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NCAA denies appeal, Notre Dame to vacate football wins from 2012-13, 2013-14

| Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The NCAA announced Tuesday that Notre Dame’s appeal in the University’s academic misconduct case was denied, meaning Notre Dame will vacate all of its football victories from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

University President Fr. John Jenkins released a statement Tuesday morning saying Notre Dame is “deeply disappointed by and strongly disagree with the denial of the University’s appeal.”

Notre Dame’s appeal rested largely on the fact that the academic misconduct was committed by one undergraduate student trainer, not a series of institutional figures, and that the University self-reported the violations to the NCAA once it was aware of them.

Observer File Photo
Former Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell, left, prepares to make a tackle during Notre Dame’s 23-13 win over BYU at Notre Dame Stadium on Nov. 23, 2013. Russell was one of five players suspended in summer 2014 as part of the “Frozen Five” scandal.

“At best, the NCAA’s decision in this case creates a randomness of outcome based solely on how an institution chooses to define its honor code; at worst, it creates an incentive for colleges and universities to change their honor codes to avoid sanctions like that imposed here,” Jenkins said in the statement.

“In this case, the University acknowledged the academic misconduct impacted the eligibility of student-athletes and resulted in student-athletes competing while ineligible,” the NCAA stated in a press release. “The appeals committee found the panel has the authority under NCAA rules to prescribe penalties for academic misconduct violations.”

The penalties stem from a former student-athletic trainer, who committed academic misconduct for two football players and provided six others with impermissible academic benefits, per the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions panel. An additional player committed academic misconduct on his own.

Of the two players that committed academic misconduct with the trainer, one competed while ineligible during the 2012 football season, while the other competed while ineligible throughout the 2013 season. The third player that committed academic misconduct played in five games of the 2013 season.

Observer File Photo
Former Irish wide receiver DaVaris Daniels carries the ball upfield during Notre Dame’s 37-34 win over Arizona State on Oct. 5, 2013, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Daniels was another member of the team suspended as part of the “Frozen Five.”

The investigation began following the so-called “Frozen Five” case in 2014, where five then-Irish football players — wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, safety Eilar Hardy, linebacker Kendall Moore, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive lineman Ishaq Williams — were suspended from the team, with Daniels, Moore, Russell and Williams being dismissed from the University. Hardy returned to action later in the 2014 season, while Russell and Williams each were readmitted to the University in 2015. Russell returned to the field for Notre Dame in 2015, but Williams did not.

The NCAA handed down its original decision in November of 2016. Notre Dame football went 12-1 in the 2012-13 season, losing only to Alabama in the BCS national championship game, and went 9-4 in 2013-14.

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