Notre Dame va­cates wins from 2012, 2013

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Tom Coyne

The NCAA ruled Tues­day that Notre Dame’s foot­ball pro­gram must va­cate wins from 2012 and 2013 due to a stu­dent ath­letic trainer who did course­work for play­ers, plus other vi­o­la­tions.

SOUTH BEND, IND. >> Brian Kelly’s worst sea­son at Notre Dame took a em­bar­rass­ing turn Tues­day as the NCAA an­nounced that aca­demic mis­con­duct or­ches­trated by a stu­dent ath­letic trainer will cost the sto­ried pro­gram all 21 vic­to­ries from the 2012-13 sea­sons, in­clud­ing the 12-0 run that vaulted the Fight­ing Ir­ish into the national cham­pi­onship game against Alabama.

It marked just the fourth time the NCAA has cited Notre Dame for a ma­jor rules vi­o­la­tion. The va­cated games in­clude Notre Dame’s 12-0 record in 2012, their best reg­u­lar sea­son since win­ning their last national cham­pi­onship in 1988. The sea­son fin­ished with an em­bar­rass­ing 42-14 loss to the Crim­son Tide in the ti­tle game and the rev­e­la­tion that line­backer Manti Te’o had been the vic­tim of a fake girl­friend hoax.

The school ripped the NCAA for its de­ci­sion to va­cate the wins and im­me­di­ately said it would ap­peal. The Rev. John Jenkins, the univer­sity pres­i­dent, said the NCAA has never be­fore va­cated records in such a case.

“We be­lieve that im­po­si­tion of the va­ca­tion of records penalty with­out se­ri­ous un­der­ly­ing in­sti­tu­tional mis­con­duct will not pri­mar­ily pun­ish those re­spon­si­ble for the mis­con­duct, but rather will pun­ish coaches, stu­dent-ath­letes and in­deed the en­tire in­sti­tu­tion who did noth­ing wrong and, with re­gard to this case, did ev­ery­thing right,” Jenkins said. He noted the NCAA has since voted to change the rule that brought this case un­der NCAA ju­ris­dic­tion rather than leav­ing such de­ci­sions to in­di­vid­ual schools.

The Di­vi­sion I Com­mit­tee on In­frac­tions panel also put Notre Dame on pro­ba­tion for a year and or­dered a $5,000 fine, penal­ties the school agreed with. There were no bowl or schol­ar­ship pun­ish­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to the NCAA, the trainer was em­ployed by the athletics de­part­ment from fall 2009 through the spring of 2013 and “par­tially or wholly com­pleted nu­mer­ous aca­demic as­sign­ments for foot­ball stu­dent-ath­letes in nu­mer­ous cour­ses” from 2011 into 2013. It said she did sub­stan­tial course­work for two play­ers and gave im­per­mis­si­ble help to six oth­ers in 18 cour­ses over two aca­demic years. The NCAA said the woman “con­tin­ued to pro­vide im­per­mis­si­ble aca­demic ben­e­fits to foot­ball stu­dent-ath­letes for a full year af­ter she grad­u­ated” and was in her first year of law school else­where.

In all, the NCAA said, three ath­letes would up play­ing while in­el­i­gi­ble, one dur­ing the 2012 sea­son and the other two the fol­low­ing sea­son, when the Ir­ish went 9-4.

Kelly said he knew the va­cated wins were a pos­si­bil­ity since Notre Dame of­fi­cials met with the NCAA sev­eral months ago. He said he had hoped “rea­son­able peo­ple would come to a rea­son­able de­ci­sion.”

DARRON CUM­MINGS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Notre Dame’s Nicky Baratti, sec­ond from right, is con­grat­u­lated by team­mates af­ter in­ter­cept­ing a pass in­tended for Michi­gan’s Drew Dileo in 2012. The NCAA is or­der­ing Notre Dame to va­cate wins from its 2012 and 2013 foot­ball sea­sons be­cause a stu­dent ath­letic trainer com­mit­ted aca­demic mis­con­duct by do­ing sub­stan­tial course work for two play­ers and giv­ing six oth­ers im­per­mis­si­ble aca­demic ex­tra ben­e­fits.

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