Dec. 31, 2006

Members of the 2006 University of Notre Dame football squad combined to post a 3.041 grade-point average during the ’06 fall semester, marking the third straight semester (and the first three times in recorded history) that the Irish football team has topped the 3.0 GPA mark as a group.

At the same time head coach Charlie Weis’ first two Irish teams have hit that 3.0 figure three consecutive times, his football teams have combined for a 19-5 on-the-field record in 2005-06, including an unprecedented two straight appearances in Bowl Championship Series games to conclude each of those seasons.

Sixty-one of Weis’ 104 players achieved the 3.0 mark for the `06 fall semester. Seventeen of Notre Dame’s 24 starters (including punter and placekicker) hit the 3.0 level in the fall – with 10 players enrolled in graduate studies and five others graduating in December in only three and a half years of study.

The Irish have been led in the classroom by first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and all-star senior tight end John Carlson with his 3.59 cumulative average as a history major in the College of Arts and Letters.

“The track record of our football squad relative to achieving what it has both on and off the field these last two seasons makes for a strong statement,” says Irish athletics director Kevin White.

“That’s what we expect of our programs at Notre Dame, however it is perhaps an unprecedented accomplishment — and it’s a real tribute to the focus and dedication of our players, coaches, administrators and support staff involved with football.”

The academic accomplishments of the ’06 team follow up on the achievements of Weis’ first team in 2005 that hit the 3.0 mark for the first time ever with a 3.044 combined GPA in the fall semester of ’05. At the time, that marked the highest figure ever attained by the football team. Then, the Notre Dame players followed that up with a combined and unprecedented 3.072 mark in the spring semester of ’06. That ’05 fall semester figure included 56 of 97 players achieving a 3.0 average or higher.

In these same two seasons, Irish quarterback Brady Quinn, receiver Jeff Samardzija, safety Tom Zbikowski and tight end John Carlson all have earned first- or second-team All-America honors from at least one major selector in one or both of those seasons. Weis in 2005 was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America, as the national college coach of the year.