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NCAA rules Notre Dame football must vacate wins due to academic fraud

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Notre Dame is being forced to vacate all records in which ineligible football players participated during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. This is one of several penalties levied by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions after reviewing the University of Notre Dame’s academic fraud case.

In the 2012-13 season, the Fighting Irish went 12-and-1, losing to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. Notre Dame is also on probation for one year (ending November 22, 2017) and received a $5,000 fine.

Members of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish gather. (Photo: Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

Members of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish gather. (Photo: Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

From the NCAA Release:

A former University of Notre Dame student athletic trainer violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when she committed academic misconduct for two football student-athletes and provided six other football student-athletes with impermissible academic extra benefits, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. One additional football student-athlete committed academic misconduct on his own.

The panel prescribed one year of probation, a two-year show-cause order and disassociation for the former student trainer, and a $5,000 fine for the university. During that time, if a member school hires the former student trainer in an athletically related position, she and the school must appear before a Committee on Infractions panel.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort during which the involved parties collectively submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff, university and involved individuals must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing. The panel reviewing the case held an expedited penalty hearing because the university did not agree with one of the penalties.

During two academic years, the former student trainer and two football student-athletes engaged in academic misconduct when the former student trainer completed coursework for the student-athletes. These student-athletes, in addition to a third football student-athlete, also committed academic misconduct individually. The university determined the three student-athletes violated its academic integrity policies. The misconduct resulted in the student-athletes playing while ineligible — one student-athlete during the 2012-13 season and the other two student-athletes during the 2013-14 season.

The former student trainer also provided impermissible academic assistance to six additional football student-athletes in a total of 18 classes. She provided the assistance while she attended the university and a year after she graduated. Two of the student-athletes violated the university’s academic integrity policies. The remaining four student-athletes were not enrolled at the time the violations were discovered, so they were not subject to the university’s policies.

The panel found the former student trainer violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when she committed academic misconduct and provided the impermissible academic extra benefits. She signed documents outlining that she should not complete academic work for student-athletes, but the panel noted she provided the assistance and did not ask the university’s compliance representatives if her actions would violate university and NCAA rules.

Penalties prescribed by the panel include the following:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • One year of probation from Nov. 22, 2016, through Nov. 21, 2017.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the former student trainer from Nov. 22, 2016, through Nov. 21, 2018. During that time, any NCAA member school that hires her in an athletically related position must appear with her before a Committee on Infractions panel.
  • A disassociation of the former student trainer from the university’s athletics program from Nov. 22, 2016, through Nov. 21, 2018. During this period, the university may not accept assistance in the recruitment of prospects or support of student-athletes from the former student trainer; may not accept donations to the athletics program from the former student trainer; may not extend athletics benefits or privilege to the former student trainer that is not generally available to the public; and must ensure the former student trainer is not involved in the university’s athletics program.
  • A vacation of all records in which student-athletes participated while ineligible during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 football seasons.
  • A $5,000 fine.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Gregory Christopher, athletics director at Xavier University; Thomas Hill, senior policy advisor to the president of Iowa State University; Gregory Sankey, chief hearing officer for this panel, chair of the Committee on Infractions and commissioner for the Southeastern Conference; Larry Parkinson, director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Sankar Suryanarayan, university counsel, Princeton University.