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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Notre Dame

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that University of Notre Dame (“institution” or “ND” or “Notre Dame”) committed violations of NCAA legislation.


Notre Dame, a former assistant football coach (“assistant football coach”), and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that, on January 15, 2019, violations of NCAA legislation occurred in the institution's football program involving impermissible recruiting activity. The parties agreed that this case is Level II-Mitigated for the institution and Level II-Mitigated for the assistant football coach.


In August 2018, the NCAA enforcement staff received information regarding possible violations of NCAA legislation involving the institution's football program. Shortly thereafter, the institution and NCAA enforcement staff began a collaborative investigation.


In January 2019, the NCAA enforcement staff learned that the assistant football coach made an impermissible in-person recruiting contact with a 2020 football prospective student-athlete at his high school. In addition to confirming the violation with the football prospective student-athlete, the impermissible contact was also confirmed with his high school head football coach. The institution terminated the assistant football coach in January 2020. The parties agreed that this violation is Level II.


This case also included two Level III violations detected and reported by the institution involving impermissible recruiting activities by the assistant football coach and the head football coach. The parties agreed that these violations are Level III.


This case was resolved through a negotiated resolution.


The Committee concluded that ND committed the following violations:


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 13.1.1.1 (2018-19) (Level II)


On January 15, 2019, the assistant football coach had an impermissible off-campus recruiting contact with the football prospective student-athlete at his high school, in Seattle, Washington, before July 1 following the completion of his junior year in high school. Specifically, the assistant football coach met in-person with the football prospective student-athlete privately and discussed the institution's interest in him enrolling as a football student-athlete, the value of an education at the institution, and defensive schemes used by the institution.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 13.4.1 (2018-19) (Level III)


Between July 17 and August 9, 2019, the assistant football coach violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 10 impermissible text messages to a 2021 football prospective student-athlete prior to September 1 of the beginning of his junior year in high school. Specifically, the assistant football coach mistakenly believed him to be a 2020 prospect and sent him one text message July 17, 2019, three text messages August 7, 2019, and six text messages August 9, 2019.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 13.1.1.1 (2019-20) (Level III)


On October 18, 2019, the head football coach had an impermissible off-campus recruiting contact with a 2021 football prospective student-athlete at his high school in Pickerington, Ohio, before July 1, following the completion of his junior year in high school. Specifically, while visiting Pickerington during the fall football evaluation period, the head football coach was being escorted through the high school's cafeteria when the football prospective student-athlete recognized the head football coach and requested a photo with him. The head football coach initially declined, but ultimately allowed the photo.


Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in accordance with NCAA Bylaws 19.9.3 and 19.9.4


Aggravating Factors for the Institution


A history of Level I, Level II or major violations by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(b).


Mitigating Factors for the Institution


Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and (for an institution) imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).


Affirmative steps to expedite the final resolution of the matter. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(c).


An established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(d).

Implementation of a system of compliance methods designed to ensure rules compliance and satisfaction of institutional/coaches' control standards. NCAA Bylaws 19.9.4-(e).


Aggravating Factors for the Assistant Football Coach


None.


Mitigating Factors for the Assistant Football Coach


Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, and acceptance of responsibility. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).


The absence of prior conclusions of Level I, Level II or major violations committed by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(h).


As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized ND as follows:


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Probation: One year of probation from January 21, 2021 through January 20, 2022.


3. Financial penalty: The institution will pay a fine of $5,000 to the NCAA.


4. Recruiting Restrictions: (a) The institution shall reduce the number of official visits for football by one during the 2020-21 academic year; (b) The institution shall reduce the number of unofficial visits for football by 14 days during the 2020-21 academic year; and (c) The institution shall impose a seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the entire football coaching staff for the 2021 spring off-campus recruiting period.


5. The institution ceased the recruitment of the football prospective student-athlete.


6. The institution shall ban the recruitment of any football prospective student-athlete at the prospect's high school for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.


7. Show-cause order: The former assistant football coach was personally involved in an impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete. Therefore, the former assistant football coach shall be subject to a six-month show-cause order from January 21, 2021 through July 20, 2021. In accordance with Bylaw 19.9.5.4 and NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions Internal Operating Procedure 5-15-3, any employing member institution shall require the assistant football coach to serve a one-game suspension, including all athletically related activities on the day of the game and be suspended from all recruiting activity during the next available recruiting period. The employing member institution shall provide the assistant football coach additional one-on-one rules education. Any member institution that employs the former assistant football coach in an athletically related position during the six-month show-cause period shall abide by the terms of the show-cause order unless it contacts the office of the Committees on Infractions to make arrangements to show cause why the terms of the order should not apply.

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