What We Know, Don’t Know After Notre Dame Presser

Notre Dame Academic Fraud
(Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today)

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.

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  1. Two things have happened to me simultaneously – maybe three, when I read about this after being away a few days:
    1. I felt deflated about another season of football ‘underachieving’ because of student misconduct
    2. I felt quite encouraged by how seriously Notre Dame is responding to this. Priorities are in superb order.
    3. I felt a little more keenly why Notre Dame alumni (I am not one) love their school so fiercely. It transcends the field.

    When I was 7 years old my father, a devout Catholic, sat me down and told me ‘this is the football team we support in this family.’ I hope, when my 6 year old comes of age, I will have the finances, and she will have the resume, to have the privilege of attending Notre Dame. And I hope the Notre Dame she applies to, will have the same integrity and beauty she is showing this week.

  2. I always appreciated the word truncating….probably originated in the Isles of Ireland!…..play Ball!

  3. Jack, no one is talking about truncating the investigation, either at the ND or NCAA level. reread the first post. But the players, if they cheated, need to leave.

    Not exhaust the admin remedies. Just transfer and move on.

    If they are innocent, they should stay. But remember what I wrote. The most dangerous lies one tells are the lies you tell to yourself.

    the cheaters need to leave now, and get on. They were in Eden. If they ate of the forbidden tree, get out. The investigation, yawn, can continue without them being present. Further, you can make a Q and A a part of the release precondition package.

    Where in my two posts did I mention the investigation not running its course?

    1. Now wait a minute. You’re saying on the one hand that you don’t know whether they cheated or not (“if they cheated”) and on the other that they need to “leave now, and get on.” On the one hand, you say that the investigation should run its course, on the other hand you are saying that they should be thrown out without going to the trouble of conducting the investigation.

      Which is it, then?

    2. I can’t agree with your “no good will result from these kids hanging around…no matter what they did or if they did it.” How could any good result in kicking them out and then finding out that they did NOT do it?

      Furthermore, Notre Dame has a very specific set of suggested levels of disciplinary action for various honor code violations. These can be seen by anyone googling “Notre Dame honor code”. The players should receive the same punishment that a non-player student would receive for the same violation.

  4. Duranko,

    The investigation needs to run its course. If this occurred fir over 4 years Jack and BK will be fired. They did a special on how they have a academic advisors for each player, what were they doing? Also, if it found a former student or player engaged in this are what recourse to they have if they already graduated. Investigate this discipline those involved and move on

  5. well, Ron, there are a lot of important stakeholders here, and these four kids deserve no shortcut, and the university’s academic integrity and the protection of the faculty deserve no shortcut.

    But mark my words, no good will result to ANYONE from these kids hanging around. No one.

    And here, for additional emphasis of the importance, is the prayer that I would fashion. These kids are important, no matter what they did or if they did it. Every soul counts.

    (Kelly holds hands with the player -and I am as serious as a heart attack here, Ron)

    “Dear Father in Heaven, your son our Lord Jesus Christ who we receive in the Eucharist, and Holy Spirit, Helper, Comforter, please shower grace and blessings on )Kendall/Ishaq/Davaris/KeiVarae in this moment of crisis. Christ taught us that he desires mercy not sacrifice, and that he arrived for the sinners, not the righteous. As a personal and familial beneficiary of that preference for mercy over justice, and the benefit of
    forgiveness for my own transgressions, I add my gratitude for your triune Mercy, and ask that (player name) be showered with it also. May you guide us both to make good, Christian decisions, and please bless us all.”

    FWIW, it is in times like this, not fourth and goal against Stepfan Taylor and Stanford, that Notre Dame shows its true colors.

    1. I can’t agree with your “no good will result from these kids hanging around…no matter what they did or if they did it.” How could any good result in kicking them out and then finding out that they did NOT do it?


    (1) There are allegations of academic impropriety, outright cheating. The facts are there is clear evidence, which may be verbal, written or both that constitute a prima facie case of disqualifying cheating. While the accused may dispute or counter the facts this is not a beginning investigation, but one in which the facts for the prima facie case are present.

    (2) Stakeholders, in order of importance:

    (a) Notre Dame and its academic integrity, including its faculty and their need to function without being subjugated to the football agenda (cf. Tennessee and North Carolina)

    (b) the football program and its law abiding citizens

    (c) the accused, and for the purposes of this post we focus only on the four football players.

    (3) Any football team must be focused, united, unidirectional, focused on its members, its agenda, and not a piñata for the press and uncertainty.

    Right now, if the four stay around, regardless of guilt or innocence, they constitute, without intent, a Damoclean swored (quid vide) as polluting and distracting before any ultimate resolution as after.


    (1) Talk to the NCAA to preclear and facilitate a voluntary transfer by the players. A condition precedent to the clearance may be that the transferring players agree to remain fully cooperative with the investigation by Notre DaME and by any NCAA investigators.

    (2) Have a call with Bob Diaco at UConn, Chuck Martin at Miami, Trent Miles at Georgia State and Bob Davie at New Mexico. Diaco and Martin know the four very, very well. Miles and Davie have coached at Notre Dame.
    Discuss the willingness vel non of accepting the transfers.

    (3) Talk to the four players, first individually, with an offer to conference in their parents, if the player agrees. Offer them the opportunity to meet afterward as a group.

    (4) Kelly, for reasons below, recommends immediate transfer.

    (5) The four leave, and the team prepares for the season and moves on.

    I’m certainly not Brian Kelly, but he is open about his values, and I’ll try to “channel” what I think the conversation with the players might be like:

    “You are entitled to due process under this investigation in accordance with university procedures. Know this: the most insidious lies are the lies you tell to yourself. But if you cheated, you will be found out, and, frankly, if you cheated I don’t want you on my football team. But if you hide from the truth, the coverup, the stress and the pain and agony6 will get worse each day.”

    If you did cheat, that does not make you an evil or bad person. I KNOW you, we’ve been together a lot for (two (Russell) three (Daniels and Ishaq) and four years (Moore). You are a good person, but if you did cheat, you are still a good person who did a bad, disqualifying thing.
    Know this, if employers, or football teams come to ask me and my staff about you, they will hear LOUD AND CLEAR that you are a good person. Know that.

    You can, without admitting guilty transfer immediately. We will help you go wherever you want, but our valued colleagues Diaco, Martin, Davie and Miles have been approached about facilitating a transfer. We will help facilitate this if you desire to transfer. It would allow you a chance to freshly reboot your education, your career, your football, your peace of mind, your privacy and your life.

    I strongly urge that you think about what I am saying.

    I can only say what I would do in similar circustances. I would leave and start fresh somewhere else.

    May I conference in your parents to discuss this, if you would like?

    I am here to counsel, to listen to help. We have staff who can counsel you, some, whom we will identify, on a confidential basis.

    The team and I are getting ready for the season, but I, your position coach, your coordinator and your academic advisors are here for you. We will make time for you.

    Your predicament some difficulties. You are a great athlete with considerable on field success at the nation’s per-eminent football program. The culture expects you, as a football player to be tough, manly, rugged independent But right now, you may be confused, isolated, disoriented, off your game, not balanced, forlorn. But you are only alone if you choose to be. Yesterday is gone. But today and tomorrow can be fresh and new if you choose that.

    Now, what questions do you have of me?

    Before you leave, would you let US, you and I pray together?

    just one poster’s two cents.

    1. Daniels’s father makes a good point when he says that Daniels wouldn’t have been suspended for bad grades if he had been cheating. One has the feeling that if someone is getting someone else to do his papers, he would at least have the smarts to pick someone who would turn in good enough work to keep him from getting kicked out of school. On the other hand, he might have been cheating earlier on, quit, and gotten kicked out because of deciding to stand on his own feet.

    2. You are stating as fact that there is clear prima facie evidence that these kids have done what they are accused of. Apparently, you have inside information of some sort, since this evidence hasn’t been made public yet. Do you mind sharing this evidence, or are we simply to take your word on the matter?

    3. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty. I bleed gold and blue and think these impropieties need to be addressed but doesn’t anyone thing it’s strange that this came up right before football season and who’s the ‘rat’? Yes investigate but let the as not yet found guilty players play. For as long as there have schools and as long as there have been young people, papers written by someone helps has happened. It is the folly of youth.

  7. I agree, Russell is a huge loss, but the others not so much. Will Fuller looks really fast and good and Justin Brent is a potential stud. However, where it hurts Notre Dame is depth. oh, well, what can we as fans do. I’m 58 years old and have followed Notre Dame since 1964. I am long past letting what happens at Notre Dame affect me to any degree. As my mom used to say doggone it Peter you don’t own Notre Dame.

    1. Oh Peter…..I see myself in you Lad….I am the same age,became the Fan I am in the same year….have been so proud and so dismayed for my whole life.my Sainted mother would always say to me”son,the Good Lord has a multitude of more important things to take care of than what occurs on an Athletic field on any given Saturday!”….I have become better,but still my heart breaks.Life goes on,and on

  8. Russell is the only loss here. Williams is a 4 year underacheiver,Daniles is lazy, and Moore is a dog kicker and a bad guy. I cant believe this coaching staff didn’t know what a awful rep he has away from the game and asked him back. Take out the trash and move on.

  9. Note to Penn State — this is how a scandal is handed. Be proactive. Don’t be in denial. Remove the athletic department completely out of the investigation.

  10. I know this is Notre Dame and academics is held above everything but why suspend the playets for the whole season if this is the first time this has happened. I can understand coming down heavy on Daniels considering his past but not the other 3.

    Reading comments from the players on twitter it sounds like they believe these 4 are gone for the whole season and so do I. I don’t agree with it at all. I think all Irish fans felt the same way as Brian Kelly.

  11. Wasn’t Daniels implemented when Golson got busted. If these guys are guilty they are idiots. If this has been going for four years it’s a shame.

  12. Uncle J, it is different than Golson’s situation as well but I can see how I had it worded being confusing. Just edited it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  13. Good article, Frank. However, I think you meant Daniels and not Golson as Daniels’ suspension was due to grades, not cheating.

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