SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame says it is investigating “suspected academic dishonesty” involving several students, including four members of the football team who are being held out of practice.
The school released a statement Friday saying it has notified the NCAA. Because of potential violations, the four players can’t compete until the conclusion of the investigation and the university honor code process.
The Fighting Irish open the season against Rice on Aug. 30.
The four football players were not named by the school, but various media reports identified them as cornerback KeiVarae Russell, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive end Ishaq Williams and reserve linebacker Kendall Moore. All were expected to be key contributors this season.
The school said in a news release that evidence students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others was initially detected at the end of the summer session. The case was then referred to the compliance office on July 29. The school said the investigation is continuing.
The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, said academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame.
“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,” he said.
The school said the students under investigation will remain enrolled but the football players will be held out of practice and competition until the investigation is completed.
Notre Dame said it would vacate victories if it is determined that players have been ineligible during past competition. All four were members of the 2012 team that played for the BCS national championship.
The investigation is the latest in a series for the Irish in the past 15 months involving academics, starting with starting quarterback Everett Golson in May 2013. He was suspended for the fall 2013 semester what he called poor academic judgment.
Jerian Grant, the leading scorer on the basketball team at the time, was suspended in December for the spring semester for an academic violation. Daniels was suspended two weeks later for the spring semester and was recently reinstated.