Keivarae Russell Done for ’14, Coming Back in ’15

Keivarae Russell - Academic Investigation
Keivarae Russell is one of four players linked to the current investigation into academic misconduct at Notre Dame. (Photo: Larry Placido/Icon SMI)

Earlier this week Notre Dame said that they would not be releasing the results of the two month academic investigation that has kept five players out of action all season but would let the players announce the results as they received them.  On Friday, the first of the five, Keivarae Russell, made the news of his punishment public and the junior cornerback will not be suiting up for the Irish this season.

In an Instagram post, Russell posted the following message on Friday:

Though disappointed in the decision the school has just recently made after 2 long months of waiting for a decision to come, I accept it and will make sure I spend my time away efficiently. I will not be playing this season and will most likely miss the spring semester as well, but regardless, I will be back at this University in June 2015 ready to go in the summer, and ready to make history during the 2015 season! I want to ball with my brothers again and receive a college degree. I love everybody who has supported me during this prolonged process, and still continue to do so. Let me assure everyone that I will use this time to come back stronger mentally and physically. This hurdle won’t stop me from fulfilling my dreams. I am going to come back better than ever!! 7 months of constant training & work on my craft at Cornerback. I love my family, friends, fans, and my team! I am going to come back as the best corner in college football. TRUST ME. Stay tuned with me on this journey! #RoadToSuccess #GoodluckToMyTeamThisSeason! #VideoFromFreshmanYear

And with that, the first of the five is done for the season but will apparently be working on coming back in 2015 for Notre Dame.   In Russell’s absence, Notre Dame has found a playmaker in the form of sophomore Cole Luke and used the skills of the 5th year senior transfer Cody Riggs to form a formidable cornerback duo despite losing the talents of a potential All-American like Russell.  Had the Irish potentially gotten Russell back for the stretch run, however, their playoff chances would have been greatly enhanced.

News of the other four players have not been made public yet, but if Russell’s punishment is any indication the Irish are likely to be without their services as well.

Getting Russell back for 2015, however, is at least somewhat positive as it would give Notre Dame an elite cornerback to replace Riggs next season to pair with Luke.  The only starter that will definitely be gone following the season on the defensive side of the ball is Riggs.  All other current starters are juniors or have eligibility remaining.

While the entire situation is very disappointing, it’s great to see Russell accept the decision of the University without lashing out or bashing Notre Dame while staying positive.  Russell could have explored potential transfer options or even the NFL, but instead he will be working hard to get back to Notre Dame and finish what he started.

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  1. I’m totally pissed at these players. They cheated. Once caught, they failed to accept responsibility. KR, and Daniels’ dad waged a social media smear campaign. While they fought the truth coming out, the university gave them their due process and took hits for it. KR totally slandered those holding him accountable as if he was a victim. He was not a victim.

    Then KR decides to emotionally let this out on the eve of a trap game. He will “use” the school for a degree. He seems to be all about himself.

    Maybe the school winds up having to forfeit games from past seasons, maybe not. But if any of these cheaters had been allowed to play anyways, all 6 of our wins and postseason hopes would be forfeited.

    They have not at any point, where they had a choice to do otherwise, accepted responsibility. This is not handling it with class. The whole thing is disgraceful.

    All that said, I wish them nothing but the best. The road back, should they choose it, is and should be a hard one. Should they brave that with perseverance, they will have earned back the respect they lost and should then be able to hold their heads high once more. If any of them continue to lambast or complain about their punishments or act as if they are victims, then they do not deserve to come back.

  2. I appreciate that K Russell gets it as far as determination and that the college degree from Notre Dame is the most important thing. He will come back the best player he can be and if an NFL career comes to him after his senior year, he will be more prepared than most anyone to handle the ups and downs. Good luck and we will welcome you back more than ever.

  3. My concern isn’t about ND’s need for K.Russell as CB, or whether this impacts recruiting. It’s about a fractured process finally revealed to “any with the eyes to see.” Even BK has been “allowed” to imply that. Cloaked in secrecy like some CIA venture, it’s possible this “honor” committee’s process might well have found nothing conclusive; but instead, to avoid both explaining how they could justify suspending him and others for this long and potential legal ramifications, opted to declare him guilty. Had they not, they’d have been pressured into owning up to the absurdity of their turgid process. Rule 1 of any administrative hierarchy: Never admit you were mistaken.The investigation was concluded over 30 days before any students’ hearings. Why the delay? Immediate consequences are preferable if the evidence is obvious and if a message or lesson is your intent.
    We’ll never know, but to be clear.
    KeiVarae Russell’s desire to return next year should in no way forgive the fiasco of the process nor be interpreted as an admission that he did wrong, or that he believes the “punishment fits the crime”, if indeed he did exercise poor judgment. I suspect, like Golson, he feels compelled to show that his character needs to be expunged by proving he’s more than capable of succeeding as a student as well as an athlete. His previous Instagram quickly deleted by him suggests not that he holds Notre Dame responsible, but instead he recognizes, as any who have followed ND through the years might, (in one breath) that the recurring Sanhedrin-like judgmental image-conscious Administration’s overzealous Pharisee mentality, (exhale), able to hide behind secrecy, will not deter KeiVarae from finishing what he set out to accomplish- getting an ND degree while becoming an All-American DB. His decision shows a clear-headed approach, unlike what the “honor” committee and Jenkins have displayed.
    Although the odds be great or small, KeiVarae Russell will win overall, while our loyal sons go marching, onward . . .

      1. I’ll give Max Redfield the opportunity to reply:


        On wearing the suspended players numbers on his towel…
        “It’s just kind of in respect for those guys. Obviously we love all the players, we’d hate to lose any player. We obviously think it’s really unfortunate what happened to them. We want them on our team of course and we won’t forget about them. They’re still our friends. They’re still our brothers, and it’s unfortunate they can’t play with us.”

    1. Enough already. The kids have privacy rights. Turns out they were guilty (at least 4, if not all 5). The university would look better to say more, but it would violate the kids’ rights. It was up to the suspended players, not the school, to say more. They broke the rules. They knew they broke the rules and protested innocence anyways. That sort of thing takes time to sort out, and often a lot of time.

      They elected to keep it private, as is their right. But due process is not customer service, to be tailored to the speed and outcome desired by the accused. Either show me where due process was not followed, where the university can be shown to be dilatory, or stop the gratuitous slander.

  4. It’s unfortunate whatever occurred that these young student athletes did to compromise their playing privilege. They were held accountable and ND has moved on and found players to fulfill those roles on the team those 5 might have played. I think KR demonstrated some humility in his statement and hopefully he will hold himself to it regarding what he hopes for 2015. Things happen for a reason and in the bigger picture, there is a reason why this situation happened involving the players. Good teams find ways to overcome adversity versus blaming/whining. I think ND has been finding ways and continues to find ways to strengthen this team.

    Go Irish

  5. This is not going to kill recruiting. Thats just ridiculous. ND doesn’t want the SEC trash anyway. These kids broke the academic code and are being punished and rightfully so. ND molds kids to become better students, better athletes, better citizens. I give KR credit to accept punishment, move forward positively and come back to attain a degree as Golson is doing. Kids are not perfect but this was not SEC criminal acts. How can anyone comment on this being mishandled? I do not believe any of us know the circumstances of the investigation at this point. I would expect the four will be dealt the same punishment. I hope they handle it with the same level of class that Russel has.

    On a more favorable note, we are undefeated with a young squad. I still feel we are a year away from greatness but enjoying watching this team mature. If Golsen and the offense can get their act together by next weekend, there is no reason we can’t compete with Jimbo’s Florida State Penitentiary!

  6. It would be nice if someone would release the details of the investigation. What did these kids do that was bad enough to receive the punishment that they received.

    I was really looking forward to see if Ishaq would explode in this new defense and have KR shutting down the back 3rd. Disappointing for sure.

  7. I agree with the article in that we’re not going to see any of these kids play this year. Is KR the only one who will eligibility after this year? I know Ishaq and Moore don’t have any but I’m not sure about Daniels and Hardy.

    Of the 5, I think KR was the most valuable. Daniels was their best WR but there’s a lot of talent and depth at WR. The sad thing about Ishaq is that I think he was better suited for BVG’s 4-3 than Diaco’s defense and could have had a heck of a year. I think Moore and Hardy won’t be missed at all.

    1. Ishaq has a year of eligibility left. Daniels is gone even though he had a year of eligibility left. Moore was a 5th year already. I believe Hardy’s verdict is still unknown but that he has a year remaining.

  8. Did they cheat? Did they dishonor their teammates? Did they dishonor all the other students? Did they dishonor the school and it’s rich traditions? Did they dishonor themselves? Did they tell the truth to
    us all? I believe in forgiveness and redemption. It’s not about football. It’s about people who do the right thing when
    It matters the most. God forgive them if they did wrong. We have all done things we are ashamed of. Lesson learned.
    I hope.

  9. Keivarae, while you may not be representing your team on the field this year, you are representing ND well, by accepting the decision with dignity and determination to come back stronger and better. We will miss you in the secondary and look forward to your return. It’s in the struggle that growth occurs and you’ll be a better man for it. Work hard, stay strong and see you in 2015.

  10. If KR was truly innocent he wouldn’t remain at ND. Obviously he was guilty on some level. And Just because he felt prepared for his questioning means nothing. It’s pretty sad these guys couldn’t just do the bare minimum to stay eligible. I’m glad he’s staying at ND and I give him credit for sticking it out, but at the same time it tells me he’s guilty. He made a mistake and deserves a second chance. Thank Christ ND has some depth at the CB position for once.

  11. Good job, KR. Can’t wait to see you back next year!

    You are a winner! Get knocked down….get right back up…nothing can stop you!!!

    Go Irish,

    PS Look at Golston this year.

  12. Its very sad the way the program handled this from day 1 and there is nothing anyone can say to change my mind. There is no defense how long this has taken either. It would be much easier for Russell to transfer elsewhere or even jump to the NFL after this mess but it shows the character this young man has. He is talented enough to jump to the league and be highly coveted by NFL teams.

    I guess this means its a wrap for the other four players as well. I have said this from the begining that none of these players will play this year and sadly it looks like I will be right unless something major happens like Notre Dame saying it made a mistake. I just find it hard to believe that a player like Daniels would risk his NFL future for something as simple as having another student writing papers for him coming off a suspension.

  13. Apologies for the rant, but I strongly disagree with folks who keep saying the university mishandled the matter, should have gone faster, injustice in the process, etc. There is nothing to base that on other than the time the process took. Until, and if, we have more information than the paucity currently available, it is no good to slander those who worked the process. Investigations, especially where there is a protestation of innocence, multiple witnesses, multiple exhibits, etc. takes time. And students involved in investigations and deliberations have their own academic loads to attend to as well. Presumption of innocence until proven guilty, right??

    For each kid, they are either innocent or guilty. If guilty, the extra due process and attention is not an injustice to them. Quite the opposite. If innocent, then the critics *might* have a point. Could be one or more guilty parties caused the delays. Could have been voluminous materials to sort through multiple parties. Could have been response periods or extensions where the ball was in 1 or more players’ hands, so to speak. Wait for the facts come out before passing judgment.

  14. The only 2 that really mattered in all of this were KR and Toot.

    Ishaq and the others were non-contributors and marginal players – especially in hindsight given the emergence of Trumbetti and others.

    On the offensive side of the ball, Prosise, Hunter Jr., Carlisle, Robinson, Brown, and Fuller, have proven that having 6 “solid” contributors at WR is probably good enough given the inherent talent at the quarterback position.

    I’m still optimistic that we’ll get Toot back for the stretch run, but the KR announcement makes that prospect more unlikely, if the decisions are correlated at all.

    There’s no reason to get into the weeds of how this process was botched, what it means for our recruiting, who is actually responsible, etc. The key takeaway is that these situations cannot continue to happy if we want our alma mater’s “money” sports to continue to thrive. If we recruit the so-called “marginal” student, that student needs to be surrounded by support systems that will make academic success possible, and make resorting to cheating as unlikely as possible.

    Sure — at the end of the day, each individual student-athlete has to make his own decisions, but what we are witnessing is an institutional problem (EG, Frozen Five, Jerrian Grant) that must be solved.

  15. Too bad, he was the one guy I was hopeful about. Could use him for FSU. Move on, hope he does make it back next year.

  16. This entire thing was poorly handled. The university should have taken this action in a timely manner. This will kill recruiting and make it easy for other schools to use things like this on marginal student athletes. It’s not the outcome but the process. I’d love to know what really happened. The NCAA will probably get involved since we are a non SEC school. You can beat up drunks and rape women and nothing is done, but a few guys cheat on a test…and non SEC and we’re in for trouble.

    1. You could learn a thing or two from a college junior Jack. The kid just showed more class in an Instagram post than you with your silky tirade against the SEC. This has nothing to do with anybody else. The argument many of you use against the SEC over and over again is pointless. Who cares? The kid did something wrong, got caught, and is now being punished. What happens elsewhere at others schools doesn’t matter.

    2. Jack W,

      The NCAA has cleared ND of any violations. It won’t kill recruiting because the kid that goes to an SEC school doesn’t care about a 40 year decision he cares about making the pros. I don’t know if KR is guilty but he has shown class. He is also the first to admit his fate and let the team focus on football.

      Although I agree that this should have been taken care of weeks ago, I know see that ND will allow these guys to finish the semester and serve the suspension next semester.

      1. Hey Jack. Would you stand in front any SEC football team and tell those young men that, and really mean it?
        That’s just ignorant man.

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