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4 key Notre Dame players dismissed amid investigation, according to report

The university has reportedly been investigating academic fraud throughout the summer, but denies players have been dismissed.

KeiVarae Russell is considered one of the country's best defensive backs.
KeiVarae Russell is considered one of the country's best defensive backs.

Notre Dame football players have been implicated in an investigation into academic fraud at the university, according to Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde and others. The South Bend Tribune's Eric Hansen reports, "the scale of alleged fraud is comparable to the highly publicized case at the University of North Carolina."

The university confirmed the existence of the investigation, and denied punishments being doled out yet in a press conference Friday.

Jenkins repeatedly declined to give details due to the ongoing nature of the investigation and stressed how seriously the school takes the allegations.

"Integrity is at the heart of our mission at this university," Jenkins said. "Academic integrity strikes at that heart."

According to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, the four players being investigated — wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore — have been dismissed from the school. Three have been starters, and Moore was considered at least a contributor. 247 Sports noted that those four were not at practice on Friday.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the four players are at school and on scholarship but are not allowed to participate in games or practices.

Forde reports the damage might not be done yet:

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The situation was described to Yahoo Sports as a potential "honor code violation," which could result in the ineligibility of the players. Under NCAA protocol, if any fraud that occurred impacted players' eligibility the school could ultimately vacate victories. Both Daniels and Russell were significant players during Notre Dame's 2012 season, when the Irish went 12-0 before losing to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.

Amid speculation, Notre Dame betting lines have been removed from several casinos. From Kevin Bradley at Bovada, via OddsShark: "We took the win total down until we know what is happening, but for now, the future odds remain the same until we know more."

Before last season, 2012 starting quarterback Everett Golson was removed from Notre Dame's enrollment due to an academic violation. He was readmitted in December.

And yes, the college football internet has had a wide range of reactions.