Many people know that I went to school at Notre Dame and worked in the athletics department there for several years both during my time as an undergrad there and after graduation. With the recent announcement that several student athletes are under investigation for academic violations I am being frequently asked what I think about that situation.
Honestly, when I first caught wind of what was happening I was very disappointed. I don’t know the players involved but do know many people at the university and in the athletics department and know how they feel working in a department under such scrutiny for less than ideal circumstances.
Other than disappointment, I also feel proud to be a Notre Dame alum – NOT because a few individuals possibly violated a few important rules (they haven’t been found guilty yet as of this writing, but to be temporarily suspended certainly causes some suspicion) but because the people there take their responsibility to hold everyone accountable very seriously. Based on what I know, Notre Dame self-reports every instance of NCAA rule infractions and is forthcoming about any potential violations there. Even more serious than NCAA rules, the university takes swift and immediate action when enforcing its own rules, especially as it relates to academic honesty.
Every freshman student at Notre Dame (at least when I was there) is given a hard paper copy of the student conduct policies (it might just be digital now) and asked to sign a declaration of personal commitment to obey the rules which have been set forth, most especially as it relates to academic honesty. To sum it up, that policy basically states that you will not cheat, steal, forge, plagiarize or otherwise attempt to act dishonestly in any way, including your academic work. I remember the day I signed that document and took that commitment seriously. Unfortunately, a few individuals chose not to do the same and now must face the consequences.
Notre Dame is a private school and does not have to publish or disclose their investigation of this situation or the results, but I do hope they share what the infractions were and what the consequences will be. The integrity, honesty and morality of these athletes will be tested and I hope they do the right thing and take responsibility. The university will do what is right and take appropriate action based on what they find. Whatever the outcome ends up being, Notre Dame’s actions will be an example to others of what to do when the same thing happens somewhere else. On the other hand, the actions of the students serve also as an example of what NOT to do. Everyone is watching and time will tell.
Don’t let this happen to you, your school, or your team. Do the right thing. Be honest. Tell the truth. Do your own work.