SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly described his initial emotions as “shock and disappointment” when athletic director Jack Swarbrick informed him Thursday of the academic investigation that involved some of his players.
“It hurt,” Kelly said. “But I know the business that I’m in. I’ve got young 18-to-21-year-olds and we have to educate every day and we were back at it today.”
Kelly addressed the scandal, which has sidelined four players, after Saturday’s practice. The school is looking into suspected academic dishonesty on the part of several students, including wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore. The four will be held out of practice and games until the investigation concludes.
“It’s a privilege to play at Notre Dame, it’s not a right. And we hold our players to a very high standard here at Notre Dame. I believe Notre Dame to be vigilant on that end,” Kelly said.
“We don’t say one thing and do the other, and I’m proud of Notre Dame and the way that they act. We don’t look the other way. If we find improprieties as it relates to this matter, we are going to address them and deal with them.”
Kelly said he has not met with the four players since the news broke. He plans on doing so in the next 24 hours.
“I feel for all of those guys,” Kelly said. “… I care for those four guys deeply. They’ve been part of our program. But I have a job to do. And I have another hundred players that I have to be concerned with.”
The school announced Friday it would vacate any victories if the players were deemed ineligible at the time of participating. Kelly said such a situation wouldn’t change how he would view the 2012 season, when the team reached the BCS national title game.
“I’ve never really counted my victories,” Kelly said. “It’s not something that I really have spent much time thinking about.”