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 22.214.171.124 (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 126.96.36.199 (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
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: