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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Notre Dame And It’s Brush With The NCAA

The explosion in Coral Gables, the Tattoo Parlor in Columbus, the free rented house in LA, and the ongoing NCAA investigations at UNC and Auburn give pause to the plight of college football.  Is Notre Dame squeaky clean and above the stink coming from the Miami Athletic Program?  Yes and no.

Her name was Kim Dunbar and the year was 1993.  Kim worked for Dominiack Mechanical, Inc., a maker of air conditioning units and heat pumps in South Bend as a bookkeeper.  She kept the books, well actually she cooked the books to the tune of $1.4 million.  
Kim Dunbar
Kim plunked down $25 for membership in the then Notre Dame Quarterback Club.  This entitled her to pay for her lunch every Thursday during football season and listen to coaches and players talk.  It provided the venue for meeting and mingling with players and coaches.  It was the tie that binds.  The NCAA considered Kim “A Notre Dame Booster.”

And so it began from 1993 to 1998.  Kim developed a relationship with at least eight Notre Dame Football players including Derrick Mayes (WR) who joined her on an eight-day trip to Las Vegas.  Same goes for Jarvis Edison (S) who she eventually married after giving birth to his child.  
Jarvis Edison
There were other trips to Dublin and Hawaii for ND games; to Chicago for Bulls games, carriage rides, and driving around in a Land Cruiser; to Cancun; and even up to Kalamazoo for dinner at the Black Swan restaurant.  Electronic gifts, clothes, you name it, Kim bought it.
Derrick Mayes

Eventually Dominiack Mechanical ran out of money and started looking closely at the books and Kim.  As with Nevin Shapiro in Miami, the chickens then all came home to roost.  Dunbar was charged with embezzling from her former employer to the tune of $1.4 million, much of which she used to purchase those lavish gifts and trips for Notre Dame Football players. 
The Fall-Out:

** The Notre Dame football program was placed on probation for two years with the loss of one football scholarship during each of the next two seasons following the NCAA ruling that Notre Dame committed a major violation in regards to gifts to players by a University representative.
**  Some say this was held against Lou Holtz by then Notre Dame President Monk Malloy and Athletic Director Michael Wadsworth and contributed to his falling out and eventual departure.  After all he recruited all eight players then turned around and tried to bring in the street thug Randy Moss.

**  Dunbar pled guilty, and was sentenced to 4 years and $1.2 million in restitution.  She served 1 year and got out in 1999 for good behavior.  Who knows if/where she found the $$$ for the court fine.
**  Derrick Mayes ended up in the NFL.

**  Dominiack never recovered from the financial loss.  It did file a civil lawsuit against Dunbar and some the football players to recoup their losses.  Results unknown.
**  Eventually, Edison and Dunbar split.

**  The Quarterback Club was disbanded.
**  A 21-month internal investigation as part of the Dunbar violation by Notre Dame uncovered two additional incidents.  In the second series of violations, in was determined that reserve quarterback Eric Chappell (QB) attempted to sell his complimentary game tickets to his girlfriend, a part-time tutor for the University, and her friend.  The tutor was also found to have prepared an academic paper for student athlete Darcey Levy (RB), who paid for the paper.  Both Chappell and Levy left the Football Program and the University.
Eric Chappell


Darcey Levy

In Notre Dame’s defense, the term “Major Violation” ended up being applied because of a tie-breaking vote on the severity of the penalty.  All seems quite paltry by today’s standards.  Maybe even a slanted attack against Notre Dame by some NCAA members. 
Back in the 1950’s the Football Program was involved with illegal recruiting practices by holding individual try-outs and athletic measurements.  Again in the early 1970’s their was a violation for applying scholastic aid to athletes or whatever that means.

Let’s hope the Notre Dame NCAA Compliance Department, the Athletic Department, the entire coaching staff, medical staff and support organizations remain ever vigilant and look out for the student athletics.

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