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Notre Dame Must Vacate 21 Football Wins From 2012, 2013 After NCAA Denies Appeal

Notre Dame's mascot running with a flag.

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish rally performs September 17, 2011at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 31-13. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

Notre Dame must vacate 21 wins from the 2012 and 2013 football seasons.

Back in November 2016, the NCAA ruled that Notre Dame had to vacate its wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to the participation of ineligible players. The punishment came after a former student trainer was found to have committed academic misconduct for football players.

Notre Dame appealed the NCAA's decision. Today, the NCAA appeals committee denied the appeal.

As a result, the Fighting Irish must vacate 21 wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Notre Dame won 12 games in 2012 and finished as the national runner-up, losing to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

Per the NCAA, the former student 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."

In its appeal, the university argued the appeals committee should set aside the vacation of records penalty because the Committee on Infractions panel did not consider the primacy of the university’s role in addressing core academic matters.

In its decision, the appeals committee highlighted that as a member of the NCAA, the university is subject to the Association’s rules, including those related to academic misconduct and the ability to impose penalties for academic misconduct violations. In this case, the university acknowledged the academic misconduct impacted the eligibility of student-athletes and resulted in student-athletes competing while ineligible. The appeals committee found the panel has the authority under NCAA rules to prescribe penalties for academic misconduct violations.

The university also argued that the penalty is excessive since there was no university involvement or knowledge of the academic conduct. The appeals committee confirmed that at the time of the violations, the athletic training student was considered a university employee under NCAA rules.

You can read the full NCAA release here.

Overall, the vacation of wins always seems like a hollow punishment. The games happened, we all know who won, and the NCAA can't go back and change that.

However, this is a pretty big black eye for an institution which prides itself on maintaining high academic standards. You can bet Notre Dame is embarrassed.