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University issues statement on academic dishonesty investigation

| Sunday, October 5, 2014

The academic dishonesty hearings for the five players withheld from football concluded Friday, but the University will not disclose the results of its inquiry, a University spokesman said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon.

Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications, said decisions will be communicated directly to the individual student-athletes affected as deliberations on each case conclude.

“As with other student academic records, the results of the review are confidential, and the University will not disclose them, although affected students may if they so choose,” Browne said in the statement. “If it is determined that student-athletes would have been ineligible during past competition, Notre Dame will voluntarily impose  appropriate sanctions, report our findings to the NCAA and await its independent review.”

Notre Dame announced its investigation Aug. 15, and Irish junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell, senior receiver DaVaris Daniels, senior defensive end Ishaq Williams, graduate student linebacker Kendall Moore and senior safety Eilar Hardy have been held out of practice and competition during the probe into “suspected academic dishonesty.”

The University said “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 July 29. Notre Dame said the Office of General Counsel then initiated “an immediate investigation.”

Browne’s statement addressed for the first time the makeup of the Honesty Committees involved in the investigation.

“Often, an academic honesty review involves one student and one academic department,” he said. “Due to the complexity of cases involving multiple disciplines, Comprehensive Honesty Committees were impaneled to review memoranda and extensive exhibits compiled in connection with the General Counsel’s initial inquiry, interview witnesses and the subjects of the hearings and potentially impose sanctions subject to appeal.

“A faculty reporter was also appointed to review voluminous material collected during the General Counsel’s investigation to identify cases for the Comprehensive Committees’ review.”

According to Notre Dame’s website, Russell is in the Mendoza College of Business, while Daniels, Williams and Hardy are in the College of Arts and Letters. Moore, who is currently enrolled in graduate courses, graduated in May from the College of Arts and Letters.

In the statement, Browne provided a link to the updated online text of the honor code, revised May 5, 2014, according to the site. Before this weekend, the version available online dated back to 2011.

“The principle purpose of the Honor Code process is to educate our students as to the importance of academic integrity,” Browne said in the statement. “The process is time-consuming because it is thorough, as it must be to ensure integrity and fairness.

“Having said that, we recognize it can be difficult for students, regardless of culpability, who are subject to such reviews, especially when public scrutiny becomes so magnified for those who are student-athletes. We are working to resolve these situations as quickly as possible.”

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