As 4-7 Notre Dame prepares to travel west to Los Angeles to face archrival No.13 USC in their annual season-ending rivalry game against the Trojans, the Irish got hit with a proverbial shillelagh thanks to the NCAA in having to vacate wins due to academic misconduct.
The Irish will vacate 21 wins, including the perfect 12-0 BCS National Championship season, where they would lose to Alabama, and the 9-4 season in 2013. Notre Dame will also be placed on probation for one year ending in 2017.
Per media reports, the violations, which stem from a student athletic trainer completing coursework for student-athletes and providing benefits to six others, comes as a shock to many who consider the South Bend-based Catholic university as a beacon of high academic standing.
Long lauded for their high academic standards—which may have also caused them to miss out on top blue-chip players—Notre Dame has always placed academics over athletics, and whether or not one agrees with this stance or not, their high graduation rate of their student-athletes is nothing short of remarkable.
But for all of their success in academia, whenever one thinks of Notre Dame, fans immediately think of those trademark golden helmets and the Golden Dome. Unfortunately, due to all of their storied success on and off the field, it has also sowed the seeds of arrogance and envy amongst fans and rivals.
Love them or hate them, there is no middle ground when it comes to the Irish.
For rival fans from other academically-equal schools such as Michigan, Boston College, Stanford and USC, a popular retort is their graduation rate when they get beat, or even after getting embarrassed against the Crimson Tide in 2012, various fans chose to talk about their success of graduating their student-athletes, their own network, number of national titles, while chiding the SEC for their lower and inferior standards in offering classes such as “basket weaving”.
All of that goes out of the window now, in what is the ultimate sign of their own self-righteous and pious comeuppance for looking down on other schools for years.
Big-name schools such as Ohio State, North Carolina and long-time rivals such as the aforementioned Trojans and Miami Hurricanes have had their fair share of scandals and violations, etc., and Notre Dame supporters took pleasure in pointing that out. Now, that the shoe is on the other foot, they don’t have that snide rebuttal at their disposal anymore.
Makes you wonder how NBC will spin this, huh?
Some view this as an excuse for Notre Dame to fire Brian Kelly and start fresh. Or perhaps, this is a much-needed wake-up call that Notre Dame is not above anyone else and is humanly fallible.
As a fellow Catholic that believes in karma, if Notre Dame getting punished for what it has preached in academics over athletics and their high student-athlete graduate rate for so long, then I don’t’ know what else is.
Not even Touchdown Jesus can save the now tarnished—and once-golden—Notre Dame on this day.