Originally Posted by Sea Ray
To the best of my knowledge there is nothing to apply for in Luck's case. NCAA rules allow you 5 yrs to complete 4 yrs of athletics. If you sit out your freshman year you are allowed to play four more without any school or governing body signing off on it so I disagree with your statement that he must apply for a 5th yr.
You're mixing up NCAA rules with what Hoosier Red said about Notre Dame policy (and then wondering aloud if Stanford had the same policy -- which, based on a roster glance, it does).
If you are at Notre Dame and finish your fourth year having only played three, you do not need to petition the NCAA to play the fifth year. You do, however, need special approval from Notre Dame to come back and play it at Notre Dame.
It's semantics to an extent because scholarships always have to be renewed on an annual basis. But it does affect how the school refers to players' classes. At a normal school, a player who plays five years has this typical sequence:
Freshman, Redshirt Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
That's just a custom, though, it's not an NCAA-mandated thing. At Stanford, the progression goes:
Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Redshirt Senior
At Notre Dame, I think they have a different name for the fifth-year guys but it's based on the same principle -- "seniors" are fourth-year players, and it may or may not be their final year of eligibility.
So, by Stanford's figuring, Andrew Luck was a senior this year. At most schools, he would be called a junior.