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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

BREAKING | Notre Dame Acknowledges Recruiting Violations

January 21, 2021

(Audio version of this story available here)

Notre Dame and the NCAA announced an agreement today with the University acknowledging recruiting contact violations and accepting enforcement penalties via the NCAA’s Negotiated Resolution Process.

The violations stem from impermissible in-person contact with a recruit, impermissible text messages with a recruit and Irish head coach Brian Kelly posing for a photo with a recruit at his high school.

According to the report, the Irish have accepted the following penalties:

  • 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.

University Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick released a statement, acknowledging the violations while noting Notre Dame pushed back on the severity of the penalties.

“Any violation of NCAA rules is unacceptable and Notre Dame Athletics takes full responsibility for its actions in this regard,” Swarbrick said in the statement. “While we made clear to the NCAA our view that the agreed-upon penalties exceeded the nature of the infractions, we accept the final outcome of the case. In addition, the assistant coach involved is no longer employed by the University."

The show-cause order for the assistant coach would suggest he’s not currently employed by any NCAA member institution at the current time since a school hiring him would have to appeal to the NCAA to do so without facing the penalties themselves.

The NCAA report says the former Irish assistant met privately with a prospect prior to July 1 after his junior year of high school. It also says he exchanged impermissible text messages with a separate recruit on 10 occasions.

The infraction involving Kelly is considered a Level III violation and specifically notes that Kelly initially declined the request for the photo.

If the penalties can’t be served because of circumstances related to COVID-19, they must be served at the next available opportunity, according to the report.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde, this case stems from the same case that resulted in penalties for both Florida and Texas A&M. That case was centered on trips to the high school by college coaches back in January of 2019.

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