A day after Yahoo Sports reported that Notre Dame was investigating itself for academic fraud, head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media Saturday following the team’s practice.
“For me, my emotions were shock and disappointment,” Kelly said of learning about the investigation. “I think we’ve brought in the right young men. We have to continue to do a better job educating them.”
After confirming the investigation was underway, Notre Dame president John Jenkins said Friday that Kelly was notified Thursday by athletic director Jack Swarbrick of the investigation into four players – wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore.
Kelly confirmed that he was alerted Thursday and said that he didn’t know any details of the alleged improprieties beyond the involvement of four of his players.
“We hold our players to a very high standard here at Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “It’s a privilege to play at Notre Dame, not a right. We don’t say one thing and do another. I’m proud of Notre Dame.”
Kelly said that the four players will be held out of practice, won’t be a part of team meetings and that the team is preparing like those players will not be available to play in the season opener against Rice at home on August 30.
Three of the four players under investigation – Daniels, Russell and Williams – are starters.
“I care for those four guys deeply,” Kelly said, per the Chicago Tribune. “They’re a part of our program, but I have a job to do and I have another hundred players I have to be concerned with. My focus and attention is on continuing to develop our players on a day-to-day basis.”
As far as the investigation goes, Kelly said that he was told that no additional players on the current team are being investigated. Additionally, Kelly said he has not been questioned and does not think he will be.
In a statement Friday, Notre Dame said there is “evidence that students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others.” The evidence was referred to athletic compliance on July 29, which initiated an “immediate investigation.”
The school said, if necessary, it would voluntarily vacate wins if the investigation reveals that players who would have ineligible under NCAA rules participated in games, including the 2012 national runner-up team.
Kelly says vacating wins in ’12 wouldn’t change his opinion of that season.
— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) August 16, 2014
The university said it notified the NCAA of the investigation on Friday.
For more Notre Dame news, visit IrishIllustrated.com.
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