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Here's Why Notre Dame Football Has To Vacate Wins From 2012, 2013 Seasons

Notre Dame's mascot dancing with the band.

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 16: The Leprechaun from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish excites the crowd in front of the Notre Dame Marching band against of the Michigan Wolverines September 16, 2006 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan won 47-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Notre Dame's punishment was upheld today.

The NCAA appeals committee upheld the organization's November 2016 decision to compel Notre Dame to vacate 21 wins from the 2012 and 2013 football seasons.

The original ruling came after a former Notre Dame student trainer was found to have committed academic misconduct. Because Notre Dame had used ineligible players during those two seasons, the Irish were asked to vacate wins.

According to a release today, the trainer “violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when she committed academic misconduct for two football student-athletes and provided six other football student-athletes with impermissible academic extra benefits.”

You can read the NCAA's full release here.

While vacating wins is a pretty hollow punishment--you didn't actually change the outcome of the game--Notre Dame is not happy with the decision. In fact, the university president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. wrote a lengthy letter addressing the NCAA ruling and how the school will handle things going forward.

We are deeply disappointed by and strongly disagree with the denial of the University’s appeal, announced today by the NCAA, of an earlier decision by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to vacate Notre Dame’s 2012 and 2013 football victories due to academic misconduct by several student-athletes. Our concerns go beyond the particulars of our case and the record of two football seasons to the academic autonomy of our institutions, the integrity of college athletics, and the ability of the NCAA to achieve its fundamental purpose. I write this letter so that you can understand the underlying facts, the reasons we believe that the NCAA is in error, and how we intend to move forward.

Let me be clear that we in no way excuse the very serious instances of academic dishonesty committed by our students. Academic fraud strikes at the very heart of our educational mission and the values of Notre Dame. That is why, when we first became aware that academic misconduct might have occurred, we spared no effort, consistent with the procedures of our Honor Code, to investigate each instance of possible academic misconduct. After an exhaustive investigation that covered four months, significant but appropriate penalties were administered by our Honesty Committee to all students found responsible for academic dishonesty, including the three members of our football team whose conduct underlies the vacation of wins penalty, as well as students involved who were not members of any athletic team.

You can read Jenkins' full letter here.

Notre Dame was the 2012 national runner-up, winning 12 games and losing to Alabama in the BCS National Championship. In 2013, the Irish went 9-4 including a Pinstripe Bowl victory over Rutgers.