Notre Dame must vacate all records in which football student-athletes participated while ineligible during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 football seasons, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee. The decision to uphold the November 2016 ruling drops the Fighting Irish's all-time win total to 885. In addition to the vacated wins, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions handed down one year of probation, a two-year show-cause order and disassociation for the former trainer and a $5,000 fine for the school.
Notre Dame won 12 games in the 2012 season, which resulted in an undefeated regular season before losing in the BCS National Championship game against Alabama. "Our concerns go beyond the particulars of our case and the record of two football seasons to the academic autonomy of our institutions, the integrity of college athletics and the ability of the NCAA to achieve its fundamental goal", Jenkins added. The teams meet at Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday, Feb. 16, at 7:35 p.m.in Notre Dame's annual White Out/Wear White game. It also found one other Notre Dame player had committed academic misconduct on his own. When these student-athletes competed in 2012 and 2013, the University correctly certified to the NCAA that they were eligible to compete. The appeals committee found the panel has the authority under NCAA rules to prescribe penalties for academic misconduct violations. Notre Dame played in all the games whether the NCAA acknowledges it or not. You'll note that the NCAA's statement above includes the phrase "at the time of the violations".
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"In every other case in the record (where wins are vacated) - meticulously detailed in the University's arguments - the institutional representative of the university was employed as an administrator, coach, or person who served an academic role". If the Committee members chose to depart both from precedent and the position adopted by the NCAA membership, it was incumbent on them to offer an explanation.
"At worst, (this decision) creates an incentive for colleges and universities to change their honor codes to avoid sanctions like that imposed here", Jenkins wrote.
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In its decision, the appeals committee highlighted that as a member of the NCAA, the university is subject to the Association's rules, including those related to academic misconduct and the ability to impose penalties for academic misconduct violations.
"To impose a severe penalty for this retroactive ineligibility establishes a risky precedent and turns the seminal concept of academic autonomy on its head".
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Dan Colleran, Director of Athletics Communications at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs.