Notre Dame said Friday there is "no evidence" football coach Brian Kelly or any of his staff members knew of possible academic fraud among players until the allegations were brought to school officials on July 29.
The school confirmed Friday afternoon it's launched an investigation into possible academic fraud among football players.
Earlier Friday, Yahoo Sports said four members of the football team were interviewed about possible academic fraud. The school said that the players, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore, will be held out of practices and games until the investigation is complete. Daniels, Russell and Williams are listed as projected starters in 2014.
"[Athletic director] Jack Swarbrick had a conversation with Brian yesterday and I want to say that we have great confidence in Brian and his staff and they have been nothing but supportive in helping us with our investigation," Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins said.
The school has said it will voluntarily vacate wins if necessary as a result of the investigation. Possible improprieties could be a violation of the school's honor code which would make players ineligible. The school is investigating evidence that papers and homework was done on players' behalf by someone else.
"Like all of us, [Kelly] was devastated," Swarbrick said. "Each of us got the report. He was also quick to understand the process, how he and his staff could be of assistance to the process and how it would work, and so that was quickly the focus of the discussion."
Jenkins also declined to say if the investigation could extend to former Notre Dame players.
The four players under investigation will remain on scholarship and no one has been dismissed at the current time.
“If a student played when a player was deemed ineligible that is a time to take that step. We might do that if we find it. We haven’t reached that conclusion," Swarbrick said.
QB Everett Golson, who was Notre Dame's starting quarterback in 2012 when the team went to the BCS Championship Game, wasn't allowed to play in 2013 after he cheated on a test. He was readmitted to the university in the spring of 2014 and was named the starting quarterback for this season by Kelly earlier in the week.
Daniels couldn't enroll at Notre Dame for the spring semester after his GPA fell below 2.0. He is back in school for the summer session.
For more Notre Dame news, visit IrishIllustrated.com.
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