Frequently Asked Questions
This document provides the answers to some FAQs related to the public infractions decision involving Notre Dame that was issued by the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) on November 22, 2016.
Q: When was this violation discovered and when was it reported to the NCAA?
A: The University was alerted to the possibility of the academic misconduct in July 2014, due to the diligence and integrity of Notre Dame's Academic Services for Student Athletes staff, and immediately launched an investigation. The University promptly self-reported to the NCAA the existence of possible violations and the commencement of the investigation.
Q: What did Notre Dame's investigation entail?
A: Immediately upon learning of the potential academic misconduct, Notre Dame launched a comprehensive investigation that included numerous in-depth interviews, the review of 95,000 documents, and hundreds of hours of staff time.
Q: How did Notre Dame apply its honor code process to the involved student-athletes?
A: Notre Dame's Honor Code was applied to the student-athletes involved in this NCAA violation as it would be applied to any student. Several student-athletes (and other students) were found responsible under the Notre Dame Honor Code for academic misconduct discovered during the comprehensive investigation. As a result, many students faced sanctions from the University, including temporary dismissal and grade changes in those prior courses in which the students received impermissible assistance.
Q: What was the NCAA's role in the investigation?
A: Upon completion of the institutional process, Notre Dame worked closely with the NCAA Enforcement Staff to determine whether any NCAA rules were violated. Ultimately, Notre Dame and the NCAA Enforcement Staff agreed upon the facts, that certain violations of NCAA Bylaws 10, 14 and 16 occurred, and the overall level of the case (Level II - Mitigated) via a process called summary disposition.
Q: Were any full-time Notre Dame staff involved in this misconduct?
A: No, the case involved only students. There was no involvement in any way from any full-time Notre Dame faculty or staff member. The NCAA investigation confirmed the conclusions of the University's internal investigation: all faculty and staff involved did everything right. As a result, the case DID NOT include the violations of "failure to monitor" or "lack of institutional control."
Q: I thought the person who provided the impermissible academic assistance was employed full-time by Notre Dame as an athletic trainer?
A: No. The penalty was based on impermissible academic assistance provided by a former Notre Dame undergraduate student who participated in the University's student trainer program.
Penalties - General & Probation
Q: What penalties did the COI impose against Notre Dame in the November 22, 2016 decision?
A: The COI imposed the following penalties:
• One year of probation (see below for more information)
• Public reprimand and censure
• Disassociation of the former student athletic trainer for two years
• Vacation of individual records
• $5,000 financial penalty
• Vacation of team records ( *The University is appealing the vacation of team records penalty to the Infractions Appeals Committee [IAC]; the decision of the IAC on this matter will be final. )
Q: What does probation mean?
A: Probation means that there is additional oversight from the NCAA during which Notre Dame is required to provide:
• Enhanced education regarding NCAA rules (with a focus on academic misconduct and extra benefits) and submission of a compliance report detailing such efforts
• Notification to football prospective student-athletes about the violations, penalties and terms of probation
• Public dissemination of a summary of the case
Probation does NOT include any prospective penalty related to competition (e.g., post-season ban) or anything else not set forth in this answer.
Q: Are the University on NCAA probation now?
A: Yes, Notre Dame is on probation from November 22, 2016, through November 21, 2017.
Vacation of Team Records
Q: What are the facts of the violations that led the COI to vacate Notre Dame football wins?
A: Three former football student-athletes committed academic misconduct with a former Notre Dame student trainer. Although Notre Dame accurately certified the student-athletes as eligible to compete prior to their participation in 2012 and 2013, the institution's decision to change the students' past academic records as part of its Honor Code process retroactively rendered one student ineligible to compete in the 2012 season and two students ineligible for the 2013 season. The COI ruled that this retroactive ineligibility of the three student-athletes merited the vacation of all football wins during those two seasons.
Q: Are our wins vacated effectively immediately?
A: Notre Dame's wins are not vacated now because the institution is appealing that penalty. The wins will be vacated if and when Notre Dame loses its appeal that is currently pending with the Infractions Appeals Committee.
Q: Does the proposed penalty to vacate team records affect any team other than football?
A: No, the COI proposed penalty (which is being appealed) affected only football wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Q: How many students were involved in the violations that led to the vacation of football wins?
A: Four former students were involved in the violation that led to the vacation of wins penalty: three former football student-athletes and one former student athletic trainer.
Q: What are the next steps in this process?
A: Notre Dame disagrees with the decision of the COI impose a vacation of wins penalty and is appealing this decision to the Infractions Appeals Committee (IAC). The IAC will hear the case and will issue an opinion in the coming months. Until the IAC renders a decision, the case is not final.
For more information, the NCAA Press Release and full public report are available here: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center.