Updates from Thursday, Sept. 4
Andrew Owens of Blue and Gold Illustrated and Matt Fortuna of ESPN provides an update on Notre Dame's investigation from head coach Brian Kelly:
Brian Kelly: “If I got them back tomorrow, they’d play Saturday.” #NotreDame— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) September 4, 2014
Updates from Sunday, Aug. 31
Head coach of Brian Kelly commented on the status of his suspended players (via Irish Sports Daily):
BK: No update on 5 suspended players— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) August 31, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 28
Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times provides the latest development in the academic investigation surrounding Notre Dame:
(1/2) Notre Dame spokesman: "A decision has been made to hold a fifth football player out from practice and competition. …— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) August 28, 2014
(2/2) " … As with all cases of suspected academic dishonesty, the matter will now be subject to the University's honor code process."— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) August 28, 2014
Matt Fortuna of ESPN has more on the new player who may be involved:
Rachel Terlep of The Elkhart Truth passes along comments from coach Brian Kelly:
#NotreDame HC Brian Kelly said he does not know what the outcome is going to be, but “we are now moving very quickly” toward resolution.— Rachel Terlep (@eTruth_Irish) August 28, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 26
Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com reported on the status of the players at the center of the academic investigation surrounding Notre Dame:
The four Notre Dame players at the heart of the school's academic probe will not play in the No. 17 Fighting Irish's season opener Saturday against Rice, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive end Ishaq Williams, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and linebacker Kendall Moore have all been suspended since Aug. 15 following an internal investigation that the school launched surrounding potential academic misconduct. Daniels, Williams and Russell had entered fall camp as projected starters. None of the four players were on the team's Week 1 depth chart released Tuesday.
"I'm sure Jack will inform me once he gets information," Kelly said. "He's pretty good at getting right back with me. So it's not something where I feel l've got to pick up the phone. ... Jack Swarbrick is great with immediately getting me information that is needed relative to making decisions for our football team."
Updates from Saturday, Aug. 16
Andrew Owens of Blue and Gold Illustrated provides comments from coach Brian Kelly:
Kelly says he can’t answer questions on the academic investigation because he “doesn’t have a lot of facts."— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 16, 2014
Kelly: Swarbrick notified him of “academic improprieties” Thursday in the AD’s office.— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 16, 2014
Kelly: “I was informed by Jack and for me my emotions were shock and disappointment at the time.”— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 16, 2014
#NotreDame HC Brian Kelly: “We hold our players to a very high standard. … We don’t say one thing and do another. … We don’t look away."— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 16, 2014
Kelly says he has not spoken with the four players yet. Plans to do so in the next 24 hours. #NotreDame— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 16, 2014
Kelly: “One of the reasons I came here was because of the preeminent Catholic values. … One of them is integrity.”— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 16, 2014
Blue and Gold News has more from Kelly:
Kelly: “I have another 100 players I have to be concerned with. My focus and attention is to continue to develop our players."— Blue and Gold News (@BGInews) August 16, 2014
Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels denies the allegations against him, according to CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler:
Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels has maintained he writes his own papers and likely relayed that message to Notre Dame officials in an interview this week, a source close to Daniels told CBSSports.com.
Daniels, the team's leading returning receiver, is one of four Irish players in the center of an academic investigation conducted by the school. Cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore are the others.
"He said he wrote all his papers," the source said. "They asked him about some emails and papers that he wrote. He told them what he knew."
The University of Notre Dame is looking into potential academic fraud that could result in major ramifications for four Fighting Irish football players.
Irish Illustrated shares a message from university president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., via Notre Dame's press conference:
Rev. Jenkins: At this juncture, no one has been dismissed or judged guilty of academic dishonestly.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) August 15, 2014
NFL at CFB's Bryan Fischer has more detail:
Jenkins: ND academic staffer suspected cheating on papers, compliance was informed and started investigation.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) August 15, 2014
Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel has more from Jenkins on Brian Kelly and a possible plan of action:
Notre Dame president John Jenkins: "We have great confidence in Brian [Kelly] and his staff and they've been nothing but cooperative."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
"If [ND] determines that the student-athletes would have been ineligible during past competition, it will voluntarily vacate any victories."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
Jenkins keep emphasizing that it's early in the investigation. Won't speculate on how many students involved, how far back cheating began.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
Jenkins: No evidence that Brian Kelly or his staff knew about this. .. Academic staff member notified compliance immediately.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
Mandel also provided insight from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick:
Swarbrick: The 4 players in question are still in school, still on scholarship but being held out of practice and games.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
Swarbrick: This is a university honor code investigation. "We will keep the NCAA apprised. If it has NCAA consequences, we’ll let them know"— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
Swarbrick confirms that the 4 players being held out are DaVaris Daniels, KeiVare Russell, Ishaq Williams and Kendall Moore.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 15, 2014
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports was the first to report that players are facing potential dismissal:
One year after Notre Dame football lost its starting QB, Everett Golson, for the 2013 season after he was caught cheating on an exam, the Fighting Irish team is dealing with the repercussions from more academic fraud.
This time, four starters have been dismissed from ND after the school conducted an internal investigation this summer, sources close to the program told FOX Sports.
Notre Dame also released a statement:
“Integrity is at the heart of our mission and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do. We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating.”
Evidence that students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others was initially detected at the end of the summer session, and referred to the compliance office in athletics on July 29. The Office of General Counsel initiated an immediate investigation.
“The University is committed to thorough resolution of this matter, consistent with its commitment to academic integrity and adherence to NCAA rules," Father Jenkins said.
Feldman noted on Twitter that Notre Dame has been conducting an investigation into academic fraud for a while:
Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune reports that things could be very serious:
A source told the South Bend Tribune the scale of alleged fraud is comparable to the highly publicized case at the University of North Carolina and that a former player or players could be tied in as well.
Golson was allowed back in school last spring, and head coach Brian Kelly has named him the starting quarterback for Notre Dame's first game against Rice, per Dan Murphy of 247Sports.com:
However, per Feldman's initial report, it is "unclear" if the four dismissed players will be afforded the same opportunity as Golson.
Some of the names in question were expected to play key roles for the Fighting Irish in 2014. Daniels was the team's second most productive receiver last year with 49 receptions, 745 yards and seven touchdowns. Russell had 51 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one interception.
Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious athletic and academic schools in the country. It's commendable that the school was able to get ahead of this situation to conduct an internal investigation.
The results of the investigation should be interesting, not just because of what it means for the football team, but also for how the school goes about ensuring an investigation of this kind doesn't have to happen again.