Life goes on for Notre Dame’s football team, as the Irish practiced inside Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday morning. After practice, Brian Kelly addressed the assembled media, talking for over 20 minutes, primarily about the suspensions of DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams and the internal investigation taking place.
While the scope of the investigation isn’t limited to athletes, Kelly was told that the four player being held out are the only ones under investigation. He also sounded like a coach who understood the ramifications of what was going on.
“We hold our players to a very high standard here at Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “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.”
The athletes will be held out of practice and all meetings, though they have access to the facilities and team meals. With no timeline for this Honor Code investigation, Kelly is forced to keep the program moving forward.
“I care for those four guys deeply, Kelly said. “They’re a part of our program, but I have a job to do and I have another hundred players I have to be concerned with. My focus and attention is on continuing to develop our players.”
Kelly addressed some timely questions, while acknowledging that he was shocked and disappointed when athletic director Jack Swarbrick told him about the investigation. He also doubled-down on the players he’s recruited, and will continue to recruit.
“I think we’ve brought in the right young men. I think we have to continue to do a better job educating them,” Kelly said. “We have to do a better job of providing them the resources. Look, this is never a one-sided issue. We have to internally look at providing our student-athletes all the resources necessary, that if in fact they took shortcuts that they don’t. And we have to look hard at that. That’s something that will ensue over this issue.”
For the second straight season, an academic issue has threatened a season before it’s had a chance to begin. And as some in the college football world openly question if Notre Dame is really any different than the other schools playing the same sport, Kelly didn’t sound like a coach with a crisis in confidence.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to come here was there were some core values as one of the preeminent Catholic institutions that you can’t compromise on, and that’s integrity,” Kelly said. “If you see something if going on that’s not right … it’s important that it’s addressed. I applaud the university for doing that. Along the way, I lost a starting quarterback and some key players, but I came here because I wanted to be associated with a university that had those standards.”
(Quotes provided by Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune.)