Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly felt like a disappointed father when he heard the news that football players KeiVarae Russell, Ishaq Williams, Kendall Moore, and DaVaris Daniels were being investigated for potential academic fraud.
Saturday coach Kelly addressed the media for the first time since the academic fraud allegations surfaced and did not dodge any questions.
The head coach said he had no knowledge of the investigation until Thursday when the school's president and athletic director brought it to his attention. He added he did not know the players were potentially even doing anything related to cheating on homework and papers.
Kelly began his press conference by talking about his frustrations that his players could be involved in this situation. He hopes the university will be diligent in their investigation and added he knows the importance of the high academic standards at Notre Dame.
"It's a privilege to play at Notre Dame. It's not a right," said Kelly. "We hold our players to a very high standard here at Notre Dame. I believe Notre Dame to be vigilant on that end. We don't say one thing and do the other. I'm proud of Notre Dame and the way that they act. We don't look the other way. If we find proprieties as it relates to this matter we're going to address them and deal with them."
In lieu of this story breaking there has been a lot of public questioning of Kelly's ability to manage and handle the responsibilities of being the head football coach at Notre Dame. Under his tenure, there have been players arrested, suspended from the university, and a student working for the team died during a practice after an aerial lift collapsed.
"This isn't the time to have a debate on my leadership or lack there of is," said Kelly. "My focus is on my football team. And getting this team ready. There's a time and place for that. People have their opinions and certainly they're entitled to them. I'm going to focus on this football team and getting them ready in two weeks for Rice."
Three of the four players under investigation were expected to play a lot for the Fighting Irish this season and most likely start.
"You know as players you don't replace KeiVarae Russell. He's one of the best corners we've had here in quite some time," said Kelly. "But we'll find a way. We'll rally and now that means next man in gets an opportunity. Cole Luke, Devin Butler are going to have to step into that role. We'll have to get them up to speed quickly. You know Daniels, certainly has had his moments here but we think we've got some depth at Wide Receiver. You know Kendall was coming along, but again we're going to have to rely on other players to step up and do the job for us."
Kelly said he is not concerned about vacating previous wins, if those sanctions are deemed an appropriate punishment.
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