Notre Dame will let players reveal results of academic fraud probe

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame will not be announcing the results of its academic fraud investigation and subsequent honest committee hearings, a university spokesman said Sunday.

Instead, the decisions regarding the fate of the five players involved will be communicated to those five student-athletes directly, and then it will be up to them to disclose their status, per Paul J. Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications at the University of Notre Dame.

Starters cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams and wide receiver DaVaris Daniels along with reserve linebacker Kendall Moore, have been held out of competition, practices and team meetings since Aug. 15, although all four remained full-time students.

Backup safety Eilar Hardy joined them in limbo on Aug. 28.

Here’s Browne’s statement in its entirety:

On August 15 the Office of General Counsel of the University of Notre Dame notified the NCAA that because of potential ineligibility issues, the University was withholding from football participation certain student-athletes as part of an inquiry into possible academic dishonesty involving several other students as well. The NCAA was also informed that upon the start of the academic year later in the month, appropriate University committees would meet to develop review processes consistent with the Undergraduate Academic Code of Honor.

Often, an academic honesty review involves one student and one academic department. 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.

Hearings for those withheld from football were completed on Friday. Decisions will be communicated individually to affected student-athletes and other students alike, 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. 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.

The principal purpose of the Honor Code process (see http://honorcode.nd.edu/) is to educate our students as to the importance of academic integrity. 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.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said Wedneday morning that there is no change in the status of the five players held out of practice and games because of the academic fraud investigation. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)