The father of one of the four Notre Dame football players named in an internal investigation into academic fraud says his son is innocent and isn't happy with the way the school is handling the situation.
Former Chicago Bears player Phillip Daniels' son, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, is one of the players suspected of submitting homework and papers that had been written for them by other students. The other players are defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore.
Philip Daniels appeared on NBC 5 Sports Sunday and said he hadn't heard from the school.
"I really think as a whole, Notre Dame has handled this really bad, man," Daniels said. "As a parent, I haven't heard from the university; I haven't heard from coach Kelly."
"The worst thing that happened was pulling all those kids off the practice field. I heard it from a media source first. I didn't hear it from my son; I didn't hear it from Notre Dame. I heard it from media."
The students will be held out of practice and competition while the university conducts its investigation. The athletic department received the information about academic improprieties in late June, and have notified the NCAA of potential violations.
Philip Daniels said the student suspected of helping with the papers is the girlfriend of a cornerback on the team.
"All she did was edit the papers, look over them, proofread them," Daniels said. "Davaris wrote his own papers."
"It's the school email system that they're checking out, and they're looking at the email system to see if they got help with the work, and it's a shame that they're looking through emails and getting half the story, and not listening to the kids and figuring out how they really got the work done," he continued.
DeVaris Daniels was suspended from the team for the spring semester for failing to maintain a proper grade point average, but worked his way back on to the team.
"I talked to DeVaris, and I was at ease when I talked to him," Daniels said. "I know my son. I know he did the right things. He just came off of suspension – and the thing is, if he was getting so much help, I don't think he would have went through the suspension in the first place."
Notre Dame officials said the players will remain enrolled in classes while the investigation is ongoing.
"I hope they get to the bottom of it and allow those guys to get back on the field, focus on the season, because they're losing a lot of valuable practice time right now," Philip Daniels said.