Notre Dame continues investigation

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Four Notre Dame players, including two starters, will not be allowed to participate in football activities as the university continues an internal investigation into academic misconduct, the school announced Friday.

Notre Dame said in the statement that there was "evidence that students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others." That evidence was reported to the athletics compliance office on July 29 and an immediate investigation was launched. The NCAA was notified Friday.

In a news conference Friday afternoon, the school announced starting wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and reserve linebacker Kendall Moore are being investigated, along with some non-student-athletes.

Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins said there was no evidence head coach Brian Kelly or his staff knew anything about the situation.

"We have great confidence in Brian and his staff and they have been nothing but supportive in the investigation," Jenkins said.

All four players were part of Notre Dame's 2012 team, which lost in the BCS national title game to Alabama. Daniels and Russell were starters on that team. Williams was projected to start this year, as well.

Jenkins would not speculate when asked how far back the misconduct could have taken place.

The university said the players will be held out of practice and games until the ongoing investigation is completed. 

"Integrity is at the heart of our mission, and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame," Jenkins said. "If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do.

"We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating."

The NCAA routinely will let a school investigate any potential allegations before determining whether NCAA punishment is warranted.

Notre Dame said Friday that it would voluntarily vacate any victories "if it determines that the student-athletes would have been ineligible during past competition."

Williams and Moore are seniors this season, while Daniels and Russell are juniors. The Fighting Irish are ranked No. 17 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches poll.

A source told ESPN that the four players did not practice Friday.

This is the second incident in the past two years involving academic misconduct and the football team.

Last year, starting quarterback Everett Golson was dismissed from school for what he said was "poor academic judgment," but he was reinstated this spring. Daniels had been suspended for the spring semester for undisclosed academic violations but also was reinstated in late May.

The investigation was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

ESPN's Joe Schad contributed to this report.

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