Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins and Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick held a press conference on Friday evening to address the academic misconduct investigation that Notre Dame confirmed was underway earlier this afternoon. While the two were very careful with their words and limited in what they could share at this time, they did provide some clarity on a few issues.
Since there is a lot of speculation and bad information still floating around after an afternoon of the rumor mill running out of control, here’s a run down of what we know and what we don’t know about this potential academic scandal at the very early stages of the investigation.
What We Know
- Notre Dame compliance was first alerted to the potential academic misconduct on July 29.
- Notre Dame alerted the NCAA this morning of the investigation and their plan of action. Jenkins said that the NCAA is comfortable with the communication from Notre Dame to this point.
- The four players involved are in fact Davaris Daniels, Ishaq Williams, Kendall Moore, and Keivarae Russell. We had previously been refraining from mentioning the players names out of respect for them until the University confirmed them.
- All four players are still enrolled in school and none have been dismissed from the team at this time. They will have full access to all training facilities, training table, etc that come with being a grant in aid player. Multiple media outlets were quick to run with reports that these players have been kicked out of school – looking at you Fox Sports – but those reports were premature and irresponsible journalism.
- All four players are being held out of practice and competition during the investigation. They were informed of the situation on Friday morning.
- Jenkins and Swarbrick still have full faith in Brian Kelly and said that there wasn’t anything that indicated the staff knew anything before the suspicions were first reported.
- Swarbrick told Kelly of the investigation on Thursday and said that the head coach was devastated but supportive of the steps Notre Dame was taking.
- The alleged acts were labeled as academic misconduct and not due to grades.
- The official press release said that the issue at hand dealt with players turning in homework and papers that they did not write themselves.
- If the investigation determines that the eligibility of the players involved was ever compromised (ie if this conduct occurred during previous seasons) Notre Dame would voluntarily vacate those victories.
- There is no evidence right now of there being any aspect of this situation that would have consequences with the NCAA. Swarbrick said that if, during the course of their investigation, they will alert the NCAA.
What We Don’t Know
- We don’t know how far back this issue goes. Jenkins was asked multiple times about how far back they are investigating and every time he said that he wasn’t able to provide those details at this time.
- We don’t know how long this investigation will take.
- We don’t know what potential disciplinary action may await the players should they be found guilty of the alleged actions. Because Jenkins was clear that the alleged actions were academic misconduct and not related to grades, it’s not a given that every player involved will be lost for the year even if they are found to be guilty.
- We don’t know if there are any other former or current players who could be brought into the investigation. Neither Jenkins or Swarbrick would confirm nor deny that other players could be included. Right now it is just the four players mentioned above.
There is still a lot of misinformation out there right now and there is almost certainly going to be a ton of piling on Notre Dame right now without worrying about the facts, but we will be going out of our way to make sure we don’t add to any of that here.