The NCAA made shockwaves on Tuesday when it announced that Notre Dame Football was being forced to vacate two seasons worth of wins after an investigation revealed academic cheating by former players, with the aid of a former student-trainer.
Ordered to vacate two years worth of wins
The Irish are being forced to vacate the 2012-13 season, as well as the 2013-14 seasons. The 2012-13 season was the one where they went 12-1 and made it to the BCS National Championship, where they were defeated by Alabama. The school was also fined $5,000, although they have indicated their intention of appealing the penalties.
The charges stem from a former student trainer who reportedly wrote numerous papers for players, without which they would have been academically ineligible. There were other players who committed academic dishonesty on their own, without the assistance of the student-trainer.
In total, three students were found to have been academically ineligible, one in the 2012-13 season, and two in the 2013-14 season. The athletic department was also placed on probation for one year, and the student-trainer was given a two-year show-cause ban, which means that if they were to be hired by a school in the next two years, the school would have to go before the NCAA and show cause as to why the person should be allowed to return early.
Brian Kelly denies knowledge of situation
Head coach Brian Kelly said that he has no knowledge of this having happened and sees no reason that he won't be back as head coach next season.
"It was a discretionary action by the committee," Kelly said. "It was student-on-student cheating. Nobody was implicated. The NCAA agreed across the board with that finding. And, (the punishment) was clearly excessive. So, as you know, we're going to appeal this. And one of the options or the clear reasons for the appeal is that the penalty is excessive in its discretion and we believe we have ground there."
"We are disappointed in the actions of students who engaged in dishonesty, but we are gratified that the NCAA investigation confirmed the conclusions of our own internal investigation: Notre Dame acted honorably throughout," University president Rev. John Jenkins said in a statement. "As soon as professional staff suspected academic dishonesty on the part of a student, the matter was reported promptly, investigated aggressively and thoroughly, and adjudicated in accord with our Academic Code of Honor procedures and norms.
"We disagree with the decision of the hearing panel to impose, at its own discretion, a vacation of records penalty. In past academic misconduct cases, the Committee on Infractions has imposed this penalty only when it has found serious institutional misconduct, such as actions with the direct involvement or knowledge of a coach or academic personnel, a failure to monitor or a lack of institutional control. The NCAA enforcement staff and the hearing panel agreed with Notre Dame that no such institutional misconduct occurred in this case. Indeed, the only reason the NCAA reviewed the matter was because the misconduct involved a former fellow student who happened to participate in the University's student trainer program -- an activity which involved no responsibility for the academic work of student-athletes."