Late last summer, Notre Dame football was hit with an academic scandal that cost five players their 2014 seasons. While the worst-case scenario was avoided, Brian Kelly is still taking lessons from the incident, and spoke about the many travails that face football players at the school, which prides itself on high academic standards. Notably, Kelly acknowledges that most of his team would not make it to South Bend on their academic resumes alone. ND Insider caught up with Kelly as the probe reaches its conclusion, almost a year after it began.
As the academic dishonesty probe, that started last July, approaches final resolution for the last two of the five players involved, here are Kelly’s thoughts on Notre Dame’s effort to move forward with lessons learned along the way:
“I think we recognized that all of my football players are at-risk — all of them — really. Honestly, I don’t know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they are. Maybe one or two of our players that are on scholarship.
“So making sure that with the rigors that we put them in — playing on the road, playing night games, getting home at 4 o’clock in the morning, all of the demands that we place on them relative to the academics and going into an incredibly competitive academic classroom every day — we recognize this is a different group.
“And we have to provide all the resources necessary for them to succeed and don’t force them into finding shortcuts.
“I think we’ve clearly identified that we need to do better, and we’re not afraid to look at any shortcomings that we do have and fix them, and provide the resources necessary for our guys. Our university has looked at that, and we’re prepared to make sure that happens for our guys.”
Notre Dame fans probably don't like to hear about their guys being "at-risk," but after last year's issues, one would imagine that the support staff will be on high alert when it comes to avoiding more instances of "academic dishonesty."