Notre Dame Football Program Placed on Probation for NCAA Violations

Notre Dame
UPI Photo/Mark Wallheiser

Jan. 21 (UPI) — The NCAA placed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s football program on probation for one year due to multiple recruiting violations, it was announced Thursday.

According to an official statement from the NCAA, Notre Dame’s punishment also includes a $5,000 fine and a six-month show-cause order for a former assistant coach who had impermissible off-campus contact with a high school recruit in January 2019.

The individuals involved were former cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght and linebacker Sav’ell Smalls of Garfield High School in Seattle, according to ESPN. Lyght, who was an All-American cornerback at Notre Dame in 1989, was fired in January 2020.

Smalls, one of the top prospects in the 2020 class, signed with Washington. He was mixed up in similar infraction cases involving Florida’s Dan Mullen and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, which led to the pair of head coaches receiving show causes last year for improper recruiting contact.

The NCAA also found that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly had impermissible off-campus contact with a recruit in October 2019. The player recognized Kelly as he walked through a high school cafeteria in Pickerington, Ohio, and requested a photo with him. The NCAA said Kelly initially declined before allowing the picture.

The infractions case was adjudicated through the NCAA’s negotiated resolution process. Notre Dame and the NCAA agreed that the case involved Level II and III violations.


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