An imbroglio that slammed headfirst into the Notre Dame football program yesterday had the same initial impact on its head coach.
As you have no doubt heard by now, four members of the Irish football program — thee starters, one key reserve — have been suspended from the team pending the outcome of an investigation into academic fraud. Brian Kelly was alerted to the situation during a Thursday meeting with athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
Saturday, Kelly addressed the media for the first time and was, of course, immediately asked about the situation.
“My emotions were shock and disappointment at the time,” Kelly said when asked what he felt upon first learning of the probe.
The four players — wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, linebacker Kendall Moore, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive end Ishaq Williams — remain enrolled in school but are not permitted to take part in any football activities with the team. Kelly revealed that he has not yet talked to any of the players involved, but expects to do so within the next 24 hours or so.
As for the players’ futures at the school?
Notre Dame football has long prided itself on doing things “the right way,” an image that was dented, some would say severely, with the news that broke yesterday. While that image took a hit, Kelly continued to espouse the virtues to which the university in general and the football program in particular clings.
“It’s a privilege to play at Notre Dame, not a right. We don’t say one thing and do another. I’m proud of Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “There are no shortcuts in what we do. You can’t win taking shortcuts.”
Kelly added that he has not been interviewed as part of the investigation and doesn’t expect to be going forward. He also confirmed that no other current Irish football players are under investigation.
The investigation is weeks away from completion, if not months, which means that all four players will most certainly miss the season opener against Rice. The Irish also have games against Michigan (Sept. 6), Stanford (Oct. 4), North Carolina (Oct. 11) and Florida State (Oct. 18) in the first month and a half of the season, a tough stretch that won’t be helped if all or part of the quartet is still sidelined.
Marshall has dismissed safety Tiquan Lang, the program announced in a statement Friday.
The dreaded “violation of team rules” is the culprit here. Draw your own conclusions from there.
“Marshall senior safety Tiquan Lang has been dismissed due to a violation of team rules and policies,” said head coach Doc Holliday.
Lang ranked second on the team last fall with 91 tackles. He also posted two interceptions, six pass break ups and a tackle for loss.
He posted a career day in the 2015 opener, posting 17 tackles and returning two interceptions for touchdowns in a 41-31 win over Purdue. Lang was named Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Week for becoming the first C-USA player since 1998 to record two pick sixes in the same game.
One of the most enviable jobs in Group of 5 football has been awarded.
Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm has announced Mike White will be the Hilltoppers’ starting quarterback this season. A transfer from South Florida, White defeated Louisville transfer Tyler Ferguson and sophomore Drew Eckles to win the job.
“Mike has done a nice job preparing himself for this moment and operates our offense well,” Brohm said, via the Louisville Courier-Journal. “All three of our veteran quarterbacks worked extremely hard and will be prepared if we call their number. On Thursday, Mike will be our starter and I’m excited for his potential to lead our team.”
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., White, a redshirt junior, started off and on for the Bulls in 2013 and ’14 (oddly enough, the Bulls’ down years before taking off in 2015), tossing a total of 11 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. The Bulls 2-12 in games where he saw significant action though, to be fair, he was hardly South Florida’s only work in progress at that time.
White inherits the job from Brandon Doughty, who ranked second and third nationally in passing over the past two seasons. Doughty is now with the Miami Dolphins.
Western Kentucky opens its season Thursday against Rice.
The 2016 college football season started with… an onside kick. In his first game as Hawaii’s head coach, Nick Rolovich opened with a surprise, which Cal’s Patrick Laird alertly covered. Khalfani Muhammad raced in from 34 yards out just six plays later, and it was off to the races for the Bears.
Hawaii fought back to tie the game at 7-7 and again at 14-14 late in the first quarter, but the Bears closed the first half on a 20-0 run, keyed by a pair of Davis Webb touchdown tosses, to put the game away en route to a 51-31 win. Hawaii never pulled closer than 17 points in the second half.
Played at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, the game was the first-ever college contest played in Australia.
Webb dazzled in his Bears debut, hitting 38-of-54 throws for 441 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Chad Hansen was his top target, collecting 14 grabs for 160 yards and two of those scores. Muhammad, meanwhile, led the Bears’ ground game with 10 carries for 96 yards and a score.
Ikaika Woolsey led Hawaii with 234 passing yards and one touchdown.
Overall, Cal achieved 630 yards of total offense (30 first downs) on 7.1 yards per play, while allowing Hawaii to gain 6.7 yards per play and 482 total yards.
Cal takes next week off before a date with San Diego State, while Hawaii must turn around and prepare for a road trip to No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.
East Carolina has dismissed defensive lineman Darius Commissiong following an arrest for animal cruelty, the program announced Friday.
A Facebook post from the Greenville (N.C.) police department say they responded to a call at an apartment 2 a.m. Friday after a report of a disturbance. They entered the home to find a one-year-old Shih Tzu deceased inside the residence.
According to the department’s Facebook post, the dog suffered “multiple hemorrhages to the skin and body,” three cracked ribs, a collapsed lung, hemorrhaging in the abdomen, left eye and brain, a liver “torn into pieces,” several fractured teeth and a complete fracture in the right hind leg. Witnesses pegged Commissiong as the perpetrator, and the 21-year-old was arrested on a felony charge of animal cruelty. He is held on a $25,000 bond.
“While we always want to be in a position to guide young people, unacceptable behavior such as this clearly crosses the line of humanity and simply will not be tolerated,” head coach Scottie Montgomery said in a statement. “There’s a level of accountability which defines our program, athletics department and East Carolina University, and any conduct which isn’t congruent with those values is unwelcome here.”
Commissioing’s arrest comes shortly on the heals of the surfacing of a video showing Baylor wide receiver Ish Zamora beating and kicking a dog, which was recorded earlier this summer. Zamora was not arrested and remains on Baylor’s roster.
Commissiong played in 10 games last season for the Pirates, collecting 10 tackles. He was a projected started along East Carolina’s defensive front before today’s dismissal.