lineman be as good as Vanderdoes? Of course not. Vanderdoes is considered the best recruit at his position in the country.

And now we get to my favorite part of this inane load of bullshit.

Forget the fact that Kelly won’t find a lineman as good as Eddie, he isn’t going to find any recruit at this point. The scholarship now left void by Vanderdoes will likely go to a deserving senior walk-on that is already on the roster.

Why not another recruit beyond a walk-on level? Because, and what a surprise, they are all signed and accounted for at this point. Why not give it to a younger walk-on? Because we need those scholarships for the class of 2014 since they are few in number and ND doesn’t oversign.

The only way Kelly could conceivably get another recruit at this point would be for another recruit to ask for a release from their NLI. Had Notre Dame done the “right thing” as you prescribe, Gregg, do you seriously think any other school would be so gracious after we just screwed them (and everyone else)?

In short, this post of moral outrage is brought to you not just by a man that fails to understand contracts, but recruiting in general.

Not the point.

What? Just your previous load of crap or this entire thing?

Point is, Kelly thought it was fine to leave Cincinnati between games, but he doesn’t think it’s fine for Eddie Vanderdoes to leave Notre Dame before he even reports to Notre Dame. So Vanderdoes can’t play in 2013 for UCLA. And he loses the year of eligibility.

I really hate repeating myself, but since you can’t seem to stop doing so, let me slow it down for you: Brian Kelly broke contract, paid buyout. Eddie Vanderdoes broke contract, paid with year of eligibility.


Kelly wins, but only because of a broken system that rewards craven men like himself, and punishes confused kids like Eddie Vanderdoes.

This is the grand conclusion? Seriously?! Basically the tl;dr of this whole thing is: System sucks, ND sucks, and I offer no rational reason as to why or how to recitfy the glaring issues I see and will just sling mud for about 1,000 words?

I just…well, I think this sums it up:

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  • Bayou Irish

    Doyle’s clearly a nitwit and a troll. To let Vanderdoes out based on the facts as we know them, and assuming they are the same facts known by the Vanderdoeses and by ND, would be to undo the entire NLI program, to which ND signed on. As someone on this site pointed out last week it might have been, I dunno, Vanderdoes, unlike Kiel, signed an NLI. Boom. He signed with ND — not BK. So this b.s. about Kelly gets to flirt with the NFL but kids don’t is crap. Doyle’s a click chaser and nothing more.

  • Mike

    How come Doyle didn’t go after Geno when Elena Delle Donne chose to leave and return to her home state near her family. He wouldn’t release her and cost her a year. I am sure he was worried about her slaying the Huskies with her UD team… what a joke… like stated everywhere… looking for internet hits has really reached an all time low… but with ND references, so easy…..

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  • Hawk

    This post of yours has made me a Her Loyal Sons follower! Awesome article you have written here!

  • David Tyler

    “But this is the NCAA we’re talking about.” Not exactly, Doyel. The NLI is governed through a different entity, as explained here by John Infante:

    I know, it’s a small technicality, but Doyel is consistently one of the worst** in the business and I have no qualms with pointing all any of his flaws.

    **My definition of “worst” and his employer’s are different. He is excellent at what he does (trolling for clicks), and while I feel it is to the detriment of journalism and college football, he is hardly alone in taking that approach.

  • james

    the guy is, was and will always be a low fruit picking douche. anything to get his name around the blogosphere. and you hate to judge people but his mug shot screams dickhead.

  • Bill Merrigan

    Tex Your writing style in this article needs some work. It is not worthy of a Notre Dame Alum. Taking on a hack like that CBSsports columnist is not worthy of anyone with more than a Grade School education. Maybe the next time this columnist spews more garbage towards Notre Dame you host a competition of 9th and 10th graders to respond. Choose a few of the best and post those, at least it would a level playing field. Keep to the high road and God Bless the Irish.

  • PM Guinness

    Well said NDTex!