SOUTH BEND – With the sudden suspension of four key starters, Notre Dame once again showed why they are one of the most respected institutions in the country, on and off the field.
One year after losing starting quarterback, Everett Golson for academic reasons, the Fighting Irish would suspend defensive back KeiVarae Russell, wideout DaVaris Daniels, linebacker Ishaq Williams and defensive lineman Kendall Moore.
With an on-going investigation for possible violations of Notre Dame’s honor code, such action by Notre Dame in an age of academically ineligible student-athletes playing at other big-name programs is to be commended.
While Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins and athletic director Jack Swarbrick acknowledge that the university is in it’s initial fact-find phase and would vehemently deny that any of the forementioned players were dismissed, it is not very often that to-flight schools would suspend their own top cornerback in Russell, receiver in Daniels and defensive end in Moore.
Then again, not many schools are not Notre Dame.
As the largest Catholic university in the country and the most prestigious brand in college football, Notre Dame—love them or hate them—commands respect and prestige, you are not simply just a football player at Notre Dame, but also a student.
Thanks to their high academic standards and strict honor code, Notre Dame is often not able to field or land top blue-chip prospects such as their long-time rivals such as USC, Michigan or Miami.
To be a student-athlete at Notre Dame takes a special type of player who is able to keep up his grades in the classroom and perform on the gridiron, when their name is called.
Is it fair, yes. Is it wrong. no.
Some outside of Notre Dame have often mocked and maligned them for falling flat in bowl games and their humiliating loss to Alabama in the 2013 BCS Championship Game.
Despite that loss, Notre Dame still retains one of the highest student-athlete graduation rates in the country showing that they value academics over athletics.
Other schools have had athletes arrested for cheating, receiving improper benefits and have had to vacate bowl wins and other honors, what Notre Dame did is showing initiative in suspending their own top players and putting their own football team’s chances of making it to the inaugural College Football Playoff in jeopardy.
While critics have bemoaned that Notre Dame should relax their high academic standards, perhaps they should raise their own instead.
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