Irish to sit four players in probe

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The four Notre Dame players at the heart of the school's academic probe will not play in the No. 17 Fighting Irish's season opener Saturday against Rice, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.

Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive end Ishaq Williams, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and linebacker Kendall Moore have all been suspended since Aug. 15 following an internal investigation that the school launched surrounding potential academic misconduct. Daniels, Williams and Russell had entered fall camp as projected starters. None of the four players were on the team's Week 1 depth chart released Tuesday.

Fall classes started Tuesday at Notre Dame, and Kelly said he will likely have more information on the status of the investigation from athletic director Jack Swarbrick at some point next week.

"I'm sure Jack will inform me once he gets information," Kelly said. "He's pretty good at getting right back with me. So it's not something where I feel I've got to pick up the phone. ... Jack Swarbrick is great with immediately getting me information that is needed relative to making decisions for our football team."

Kelly, who signed an unspecified contract extension with Notre Dame before the 2013 season opener, insisted that he has not felt brushed aside during the investigation and that he has not been blindsided by the academic or administrative side of the school.

"I did not feel in this instance that I was at any time left out of the loop, [had not] felt as though I was blindsided by a long investigation," Kelly said. "I think the information that was ascertained in this matter was pretty straightforward. It was quick, and once they were able to kind of confirm the information, Jack let me know."

Kelly said it does him no good to put a timetable on a potential return for any of the suspended players, citing his experience last year when starting quarterback Everett Golson was suspended for the season because of poor academic judgment.

The coach has not addressed the matter with his players since the news broke 11 days ago, saying they are fully aware of the school's honor code and the expectations that they shoulder.