On Sunday afternoon the University of Notre Dame released a short statement on the 5 football players who have been suspended from football activities since mid-August. Irish Sports Daily has the entire transcript of the statement from vice president of public affairs and communications Paul J. Browne and it is pasted below:
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."
A few thoughts...
The school mentions again that other students beyond the suspended 5 football players are involved. One of the mysteries with this whole process has been wondering exactly what the students are being investigated for, but also how many people are we talking about here?
It's not a good sign that in this statement the NCAA is mentioned on three separate occasions. I still find it really hard to believe that vacating wins is going to be a reality in another week's time given some of the rumors of academic dishonesty but the NCAA works in wacky ways. It would seem like losing a scholarship or going on probation for a year would make more sense but who knows.
There's still the possibility that the NCAA doesn't do anything, but of course we still have to deal with the fate and future of several football players. A lot of people believe at least some of the players will be re-instated and go on with their lives. However, the end of this saga could result in the continued suspension of some players which could end their careers at Notre Dame.