Grizzlies' athletic director Jim O'Day made the widely publicized rumor official Monday, on record with the western Montana newspaper, The Missoulian. The transfer to an FCS school ensures Montana won't have to sit out one football season due to FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision)transfer rules.
Montana was likely slated for 5th-string duty with the Irish this spring as head coach Brian Kelly noted in late January that only four quarterbacks would receive snaps in an effort to better develop the unit. His transfer opens a spot on Notre Dame's 2011 scholarship list as well, one likely to be filled by a senior walk-on next August.
Kelly released the following statement through Notre Dame athletics:
"After much discussion with Nate regarding his future with our football program, Nate decided it was in his best interests to leave Notre Dame and pursue opportunities at a different school. I enjoyed working with Nate and he was a valuable member of our team this past season. I wish him and his family all the best moving forward."
Montana, who enrolled as a preferred walk-on at Notre Dame in 2008, earned a scholarship last season after his transfer back to the University from Pasadena (Calif.) Community College. His solid effort in the annual Blue Gold Game and standing as one of three scholarship quarterbacks to see action last fall likely the impetus for the decision.
A junior last fall, Montana completed 9 of 18 passes for 116 yards with a touchdown and interception last fall; all but one of his 2010 pass attempts occurred in the first half of a Week Two loss to Michigan.
The Grizzlies finished 7-4 last season, ranked 18th in the Football Championship Subdivision. 2010 was the first season in which the Grizzlies, who appeared in back-to-back FCS title games in 2008-09, failed to qualify for the FCS playoffs since 1992.