Former Kahuku star Alohi Gilman will not be eligible to play for Notre Dame this season after transferring in the offseason from Navy.
Gilman started all 12 games as a freshman for the Midshipmen and earned all-conference honors.
The Fighting Irish asked the NCAA for a waiver that would have allowed Gilman to be eligible this year, but the request was denied. He will not be eligible until the 2018 season unless Notre Dame wins an appeal.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday he was unsure whether they would appeal.
“Alohi Gilman was denied by the NCAA his request for a waiver to the initial transfer eligibility,” Kelly said at a press conference. “We are still in the process of deciding whether to appeal that or not. We haven’t made a final decision on that.”
Gilman, a former Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selection, had 76 tackles and five pass breakups for Navy last season and he played cornerback, safety and outside linebacker.
“(Alohi) knew going in that his chance to obtain immediate eligibility after his D-I to D-I FBS transfer might be 50/50,” Asai Gilman, Alohi’s father, wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday. “It was a compelling case based on the Department of Defense rule change.”
Asai Gilman believes that if Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo supported the Notre Dame waiver, it would have increased the percentage (for approval). Mr. Gilman then mentioned that Niumatalolo told him directly that he was not supporting the waiver.
“The NCAA request for a waiver was based on the Department of Defense/military changing its stance on how professional athletic aspirations would conflict with one’s service,” Asai Gilman continued in his post. “If the DoD did not change the rules, Alohi would have been at Navy right now. It was the matter of just having that NFL option available in the same way; like it was provided to … those before him. This message was part of Alohi’s recruitment to Navy. It’s good to just have a decision from the NCAA finally because the season starts this week.”
In an interview, Gilman made it clear that he understands Niumatalolo’s position was “all business” and that, as a coach himself, respects the decision even though he has a difference of opinion and doesn’t agree.
Gilman added that he would have liked to see more aloha applied in this case for support toward the waiver.
“That is unfortunate,” he said. “With the NCAA decision being final, Alohi is now looking forward to 2018 and committed to preparing himself for next year. Although the decision wasn’t favorable for immediate play in 2017, he is grateful to Coach Ken Niumatalolo and Coach Brian Kelly for giving him the opportunity to pursue his dreams. I’ve counseled him to be passionate about his purpose, optimistic for his outcomes and grateful to God.”
The Fighting Irish open the season at home Saturday against Temple.