The NCAA has imposed a ruling that would force the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to vacate their victories from 2012 and 2013. According to reports, the league made the decision due to the academic violations committed by a member of the university's athletic program.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Notre Dame brought the matter to the NCAA in July of 2014. After a series of investigations, the league's Division I Committee on Infractions discovered that the Fighting Irish' student trainer committed several violations related to some of the players' academic responsibilities.
These included completing the coursework of two football players. In addition, in a total of 18 classes the student-trainer also provided six players with impermissible academic extra benefits.
According to the division, these occurred in 2012 and 2013. Due to the violations committed by the student-trainer, the players involved in the case were able to play in the games of those years even though they were supposed to be ineligible.
As a result, the NCAA has ordered Notre Dame to vacate their victories where the players made appearance from those years. Since the Fighting Irish held a record of 12-1 in 2012 and 9-4 in 2013, this means the team will have to forfeit a total of 21 wins from those seasons.
Head coach Brian Kelly said that Notre Dame will appeal the ruling made by the NCAA.
"It was a discretionary action by the committee," he said according to USA Today. "It was student-on-student cheating. Nobody was implicated. The NCAA agreed across the board with that finding. And, [the punishment] was clearly excessive."
"So, as you know, we're going to appeal this," he added. "And one of the options or the clear reasons for the appeal is that the penalty is excessive in its discretion and we believe we have ground there."
Kelly also believes that the NCAA's decision will not affect his status as coach of Notre Dame.
"This matter has nothing to do with me and my status here," he said. "This academic piece probably strengthens what I've been doing relative to advocating for our student-athletes and academic support staff relative to them being successful."