Notre Dame's president ripped the NCAA's decision to deny the school's appeal to restore 21 vacated football victories from an academic misconduct violation, saying the association "perverted" the notion that universities determine how they police academics. The decision to uphold the November 2016 ruling drops the Fighting Irish's all-time win total to 885. The investigation stemmed from academic misconduct involving a former student athletic trainer.
Nevertheless, the decision wipes the Irish's undefeated regular season from 2012 off the books, as well as the team's 9-4 campaign in 2013 that included a win over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
"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 objective", he wrote.
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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 also fined the school $5,000 and placed it on one years' probation after finding academic misconduct orchestrated by the trainer.
"Let me be clear that we in no way excuse the very serious instances of academic dishonesty committed by our students", Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins wrote in a letter responding to the NCAA's decision. However, the vacated wins are what Notre Dame appealed and the university is none too happy with the committee's rationale.
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NCAA officials on Tuesday denied Notre Dame's appeal of its decision to vacate 21 football wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons. I write this letter so that you can understand the underlying facts, the reasons we believe that the NCAA is in error, and how we intend to move forward. "Therefore, under the bylaws in place at the time of the violations, a student trainer would be considered an institutional employee". Everett Golson, the starting quarterback for the 2012 team, missed the 2013 season because he was suspended from the university due to academics.
"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. Additionally, the university felt it was unfairly punished for enforcing its own honor code by retroactively declaring three football players ineligible in 2014 by process of grade recalculation.
Jenkins refers to the NCAA's decision as a "dangerous precedent" that "turns the seminal concept of academic autonomy on its head". In this case, the university acknowledged the academic misconduct impacted the eligibility of student-athletes and resulted in student-athletes competing while ineligible.
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