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Irish on probation, faces recruiting limits for violations

·2 min read
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, center, talks to officials in the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game against Alabama in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame's football program is on NCAA probation until next January after admitting to recruiting violations in 2019 in which a now-former assistant had an impermissible in-person meeting with one prospect and sent impermissible text messages to another.

The NCAA announced the negotiated resolution Thursday after it was reviewed by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

"Any violation of NCAA rules is unacceptable and Notre Dame Athletics takes full responsibility for its actions in this regard,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a 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.”

Head coach Brian Kelly also was found to have had impermissible off-campus contact with a prospect when he had his picture taken with the prospect at his high school.

The NCAA described the former assistant’s violations as Level II, which are considered significant but not the most egregious in the four-level penalty structure. Kelly’s violation was characterized as Level III.

The number of official recruiting visits Notre Dame can host in 2020-21 will be reduced by one, from 56 to 55, and there will be 14 days when prospects won't be allowed to make unofficial visits. The Irish also will impose a seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the entire staff this spring.

Probation started Thursday, and the school also will pay a $5,000 fine.

The unidentified assistant, if hired by another school, must serve a one-game suspension and be suspended from all recruiting activity during the next available recruiting period. Under a six-month, show-cause order, the former assistant’s new school would have to explain to the satisfaction of the Committee on Infractions why the former assistant shouldn’t be subjected to those penalties.

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