(CBS) Notre Dame has been asked to vacate its wins from the 2012 and 2013 football seasons due to academic misconduct, as requested by the NCAA.
The NCAA announced its recommendation Tuesday with its announcement that Notre Dame committed academic misconduct. Its revelations claim that a former Notre Dame athletic trainer provided two football players and six other athletes with impermissible academic benefits, as announced by the Division I Committee on Infractions.
Notre Dame said Tuesday that it will appeal the ruling. Coach Brian Kelly stated that he has zero culpability in the matter.
The university issued a statement attributed to president Fr. John Jenkins:
“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.
“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. We are also concerned that establishing this precedent will infringe on universities’ autonomy in deterring academic dishonesty, for it will discourage the retroactive lowering of grades even when an honor code committee deems this appropriate.
“As we said at the outset of this investigation, Notre Dame would willingly accept a vacation of records penalty if it were appropriate. It is not in this case. Indeed, should this precedent stand, it could create a perverse incentive that will discourage institutions from investigating so aggressively and imposing the penalties for academic dishonesty that their honesty committees might judge appropriate.”
Notre Dame went 12-0 in the 2012 season and reached the BCS National Championship before losing to Alabama.