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Notre Dame investigating four players for “suspected academic dishonesty”

| Friday, August 15, 2014

Notre Dame confirmed it is investigating suspected academic dishonesty by several students, including four members of the football team.

The University issued a press release late Friday afternoon and held a press conference with University President Fr. John Jenkins and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick later in the evening.

The press release stated there was evidence “students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others.” According to Notre Dame, the evidence was referred to the compliance office in athletics July 29, and the Office of General Counsel initiated an investigation, which is still ongoing. Notre Dame notified the NCAA on Friday, according to Jenkins.

Swarbrick confirmed reports that senior receiver DaVaris Daniels, graduate student linebacker Kendall Moore, junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell and senior defensive end Ishaq Williams are being held out of practice and competition during the investigation. A source close to the team told The Observer earlier Friday that the four players in question were at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex in the morning but were not present for practice.

“Based on the investigation to date, we had reached a point where we concluded that those four student-athletes should be brought in, and we should have a conversation with them as part of the investigation,” Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick and Jenkins each made clear the four players have not been suspended or dismissed from the University, despite media reports to the contrary.

“At this juncture, no one has been judged responsible for academic dishonesty, no one has been dismissed from the university and no sanctions have been imposed and no judgment has been made,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins did not give a timetable for the investigation.

“We’ll go as quickly as we can but our emphasis will be on thoroughness,” he said.

Jenkins offered his support of Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

“We have great confidence in Brian and his staff,” he said. “And they have been nothing but supportive and helpful in our investigation.”

On the heels of recent academic issues on the football team — senior quarterback Everett Golson was suspended for the fall 2013 semester for what he called “poor academic judgment” and Daniels missed the past spring semester—Swarbrick made a distinction.

“Let’s not confuse academic probation — where you don’t make grades in a semester — with academic dishonesty,” he said. “They are very different things.”

Jenkins declined to address how many students are involved and how far back the investigation could reach.

Swarbrick reiterated the current status of Daniels, Moore, Russell and Williams.

“They remain students at the University,” he said. They remain grant-and-aid students and they continue to have the benefits associated with being a grant-and-aid student—meals, access to training room. … We’re simply holding them out of practice during this investigation.”

Although Jenkins and Swarbrick refused to speculate on the timeframe of the suspected academic dishonesty, the press release stated that if the investigation determines that the four players “would have been ineligible during past competition, Notre Dame will voluntarily vacate any victories in which they participated.”

Notre Dame begins the regular season against Rice on Aug. 30 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish are scheduled to practice Saturday morning on campus.

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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