football-fbs flag | August 16, 2014

Four Notre Dame football players suspended

Notre Dame is investigating suspected academic dishonesty on the part of several students -- including four members of the football team -- according to a statement released Friday by university president Rev. John I. Jenkins.

The university notified the NCAA on Friday and the four football players -- DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams -- will be held out of practice and competition until the conclusion of an ongoing investigation and the university honor code process. Any possible academic dishonesty by other students will be addressed appropriately.

"Integrity is at the heart of our mission and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame," Jenkins said. "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."

On Saturday, head football coach Brian Kelly said, "It’s a privilege to play at Notre Dame, not a right. And we hold our players to a very high standard at Notre Dame.

"There are no shortcuts. We don’t say one thing and do another," Kelly said. "I’m proud of Notre Dame.”

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Kelly said he is unsure if the four players will remain at Notre Dame.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick informed Kelly of the investigation on Thursday, the coach said, and added he was shocked and disappointed. "I care for those four guys deeply," Kelly said.

Kelly said the team is focused on the season opener on Aug. 30 while "preparing for not having four players on our team that we were counting on against Rice."

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.

If the investigation determines that the student-athletes would have been ineligible during past competition, Notre Dame will voluntarily vacate any victories in which they participated.

"The University is committed to thorough resolution of this matter, consistent with its commitment to academic integrity and adherence to NCAA rules," Jenkins said.

Students who are subject to the investigation will remain enrolled until its conclusion.

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