Late Friday night ESPN's Jeremy Fowler published a story on the Notre Dame academic investigation that is based around the frustration by suspended wide receiver DaVaris Daniels.
In this story for the first time we get some official comment from one of the players.
"If they had enough evidence, you'd think it'd be over by now," Daniels, a redshirt junior and the team's second-leading receiver last season, told ESPN.com. "Nothing should take this long. That's just my opinion."
Daniels speaks to his frustration with the length of the investigation process while also telling how hard it has been to deal with being away from the team without much communication from anyone involved at the University.
"It makes you feel like a villain. We'd go out to eat together, and people want to talk about the situation," Daniels said. "What do you say?"
"We've probably talked to one person every week and a half, if anything -- the length is the worst part," Daniels said. "We go on campus and we don't know exactly what the professors think. Maybe it's not that bad but it feels that way sometimes. We see our teammates on campus but aren't part of the team. It's rough."
Daniels, who has been coaching a women's interhall flag football team with 3 other suspended players and mostly working out on his own, maintains that he writes his own papers. He would not comment on the details of the investigation but did acknowledge that 'Notre Dame is examining at least a handful of emails among the players and a student trainer, who's also a mutual friend, pertaining to her potential influence over written papers.'
Perhaps the most interesting part of this report was the claim, presumably by Daniels, that the suspended players will have their hearing next week with the University General Counsel and not the Honesty Committee as presumably believed per the normal academic processes prescribed by Notre Dame.
Notre Dame notified Daniels this week that his hearing with the Office of General Counsel will be next Friday. In the weeks after the hearing, the four players withheld from practices and games since Aug. 15 -- Daniels, Ishaq Williams, Kendall Moore and KeiVarae Russell -- should get clarity on the investigation into alleged misconduct.
The Irish also have withheld Eilar Hardy since Aug. 29 for potential academic dishonesty.
Whether a hearing with the Office of the General Counsel is a mistake on Daniels' part, something that was lost in translation through the report, or in fact what is exactly is happening next week may be the biggest takeaway from this report. According to the University's official website the duties of the General Counsel are as follows:
The Office of General Counsel provides legal support for the University's broad range of institutional concerns. We strive to work with the University community in a proactive manner, practicing "preventive law" where possible to minimize the University's exposure to legal risks. We also provide day-to-day legal support of the University's operations and, where necessary, protect the University's interests.
The Office's seven attorneys as well as professional and administrative staff work together in carrying out our mission of legally representing the University.
If true, this would lend some credence to head coach Brian Kelly's comments earlier this week about the investigation being in some uncharted territory. When asked about whether Kelly would sit down with athletic director Jack Swarbrick, the provost, and the Administration to get a better understanding of 'how this works' the Irish coach replied:
Well, it's a very complicated situation, obviously. There are a lot of pieces here. There are NCAA implications, certainly. We're probably going down a path that has never gone before.
It should be noted that according to this ESPN report the Daniels family has discussed their rights and whether legal action is required but DaVaris is unsure what would come of that. He has also not been contacted by or had any interaction with the NCAA.
We will provide any updates to this story if they become available.