Four Notre Dame players have been dismissed from the football team, according to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman, following a school investigation into academic fraud. Per Yahoo Sports‘ Pat Forde, the players under investigation were wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore. All but Moore were projected to be starters.
This is obviously a brutal blow for the Fighting Irish just two weeks before the season begins.
The violations could lead to retroactive ineligibility, which means the Irish could be forced to vacate wins if fraud occurred that impacted the players’ eligibility, per NCAA rules. Daniels and Russell were key players when Notre Dame went to the BCS title game in the 2012 season.
Everett Golson, who is back on the team and the starter at quarterback, missed the 2013 season for an academic fraud issue. We'll see if any or all of the four players will have a chance to work their way back onto the team as Golson did.
Daniels is Notre Dame's leading returning receiver, as he had 49 catches for 745 yards and seven touchdowns last year. But the Irish are very deep at the position. Russell had 51 tackles and eight pass break-ups last year, and he was part of a secondary that was supposed to be a strength for the team this year with the addition of Florida transfer Cody Riggs.
The Irish open their season on August 30 at home against Rice.
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.