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Notre Dame President Blasts NCAA

February 14, 2018
 
 

The University of Notre Dame’s president delivered an unusually harsh rebuke of the National Collegiate Athletic Association after it denied the institution’s appeal on an academic fraud case.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions found that a Notre Dame athletics trainer had helped football players cheat, and ordered 21 of the program’s victories from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons vacated.

On Tuesday, the NCAA’s Infractions Appeal Committee rejected the university’s appeal, prompting a lengthy statement from the university's president, the Reverend John I. Jenkins.

Jenkins refers to the NCAA’s decision as a “dangerous precedent” that “turns the seminal concept of academic autonomy on its head.”

“We believe strongly that a university should make decisions core to its academic mission without having to factor in the possible consequences of an athletic association,” Jenkins said in his statement. “The NCAA has not chosen to ignore academic autonomy; it has instead perverted it by divorcing it from its logical and necessary connection to the underlying educational purpose.”

He also references the recent decision by the NCAA not to punish the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for sponsoring nearly two decades of fake courses largely taken advantage of by athletes to remain eligible. The Committee on Infractions, in a widely criticized decision, said then it could not definitively prove the classes were set up solely for the benefit of athletes, with the NCAA accused in that case of being toothless.

“The notion that a university’s exercise of academic autonomy can under NCAA rules lead to exoneration—or to a severe penalty—without regard to the way in which it is used defies logic and any notion of fundamental fairness,” Jenkins said.

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