A two-year investigation over the illegal activities surrounding former UL Lafayette assistant coach David Saunders was finalized by the NCAA Committee of Infractions in mid-January. UL Lafayette would be forced to vacate all wins in which the illegal players participated in and would add an additional year of recruiting restrictions from the three years UL Lafayette already self-imposed.
The University's only task remaining was to conclude which games these illegal players played in and we have now learned what this means for the 2011-2014 seasons. In total, the Ragin' Cajuns will have 22 less wins in the record books including the 2011 and 2013 New Orleans Bowl wins as well as the 2013 SBC Championship.
The year-by-year breakdown is as follows: eight wins vacated from 2011, four from 2012, eight from 2013, and two from 2014. These vacated wins drop Coach Hudspeth's career record at UL Lafayette from 40-24 to 18-24.**(Edited from 18-46. The 22 vacated wins don't move to loss column).
A few things worked in UL Lafayette's favor during this entire process. The NCAA Committee of Infractions typically goes softer on those that self-impose penalties and they agreed that Coach Saunders worked alone. Coach Saunders sees the stiffest of penalties, as he has an eight-year show-cause order. This means that he and the school must go in front of the Committee if Saunders looks to get hired by an FBS university in the future.
So, what does this mean going forward? The past is the past and while it is always nice to say that the Ragin' Cajuns won four-straight New Orleans Bowl championships, it won't impact the team nearly as much as the recruiting restrictions. The team will lose 11 scholarships in total because of these findings (five this past year, three in 2016, three in 2017).
Losing six more future scholarships is never enjoyable to see, but no bowl restriction might be the biggest win for the team. UL Lafayette will have to recruit more efficiently, but being able to get in front of high school recruits and talk about playing at the New Orleans Superdome is a big recruiting tool for high school players in Louisiana and surrounding areas. Schools like USC and Mississippi State have shown us that programs can still pull together championship caliber recruiting classes despite reduced scholarship numbers.
What will be really interesting to see is what the NCAA will do to North Carolina and the allegations surrounding their academic infractions. UL Lafayette received the lowest level of penalties and as the school admitted guilt and self-imposed infractions. UNC could be in serious trouble when/if the NCAA ever decides on what to do with the Tar Heels.