Jenkins addresses football suspensions to Notre Dame faculty

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After missing the first three games of the season, the fate of DaVaris Daniels, Eilar Hardy, Kendall Moore, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams is still up in the air. After announcing an official investigation into academic dishonesty in mid-August, updates on the status of the five players have been limited to head coach Brian Kelly’s weekly loop of uncertainty.

“You guys are anxious. I’m anxious. We’re all anxious,” Kelly said last week. “We all want to know but there’s nothing we can do. This is separation of church and state.”

With one-quarter of the football season already finished, Rev. John Jenkins, the university’s president, updated faculty members on the status of the Honor Code proceedings, still incomplete after just over three weeks of school in session.

The Observer, Notre Dame’s student-run newspaper caught the comments, during a wide-ranging address to the faculty that included other important university updates:

[Jenkins] said the athletic department’s compliance office became aware of “a potentially problematic situation involving a current student athlete as well as a student who served for a brief time as a paid student employee of the athletic department, although that position had no role in academic tutoring or advising of student athletes.”

“I want to underscore that the current investigation has not revealed any misconduct or knowledge of impropriety by regular, full-time staff,” he said. “However, given the student’s brief status as a paid employee, there was the possibility of what the NCAA considers an ‘excess benefit’ given to the student athlete by a representative of the institution.”

Jenkins said the decision to release the names of the student-athletes involved came as a result of the names leaking through social media before the University made an announcement.

“In order to deter unfounded speculation about individuals not involved, we made an exception to our policy of not releasing the names of students involved in such a process and confirmed the identities of implicated students who had already been named in the public forum,” he said.

The lack of urgency that appears rather obvious to those outside of the Golden Dome has fans, players and families beyond eager to learn their fate.

But the complexity of the situation — an official investigation run by the university’s general counsel — and the potential NCAA issues that Jenkins mentioned, makes this unlike most Honor Code situations. That doesn’t make the process, or the continuing length of it, any easier to understand.

So while the Irish take a weekend off from football, all five players still wait.