Bruce Feldman of Foxsports.com is reporting that four players players connected to an internal investigation of academic fraud have been dismissed from Notre Dame.
Starting cornerback KeiVarae Russell, starting defensive end Ishaq Williams, and starting wide receiver DaVaris Daniels are three of the players reportedly involved as well as backup linebacker Kendal Moore.
Russell was considered Notre Dame's top NFL prospect eligible after this season. Williams was slated to start at end on a defensive line that is lacking depth and experience. Daniels just returned to school from another academic issue and was touted as Everett Golson's number one option this upcoming season.
Keith Arnold just posted this tweet in regards to the situation:
No reason not to believe reports, especially with ND still mum. But had heard suspensions of 1-game were coming, not season.— Keith Arnold (@KeithArnold) August 15, 2014
Right now it is unclear whether the players have been dismissed or suspended. Notre Dame has not yet commented on the situation.
Pat Forde of Yahoo! mentioned in a story that he wrote about the investigation that, "Under NCAA protocol, if any fraud occurred impacted players' eligibility, the school could ultimately vacate victories."
Forde also added that "the school initiated the investigation and has handled the inquiry to this point."
So, at least Charles Robinson didn't bring it to Notre Dame's attention.
Update: Notre Dame just released a statement.
Most of what it written is already known, but it also included a direct quote from Rev. John I. Jenkins:
"Integrity is at the heart of our mission and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame," said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University's president. "If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do. We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating."
Other news from the statement:
#NotreDame says it will voluntarily vacate any victories in which student-athletes played that should have been ineligible.— Andrew Owens (@BGI_AndrewOwens) August 15, 2014
The four ND players are withheld from practice and games until investigation is complete. No one has been dismissed.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) August 15, 2014
Updates from the press conference (in the form of tweets):
Rev. Jenkins: At this juncture, no one has been dismissed or judged guilty of academic dishonestly.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) August 15, 2014
Jenkins: Kelly was informed by Swarbrick yesterday. Reiterated confidence in the staff and said they have been helpful with investigation— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) August 15, 2014
Jenkins doesn't want to speculate whether or not former students or student-athletes are also involved at this time.— Ryan Ritter (@HLS_NDtex) August 15, 2014
Vote of confidence for BK that he's doing everything he can to address this. So, at this time, it appears staff didn't know.— Ryan Ritter (@HLS_NDtex) August 15, 2014
#NotreDame prez John Jenkins: Brian Kelly and staff have been helpful.— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) August 15, 2014
Father Jenkins: No evidence that Brian Kelly or coaches knew about it. Neither did academic staff— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) August 15, 2014
#NotreDame AD Jack Swarbrick on Brian Kelly's reaction: Like all of us he was devastated.— Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) August 15, 2014
Swarbrick: Doesn't buy assumption that there is a rise in academic problems. Not talking about a significant number of players.— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) August 15, 2014
#NotreDame AD Jack Swarbrick: "Let's not confuse academic probation where you don't make grades for academic dishonesty."— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) August 15, 2014
Swarbrick: Four players involved are DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore, Ishaq Williams and KeiVarae Russell— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) August 15, 2014
There are still a lot of unanswered questions right now and it does not sound like there will be a resolution any time soon. It appears that Brian Kelly's job is safe and obviously there will be more to come on this over the weekend and the weeks to come.