Greg Bryant’s career at Notre Dame could have ended this week when the University ruled him academically ineligible. Instead, the junior running back has made the decision to return to the University as a student, his father, Greg Bryant Sr., told Irish Illustrated on Thursday.
Bryant Sr., who played part of his college career at Butler Community College, said multiple junior colleges reached out about a transfer, which would have made Bryant eligible this season with an eye on transferring back to the FBS level as a senior.
“That’s not the right choice to make when you have the opportunity to come back to Notre Dame,” Bryant Sr. said. “If he couldn’t have come back to Notre Dame and junior college was his only choice, you have to go with it. But when you have the opportunity to come back to Notre Dame, you don’t walk away from that.”
During his press conference to preview training camp on Thursday, head coach Brian Kelly said he’d welcome the running back’s return if Bryant was serious about getting his academics in order. Bryant’s GPA had fallen below a 2.0 after summer school, making him ineligible.
Bryant Sr. said his son received a B- in a summer school course and needed a B+ to remain eligible.
Notre Dame put out a press release following the news of Bryant’s ineligibility, with Kelly stating the running back had not met expectations. Kelly expended on Bryant’s status Thursday.
“I'd like to have Greg back if Greg's committed to getting his degree at Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “He's got to be committed. If he's committed to getting his degree at Notre Dame, committed to utilizing the resources that we have here, I'd love to have Greg Bryant back.”
If all goes to plan, Bryant will return on Aug. 22 with the fall semester set to begin on Aug. 25. Bryant Sr. was unclear how much contact his son could have with the roster, whether that meant working out, practicing or attending meetings. He expressed hope the running back would be allowed to remain involved.
“Hopefully he can stay active enough where he’s not totally left out of the program,” Bryant Sr. said. “I’m going to be on him to do the right thing. Now that this has been taken away from him for real, it’s going to be an uphill battle. But it’s a fight to do at Notre Dame, not a time to run from Notre Dame.”
If Bryant can regain his eligibility next spring he could have two seasons of competition remaining on his eligibility clock. Bryant played sparingly as a true freshman before taking a medical red-shirt due to knee tendonitis.
Bryant rushed for 289 yards and three touchdowns last season and appeared set to compete for the back-up job behind Tarean Folston this fall. With Bryant out, Notre Dame will audition receiver Justin Brent at running back during fall camp behind Folston and C.J. Prosise.