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Notre Dame football program violated NCAA recruiting contact rules

Download the Jan. 2021 University of Notre Dame Public Negotiated Resoultion

The Notre Dame football program violated NCAA recruiting contact rules, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

The university, former assistant football coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the former assistant coach had impermissible contact with a prospect when he met privately with the prospect at his high school before July 1 after the completion of his junior year of high school. During that meeting, the former assistant coach expressed the school’s interest in recruiting the prospect. The former assistant football coach also had exchanged impermissible text messages with another prospect on 10 occasions.

The case also involved a Level III recruiting violation involving the head football coach. Specifically, after initially declining a request, the head football coach impermissibly posed for a photo with another prospect while visiting the prospect’s high school during the fall evaluation period.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university, the involved coaches and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The Division I Committee on Infractions reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the Association and whether the agreed-upon penalties were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases.

The university and the enforcement staff used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level II-mitigated penalties for the university and Level II-mitigated penalties for the former assistant coach. The report contains the full list of penalties as approved by the Committee on Infractions, including:

  • One year of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • A six-month show-cause order for the former assistant football coach, including a one-game suspension at any employing member school.
  • Reduced football official visits for the 2020-21 academic year by one.
  • Reduced football unofficial visits by 14 days for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • A seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the entire football staff during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • The university ended the recruitment of the prospect.
  • The university will not recruit any prospects from the high school in Seattle from the 2019-20 through 2021-22 academic years.

If an opportunity to serve a penalty will not be available due to circumstances related to COVID-19, the penalty must be served at the next available opportunity.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from the NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State and Bowling Green; Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer for the panel and vice president for administration and director of athletics at Xavier; and Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.