Those Notre Dame Rumors Just Got Real

Submitted by Brian on August 15th, 2014 at 1:45 PM



This just went from a rumor that was everywhere on Notre Dame boards to a three-alarm fire. The rumor: four Notre Dame players were going to be suspended for the year for some variety of academic fraud. Precisely the four players rumored were just absent from Notre Dame practice:

A foursome of Notre Dame veterans was not seen leaving the Irish practice field Friday afternoon. Cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams, linebacker Kendall Moore and wide receiver DaVaris Daniels were not among the players who exited the LaBar Practice Field Friday.

Notre Dame did not respond to questions about their absence.

And Pat Forde reports that ND is investigating some academic fraud:

That's Notre Dame's top corner (Russell), wide receiver (Daniels), and defensive end (Williams) plus a backup linebacker. Russell and Daniels were on track to get drafted after this season if they entered the draft early; Williams has been a bit of a disappointment after being a five-star recruit.

There were also rumors that ND was going to vacate their 2012 wins over this, which I don't buy since that actually matters to the Irish and UNC just got off scot free for a scandal which I'm just assuming is infinitely worse than whatever tempest in a teapot the Irish are flagellating themselves for.

UPDATE: Bruce Feldman confirms that all four players have been dismissed, whether temporarily or permanently.

UPDATE II (ACE): According to the South Bend Tribune, this could go beyond current players:

A source told the South Bend Tribune the scale of alleged fraud is comparable to the highly publicized case at the University of North Carolina and that a former player or players could be tied in as well.

Repeated attempts for comment and clarity from Notre Dame officials have gone unanswered.

The scope of this is growing by the minute, it seems.

UPDATE III: Notre Dame just released a statement on the matter.

Note: A news conference at 6 p.m. [ET] today will be streamed live on the University’s website,, and the athletics website,

The University of Notre Dame is investigating suspected academic dishonesty on the part of several students, including four members of the football team. Because of the potential for NCAA violations, the University notified the NCAAtoday, and the four football players 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.

This part may also be relevant to your interests.

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

There's also a rumor going around that up to 22(!) current or former players could be involved; thus far that's uncorroborated, however.


Wolverine 73

August 15th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

We have an even better emotional edge: the last game in a series they chickened out of, and did in a sleazy way right before the game in AA started to guarantee they got 2 of the last 3 games at home.  I suspect the coaching staff will remind the players of that when we play them.


August 15th, 2014 at 2:00 PM ^

To Hell With ND!  Screw Them.  Let's beat them 37-0 again, and tell them to PISS OFF!

MICHIGAN is the Leaders and Best.  No one else. 

"When the Old Season is over, it will be....... MICHIGAN, once again."

GO BLUE!  12-0 2014


August 15th, 2014 at 1:58 PM ^

Well, good for them for finding and dealing with this on their own, before someone else forced their hand. SEC schools probably have bag men that deal with whistleblowers.

Looks pretty bad, though.

Everyone Murders

August 15th, 2014 at 3:11 PM ^

I appreciate stephenrjking wanting to give NDU credit for taking action on academic fraud, but until the facts are in we don't know if NDU acted honorably or dishonorably.  As you say, there could be something forcing their hand right now of which we're unaware.

And it's a quirky school.  One one hand, I think they are more above-board on academic issues than most other schools.  And they seem to value acting and being perceived as honorable.  On the other hand, Lizzy Seeberg.  I don't automatically give them the benefit of a doubt.

So by my lights enjoying that fact that NDU is getting negative press and their program may suffer a setback is fine - it's what rival fanbases do.  But it seems way too early to declare NDU honorable or dishonorable with respect to the current academic fraud troubles.


August 15th, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

+1 (maybe) for dealing with this correctly, minus several million for Lizzy Seeberg.

Notre Dame has a long way to go until I can pat them on the back for anything involving player discipline for off-field infractions.


(Edit: hadn't seen that others had already raised that situation. Didn't mean to pile on, but my issue with ND stands.)

Everyone Murders

August 15th, 2014 at 2:01 PM ^

I love the Kelly graphic Brian uses in this post, but could not help but notice that the "At First I Was Like" occurs at the 10:09 mark of the 3rd quarter, while the "Then I Was Like" occurs earlier at the 12:06 mark. 

So not only is he really pissed, but time is going backwards!  Poor Brian Kelly.


August 15th, 2014 at 2:02 PM ^

Does anyone know where the 3pm press conference tidbit is coming from? I'm seeing it said multiple places but cannot figure out a source. (So often in these situations, one person says something and 20 more people just regurgitate it until its everywhere, despite no real source.)

SF Wolverine

August 15th, 2014 at 2:06 PM ^

loss of starters does not help them, to be sure.  But, I expect that the "circle the wagons/next man up, etc" bump might well make up for that loss.  This is not a team that lacks recruiting depth.

But, ND sucks.


August 15th, 2014 at 2:07 PM ^

He looked relaxed and cool as a cucumber, and this must have broke in the last few hours given his comments. He talked about how Russell and Williams were playing well yesterday. I am hoping that ND will stream any press conference.

turd ferguson

August 15th, 2014 at 2:19 PM ^

Oh, for fuck's sake, can we wait to complain about this until York actually wears a Michigan uniform again?  That will probably never happen, so what's the harm in letting the legal process (and whatever internal investigation) play out?

Also, you might want to reconsider what it means to be "all for due process and everything."


August 15th, 2014 at 2:55 PM ^

I'm generally fine with our approach.  Immediately suspend anyone who is in legal trouble, let the process play itself out to let the appropriate authorities gather and weigh evidence, if the justice system decides not to prosecutive, let the coach make his own independed assessment based upon what came out in the process (i.e., not enough evidence to prosecute legally can still be enough evidence to show actions unbecomming of a "Michigan Man"/student athlete) and then make the final decision whether to reinstate/boot.


August 15th, 2014 at 2:15 PM ^

1) What a kick in the nuts. Can you IMAGINE if it were our team and we had just lost Funchess, Countess, Clark, and Jenkins-Stone all on the same day? Hard not to feel for the ND fans out there.

2) Still good for us so I'm not complaining.

3) Good for the team handling it proactively though. You can't MAKE kids do things, but you can make them wish they hadn't done something.