University of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly confirmed on Tuesday that freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel, the former Columbus East High School star, no longer is part of his program.
At a news conference to discuss his team and spring football, Kelly said he worked on Kiel’s release last Friday “in terms of compliance.”
“I think we’ve got a 10-day window to get that taken care of,” Kelly said. “We tried to get that all accomplished last week.”
Kelly was asked if Kiel, who didn’t play as a true freshman last season, will have any restrictions on where he might go.
“I don’t think it was a restriction as much as we had an open conversation about the schools,” Kelly said. “Again, I think the schools that he was looking at were in line with the schools that I thought were appropriate relative to who was on our schedule.”
Redshirt freshman Everett Golson won the starting job last season and led the Irish to a 12-1 record, a No. 4 national ranking and a berth in the BCS national championship game. On March 7, stories broke that Kiel would transfer. Neither Kiel nor her parents returned phone calls Tuesday.
Kelly was asked if he was surprised that Kiel had decided to transfer.
“I don’t know that I am surprised,” Kelly said. “We had kind of created an opportunity for him to compete in the spring. So maybe a little surprised from that standpoint because he was actually told that he would be given an opportunity to compete.
“Sometimes when you don’t hear that, you know what I mean, you wouldn’t be surprised because, I’m on the bottom of the depth chart.”
Kelly said it was his understanding that Kiel would finish his spring semester at Notre Dame and then would transfer. That would fulfill his Letter-of-Intent commitments.
A Notre Dame sports information representative said that universities were free to contact Kiel now.
NCAA rules state that a student-athlete can transfer anywhere he/she would like but that athlete’s former school can place restrictions on athletic scholarship money he can receive in some cases. Any restrictions placed on Kiel could be appealed to the NCAA.
Several recruiting services had rated Kiel as the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation coming out of Columbus East. He gave oral commitments to both Indiana and LSU before settling on Notre Dame.
Kiel threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns his senior year at East and finished with a school-record 7,175 yards for his career.