1. On-The-Field Success
As a result of budget increases, scholarship and facility additions, plus other continued improvements over the last several decades, the University of Notre Dame has positioned all 26 of its varsity sports to compete for championships on an annual basis. That across-the-board success was exhibited in 2011-12 by Notre Dame's 17th-place finish (its highest since 2005-06) in the NACDA Directors' Cup Division I all-sports competition (Notre Dame has finished in the top 27 every year since 1998-99). Notre Dame's success in women's sports in 2010-11 produced a fifth-place finish in the Capital One Cup standings for women's sports--based on its 2010 NCAA title in women's soccer and its 2011 NCAA runner-up finish in women's basketball.
Of the 29 all-time national championships won by Notre Dame, the last eight NCAA titles have involved a women's team (women's and men's combined fencing crowns in 1994, 2003, 2005 and 2011; women's soccer in 1995, 2004 and 2010; women's basketball in 2000-01). From 1995-2003, Notre Dame was one of only four schools in all of Division I to win national championships in three different women's sports.
Notre Dame teams combined to win nine conference titles in 2011-12, including eight in the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish women's basketball and men's lacrosse teams claimed BIG EAST regular-season titles -- and the Notre Dame men's swimming, men's indoor track and field, women's tennis, men's outdoor track and field, men's golf, women's rowing teams all were victorious in their respective BIG EAST championships. Impressively, the women's rowing team won the BIG EAST championship for the ninth straight year, which is the longest active streak in the BIG EAST in any sport. The previous longest streak had been 14 by the Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team, a streak that ended with a BIG EAST runner-up finish in 2011. In addition, the Notre Dame men's fencing team won Midwest Fencing Conference titles in 2011.
The most distinguished of Notre Dame's postseason finishes in 2011-12 included:
-- A second straight NCAA runner-up finish in women's basketball
-- An NCAA semifinal appearance in men's lacrosse
-- A 3rd-place finish in the NCAA fencing championships (a combined men's and women's championship)
-- NCAA second-round appearances in men's basketball, men's tennis, and women's tennis
-- An NCAA regional runner-up appearance in softball
-- NCAA first-round appearances in women's soccer and women's lacrosse
-- A Champs Sports Bowl appearance in football
Additional NCAA finishes by Irish teams included 12th in men's indoor track and field, 15th in women's rowing, 22nd in women's cross country, 22nd in women's swimming and diving, 24th in men's cross country, 28th in men's swimming and diving, 31st in men's golf, 38th in women's indoor track and field, and 46th in women's golf.
Final national poll rankings in their respective sports for Notre Dame programs in 2011-12 included:
-- 2nd in women's basketball
-- 3rd in men's lacrosse and women's fencing
-- 4th in men's fencing
-- 9th in women's lacrosse
-- 19th in hockey and women's tennis
-- 25th in men's cross country
-- 29th in women's cross country and men's tennis
-- 50th in women's golf
Seven Notre Dame head coaches were honored as BIG EAST coaches of the year in 2011-12: Tim Welsh (men's swimming), Caiming Xie (men's diving), Kevin Corrigan (men's lacrosse), Jay Louderback (women's tennis), Joe Piane (men's indoor and outdoor track and field), Jim Kubinski (men's golf) and Martin Stone (rowing). Both Mike Brey and Muffet McGraw were honored as regional basketball coaches of the year by their respective national coaches associations.
Many Notre Dame athletes enjoyed individual success throughout the 2011-12 seasons, including 30 All-America citations earned by Irish athletes:
-- Skylar Diggins won the Nancy Lieberman Award as the top point guard in the country in women's basketball.
-- Diggins (women's basketball), Greg Andrews (men's tennis), Shannon Mathews (women's tennis), Max Scodro (men's golf) were named BIG EAST Players of the Year.
-- Notre Dame's distance medley relay squad of Johnathan Shawel, Chris Giesting, Randall Bobb and Jeremy Rae became NCAA champions by winning that race at the 2012 NCAA Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships.
-- Laura Winter (softball) was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year.
-- John Kemp (men's lacrosse) was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year.
-- Kevin Randall (men's lacrosse) was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year.
-- Jack Cooley (men's basketball) as named the BIG EAST Most Improved Player.
-- Bill Bass (men's swimming and diving) was named the BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer at the league championships; Nick Nemetz (men's swimming and diving) was named the BIG EAST Most Outstanding Diver. Kristy Frilling (women's tennis) was named the BIG EAST Most Outstanding Player at the league meet.
-- Scodro and Ashley Armstrong were BIG EAST Championships individual medalists.
Thirteen current or former Irish student-athletes represented Notre Dame at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London: Natalie Achonwa (basketball/Canada), Shannon Boxx (soccer), Candace Chapman (soccer/Canada), Molly Huddle (athletics), Courtney Hurley (fencing), Kelley Hurley (fencing), Lee Kiefer (fencing), Gerek Meinhardt (fencing), Selim Nurudeen (athletics/Nigeria), Amanda Polk (rowing/alternate), Mary Saxer (athletics/alternate), Melissa Tancredi (soccer/Canada) and Mariel Zagunis (fencing).
When the flame was extinguished at the Closing Ceremony for the Games of the XXX Olympiad at the Olympic Stadium in London, England, it capped off an unprecedented run of success by Notre Dame athletes in Olympic competition. A record-setting 11 Fighting Irish athletes participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics, taking home a record-setting five medals (one gold, four bronze), which put Notre Dame in a tie for 14th place among all colleges that fielded athletes at the London Games (according to research compiled by CollegeSports360.com).
Three of the 2012 Fighting Irish Olympic medals came in women's soccer, with American Shannon Boxx (a 1999 Notre Dame graduate) becoming the first Notre Dame athlete to earn three Olympic gold medals, while Canadians Candace Chapman (2005 graduate) and Melissa Tancredi (2004 graduate) led their country to the bronze medal, Canada's first medal of any kind in a traditional team sport since 1936 (silver medal in men's basketball).
In addition, current senior fencer Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren) and alum Kelley Hurley (2010) contributed to the record-setting Notre Dame medal count in London, each earning a bronze for the U.S. in the women's team epee competition. It was the first time the United States had ever won a medal in that event, and the first time an American team of either gender won a team epee medal since 1932, when the U.S. men took bronze.
Notre Dame athletes have earned 14 medals (including eight golds) in the past six Olympiads (four summer, two winter) dating back to 2000, after collecting 11 medals (two golds) combined in 16 prior Olympic Games (15 summer, one winter) that featured competitors with Fighting Irish ties, beginning with the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. As an added note, female athletes have been responsible for earning each of Notre Dame's 14 Olympic medals since 2000.
2. Academic Success
Poised to become the premier center for Catholic intellectual life, the University of Notre Dame is a community of students and teachers dedicated to making the world a better place. As a Catholic university, Notre Dame espouses Christian values and principles that include the development not only of the intellect and the spirit but also the body. Throughout its long and proud history, the Notre Dame has embraced the philosophy that a well-rounded athletics program - including club, intramural and intercollegiate competition - comprises an integral part of its educational mission. This philosophy reflects the pursuit of excellence in intercollegiate athletics within the framework of an academic community committed to the University's educational and religious objectives. The commitment to these objectives is evident in the impressive statistics and honors awarded by the NCAA to the University of Notre Dame for the academic success of its student-athletes. Whether measured by the federal government in its Department of Education report or by the NCAA through its newer Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures, graduation rates for Notre Dame student-athletes continue to rank among the national leaders in all major categories among all Division I-A football-playing colleges and universities, according to the statistics released in 2010-11 by the NCAA.
Here's a summary of the various graduation rate numbers released by the NCAA during the 2011-12 academic year, including details of the NCAA-sponsored GSR and APR surveys, as well as federal rates compiled by the Department of Education (all rankings and comparisons are based on the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions):
A. Graduation Success Rate (four-class averages based on entering classes of 2001 through 2004)
-- Notre Dame ranked first with a .818 percentage as 18 of 22 sports recorded 100 scores (Wake Forest was second at .785 on 11 of 14)
-- In specific sports, Notre Dame ranked first in football (97), tied for first in men's basketball (100), tied for first in women's basketball (100) and second in hockey (at 95, behind the U.S. Air Force Academy at 97).
-- In rankings of all FBS programs, Notre Dame ranked first among all student-athletes (99), first among male student-athletes (98), first among female student-athletes (100), first among black student-athletes (98).
-- Notre Dame produced eight men's scores that ranked first within their respective sports (baseball, basketball, cross country/track and field, fencing, golf, soccer and swimming at 100; football at 97). Hockey at 95 was second. Men's lacrosse at 95 was third. All 11 women's sports ranked first, all with 100 scores.
B. Academic Progress Rate (four-class compilation from 2007-08 through 2010-11)
-- Notre Dame ranked first with 17 sports receiving APR public recognition awards (Duke was second with 13) for ranking in top 10 percent of squads in that sport - 10 men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, hockey, lacrosse, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field) and seven women's sports (cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field).
-- Twelve Notre Dame sports registered perfect 1000 scores - men's basketball, men's cross country, men's golf, men's hockey, men's lacrosse, men's tennis, men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, women's cross country, women's golf, women's softball, women's swimming and diving. Eleven other teams produced scores of 991 or higher.
C. Federal Graduation Rate (entering classes of 2001 through 2004)
-- In rankings of all FBS programs, Notre Dame ranked first among all student-athletes (91), first among male student-athletes (87), first among female student-athletes (96), second among black student-athletes (85, tied with Northwestern and behind only Rice at 93), and fifth among football student-athletes (at 83).
-- Notre Dame produced five men's scores that ranked first within their respective sports (cross country/track and field at 100, fencing at 100, golf at 100, lacrosse at 90, hockey at 91. Swimming at 95 was second. Six women's programs at 100 ranked first (cross country/track and field, crew/rowing, golf, lacrosse, tennis and volleyball). Swimming at 96 was third.
Following the fall 2011 semester, over 61 percent of Notre Dame's student-athletes (424 individuals) boasted at least a 3.0 grade-point average, while more than 66 percent (437) owned that distinction after the spring term. Over 21 percent of Irish student-athletes (146) achieved at least a 3.4 GPA for the fall, while nearly 24 percent (155) hit that standard in the spring. Over 12 percent (83) achieved Dean's List status in the fall, while over 14 percent (95) earned those honors in the spring. Sixteen Notre Dame student-athletes attained perfect 4.0 GPAs in the fall, while 21 recorded that mark in the spring.
The Irish women's golf team, which also enjoyed its most successful season in history on the course in 2011-12, matched that standard in the classroom. The Notre Dame golfers combined for an annual GPA of 3.715 - the highest annual team mark on record. The Irish team boasted a 3.655 GPA in the fall and a 3.776 mark in the spring. That spring figure ranks as the highest team GPA ever recorded and signaled the first time a team has achieved a semester team GPA equal to or above 3.700.
During the 2011-12 season, 21 of Notre Dame 26 teams posted GPAs at or above 3.0, including 21 of 26 in the fall semester and 21 of 24 in the spring (men's and women's cross country are not included in the spring figures). Two Irish teams attained their highest semester GPA in 2011-12: women's golf (3.655 in the spring, 3.776 in the fall), and men's golf (3.604 in the spring). In addition, the women's golf team's current cumulative team GPA of 3.611 is the highest ever on record for any Notre Dame team.
2011-12 BIG EAST Academic All-Stars
The BIG EAST Conference annually recognizes student-athletes who achieve an annual grade point average of 3.0 or higher as conference academic all-stars. During 2011-12, 321of the 480 Irish student-athletes who compete in the BIG EAST--an impressive 67 percent--netted that distinction.
2011-12 BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award Winners
Notre Dame had three of its 22 teams that compete in BIG EAST sports recognized with the 2011-12 BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award. The award recognizes teams with the highest annual grade-point average in each conference sport. The Irish men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, and women's golf teams were recipients of the fifth annual awards. The women's golf team carried a Notre Dame teams' best annual grade-point average of 3.715.
2011-12 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award Winners
Five Irish student-athletes were awarded the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award from the conference's Faculty Athletics Representatives. These awards are given to one student-athlete in each BIG EAST-sponsored sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances and volunteer service to the community. The five honorees matched the most ever for Notre Dame and it ranked second among all BIG EAST schools for the 2011-12 academic year. Those honored in 2011-12 were:
- Skylar Diggins, Women's Basketball
- Rebecca Huffer, Women's Golf
- Shannon Mathews, Women's Tennis
- Blas Moros, Men's Tennis
- Kevin Randall, Men's Lacrosse
One of only two schools with more than 200 student-athletes who have earned Academic All-American distinction, Notre Dame added two to that total in 2011-12. Since the program's inception in 1952, Notre Dame has produced 223 Academic All-Americans, second behind Nebraska. Those honored in 2011-12 were:
- Andrew Hills, CC/Track and Field, 3rd Team
- Manti Te'o, Football, 2nd Team
Here are other academic honors received in 2011-12 by Notre Dame student-athletes and programs:
-- CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame: Ruth Riley (women's basketball)
-- Lowe's Senior Class Award Finalists: Sean Lorenz (hockey), Kevin Randall (men's lacrosse), Natalie Novosel (women's basketball), Greg Klazura (men's soccer)
-- BIG EAST Conference Institutional Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Shannon Mathews (women's tennis), Adam Mena (men's soccer)
-- NCAA 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives Academic Excellence Awards: Spencer Carter (men's cross country, 3.824 GPA), William Davis (men's tennis, 3.914), Christopher Gurries (football, 3.856), Erin Marrone (softball, 3.978), James Redshaw (football, 3.955), David Ruffer (football, 3.926), Daniel Schmitt (men's lacrosse (3.893), Jessica Sullivan (women's track and field, 3.919), Erica Watson (women's cross country, 3.972), Jasmine Williams (women's track and field, 3.821)
-- NCAA Elite 89 Award: Tyler Brenneman (men's lacrosse)
Notre Dame ranks among the top three NCAA Division I institutions in the country in combining athletic and academic achievement, according to the annual rankings released in 2012 by the National Collegiate Scouting Association in Chicago. Notre Dame ranked first among NCAA Division I universities in the annual NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings. The NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings assess the academic and athletics standards of all NCAA and NAIA athletic programs across the country. Rankings are calculated for each college and university at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels by averaging the academic rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the strength of the athletic departments by the NACDA Directors' Cup ranking, plus each school's student-athlete NCAA graduation rate. In the 2012 ratings, Notre Dame finished 17th in athletics, 19th in academic rank and eight in NCAA graduation rank, for an average 15.0 power ranking. This marks the eighth straight year Notre Dame has finished fifth or better in the NCSA rankings.
The University has further committed itself to the goal of providing a top quality education by constructing the state-of-the-art Coleman-Morse building which houses the Academic Services for Student-Athletes Office. This continued emphasis on education provides the University of Notre Dame with the unmatched distinction of success of student-athletes in academics and on the field.
In 1987, the Notre Dame athletic department conducted an extensive assessment of funding available for its Olympic sports program. Since that initial review, every sport has been examined annually to help determine coaching needs, operating budget, travel and scholarships, facilities, support services, promotions, and scheduling. Significant increases in resources for the Olympic sports programs have been developed through budget adjustments, endowment funds, outside contributions, and a major marketing effort. Of particular note are the budgetary increases in the women's programs. In 1986-87 the total operating budget for women's athletics was $880,820.50; in 2011-2012, that amount reached $13.066 million, an increase of more than 1383 percent during that 25-year span. The budgetary outlay for Notre Dame women's sports also has included a significant 12-year jump from 1999-2000 ($5.83 million) to 2011-12 ($13.066 million), an increase of more $7.2 million as the amount has more than doubled during that 12-year span.
4. Participation and Financial Aid
The dramatic increase in the number of varsity sport offerings for women attempts to parallel the increase in the size of the undergraduate female population. In 1978, only 23 percent of the undergraduate population was female. That female ratio grew to 28 percent in 1982 and then to 33 percent in 1987. Five years later, 38 percent of the undergraduate population was female (in 1992), and the athletic department continued to chase a moving target. By October 2011, the undergraduate population was 46.3 percent female. From 1988 to 2012, the percentage of total budgeted grants-in-aid awarded to women increased from 19.0 percent of total grants-in-aid to 41.29 percent of total grants-in aid. Together with fulfilling its commitment to add two new women's programs (lacrosse in 1996 and rowing in 1998), Notre Dame completed a five-year plan in 2000 that resulted in the addition of 22 scholarships to new and existing women's programs. Additionally, under the leadership of former athletics director Kevin White, the athletic department completed a four-year plan to provide all 26 varsity sports with the maximum number of scholarships permitted under NCAA regulations. The plan was completed in 2004-05. Among other goals, this plan added 36 additional scholarships to Notre Dame women's varsity programs.
The University would like to provide additional information concerning Table 6 (Athletically Related Student Aid). First, the athletic student aid detailed in Table 6 includes funding provided for athletes to attend summer school. Athletes are recommended for summer school by their coaches or by the Academic Services for Student-Athletes Office at Notre Dame. Once enrolled in summer school, the amount of aid granted to a student-athlete is proportionate to the amount of aid the student received during the prior academic year. Therefore, sports that predominantly award full scholarships realize a proportionately higher amount of summer school aid for their athletes. For example, athletically-related student aid reflects football program summer aid, which accounts for 49.3 percent of student summer aid. Second, although several women's programs are fully-funded by the University for several years, the number of scholarships actually awarded is at the coach's discretion. During 2011-12 women's programs used 116.6 of 136 scholarships allotted to their programs.
The University of Notre Dame boasts some of the nation's best athletic facilities for its varsity teams. The past two decades have seen Notre Dame athletics experience a tremendous growth, both in terms of number of programs and number and quality of facilities. The 1970s saw the addition of women's athletics and, at the same time, several men's programs gained varsity status. Notre Dame currently sponsors 26 varsity sports (13 men's and 13 women's), all of which have earned or are on their way to national prominence. Along with the growth has come a vast expansion of the University's facilities for its intercollegiate athletic teams.
During 2002-03, the athletic department's master plan for upgrading, renovating, and adding new facilities was presented to the University's administration to incorporate into its overall master plan being developed for the University's future growth. Included in the athletic plans were improvements to enhance the facilities available for all 26 varsity sports over a 10-year span. Now that the sports and facilities addressed in that plan virtually all have come to fruition, the athletics department is in the process of creating a new master plan that will address additional facility needs in the decade to come.
Here's a listing of Notre Dame's most recent facility additions and improvements:
-- Castellan Family Fencing Center--$1.4 million facility that opened in October 2012 with new locker rooms, coaching offices, team room, armorer's office and storage--and 20 new strips for practice and competition. The competition site is the former hockey rink in the Joyce Center fieldhouse.
-- Compton Family Ice Arena--$50 million facility that opened in October 2011, with seating for 5,000 spectators, as well as an additional Olympic-sized sheet of ice to serve University and community needs
-- Arlotta Stadium--opened for the 2010 seasons as the 2,500-seat home for Irish men's and women's lacrosse
-- Alumni Stadium--opened in fall 2009 as the 2,500-seat home for Notre Dame men's and women's soccer
-- Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center--$26.3 million renovation that reopened for the 2009-10 men's and women's basketball and volleyball seasons, with all-new, blue, chair-back seating for 9,149 fans; the Rosenthal Atrium is the new, three-level southern entrance to the building, including ticket offices and a varsity shop; a center-hung scoreboard and video board was added in 2010-11
-- Melissa Cook Stadium--$4.9 million home for Irish softball since 2008 with seating for 1,250; new batting cages were constructed in 2011
-- LaBar Practice Complex--opened in 2008 as the practice facility for Notre Dame football, with two artificial turf fields and one grass field, plus lights and video towers
-- Guglielmino Athletics Complex--96,000-square-foot facility that serves as the day-to-day home for Notre Dame football; opened in 2005 and equipped with football offices, meeting rooms, a football locker room, plus training, strength and conditioning, and meeting facilities used by all 26 varsity athletic programs
-- Robert and Marilyn Rolfs Family All-Season Varsity Golf Facility--$2.1 million indoor golf structure including locker and team rooms, coaches offices, a 5,000-square-foot indoor pitching and putting area, six heated indoor/outdoor hitting bays and a state-of-the-art video analysis system--opened prior to the 2006-07 season and benefiting the men's and women's golf teams
-- Warren Golf Course--opened in 2000 and the home course for both the men's and women's golf teams; a Coore and Crenshaw course, it's ranked as the one of the top 15 collegiate courses nationally and most recently played host to the 2011 NCAA Women's Golf Central Regional
-- Frank Eck Stadium--opened in 1994 as the 2,000-seat home to Irish baseball; it received a major upgrade in 2011 as the home clubhouse was remodeled and named the Pat Murphy Locker Room
-- Eck Tennis Pavilion--opened in 1987 and the year-around indoor home to the Irish men's and women's tennis squads
-- Loftus Center--opened in 1987 as the indoor home of Notre Dame's track and field program, as well as the indoor practice facility for Irish football (includes a full-size football field) and various other teams
-- Haggar Fitness Complex--originally opened in 1987, it doubled in size when the Gug opened in 2005; contains strength and conditioning facilities for all Irish sports teams, including a 45-yard artificial turf field for speed work, a Gatorade hydration station and offices for the strength staff
-- Rolfs Aquatic Center--opened in 1987 on the east side of the Joyce Center as home to the Irish men's and women's swimming squads; locker room renovations were completed for 2011
-- Notre Dame Stadium--originally opened in 1930 and enlarged to its current capacity of 80,795 in 1997, it serves as the home to Notre Dame football and qualifies as one of the most historic campus football facilities anywhere in the country
Several other projects are planned to help bring all of Notre Dame's varsity programs into state-of-the-art settings for their practices and competition. Construction for these additional projects will begin once they are fully funded and designed. Proposed future projects include further renovation to the Joyce Center Fieldhouse/North Dome (a volleyball practice area was added in fall 2012), plus enhancements to facilities in outdoor track and field (to complement the new track that opened in 2010), indoor tennis and rowing.
6. Celebrating History
Notre Dame opened its doors to female students in 1972 and from that time has demonstrated a commitment to creating well-supported opportunities for female student-athletes. Beginning that year, Notre Dame added 14 varsity women's sports (with one dropped) during that 39-year span (field hockey was dropped in 1988 due to dwindling student interest, lack of regional competition, and scheduling problems). Fencing and tennis were the first women's sports to gain official varsity status, beginning in the 1976-77 academic year. The two most recent additions to women's sports, lacrosse and rowing, gained their respective varsity status in 1996 and 1998. These additions bring the number of women's sports to 13, matching the number of offerings for men.
Notre Dame held a year-long celebration during the 2006-07 academic year, in recognition of the 35th anniversary of women's athletics at the University. More than 100 former Notre Dame women's athletes attended the weekend celebration. Two years later in 2008-09 Notre Dame celebrated 60 Years of Success of Black Student-Athletes at Notre Dame with a full year of events.