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Last updated: Fri. Aug. 15, 2014 - 09:04 pm EDT

COLUMN

Another off-the-field misstep for Notre Dame

Issues have piled up over the last few seasons

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CAREER STATS OF SUSPENDED PLAYERS

Senior WR Davaris Daniels: 80 receptions, 1,235 yards, seven touchdowns

Senior DE Ishaq Williams: 45 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumbles

Junior CB Keivarae Russell: 109 total tackles, three interceptions

Senior LB Kendall Moore: 37 total tackles, one interception

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There is never a dull moment when covering Notre Dame football.

Instead of preparing for Rice two Saturdays from now and trying to figure out which pieces fit where on defense, we are left to break down the latest high-profile off-the-field transgression of Notre Dame football players.

Getting kind of old, isn't it?

The University acknowledged Friday evening that it is conducting an investigation into academic fraud involving four current players, and will vacate victories in which those four played if they are indeed found guilty of wrongdoing.

That could include some or all of the 21 victories over the past two seasons.

To Notre Dame's credit, this investigation was brought on by the university itself, but it does not eliminate the overriding issue into the program's issues with academic impropriety.

Wide receiver Davaris Daniels – one of the four players mentioned Friday along with fellow starters Ishaq Williams at defensive end, KeiVarae Russell at cornerback and reserve linebacker Kendall Moore – was already dismissed once from Notre Dame for academic performance before returning in the summer.

Starting quarterback Everett Golson had to work to be readmitted after cheating on a test, missing the 2013 season in the process.

Notre Dame loves to preach how it holds its student-athletes to a high academic standard, and Friday's developments show that the University is dedicated to those ideals, not attempting to hide issues to save the fate of three perspective starters.

But how can these academic issues be stopped?

Perhaps a revamp of the academic support system is in order. The recent issues within the football program do not point to outright circumventing of the rules by its coaches and support staff, but rather to cracks in the foundation of a group of people that are meant to ensure student-athletes stay on track to graduate and stay eligible to play football.

Lately, those goals are not being achieved.

No real questions were answered out of Friday's press conference other than the fact that four players will not see action for Notre Dame in the foreseeable future.

But Notre Dame and its fans also got another reality check in that its student-athletes have the same temptations as every other teenager playing athletics at a university.

And sometimes, those student-athletes make bad decisions.

jkenny@news-sentinel.com


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