Notre Dame's academic investigation likely will drag on at least through next week, when students return to campus for the fall semester. So for the next few days, no news may be good news for Notre Dame football.
On Monday, though, athletic director Jack Swarbrick said on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" that "no evidence" has been uncovered in the investigation that shows the possible academic misconduct is a deep-seeded problem with the university.
"My confidence is very high that there isn't some sort of institutional issue here like a ghost class or a transcript problem or a member of the faculty doing something or an academic adviser," Swarbrick said. "That I'm very, very confident in."
Those comments echo what Swarbrick said at Friday's press conference — that if there were an institutional problem, the NCAA may come down harder with sanctions beyond Notre Dame possibly vacating wins from past seasons.
With less than two weeks remaining until Notre Dame's season opener against Rice, there isn't a clear timetable as to when the investigation will conclude and/or make a determination about the status of the four players currently suspended from team activities. Swarbrick said the investigation has poured over thousands of emails — which apparently is a point of contention with Phillip Daniels, the former Bears defensive end and father of wide receiver DaVaris Daniels.
On Saturday, Phillip Daniels wrote in a since-deleted tweet: "Message to athletes: Never use the university email system even if you are doing things the right way!"
For now, Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, linebacker Kendall Moore and defensive end Ishaq Williams will remain suspended from team activities so long as the investigation is ongoing.
"There's evidence that they may have worked together in a way that just isn't okay with Notre Dame," Swarbrick said.
From a football and public relations standpoint, the potential losses of the four key players and the ignominy of an academic investigation have hurt the school over the last 72 hours. But Swarbrick said he's "especially proud" of the process at Notre Dame — which does not involve athletics — to get to the bottom of the possible academic improprieties.
"We had somebody detect a potential anomaly in a paper. It would've been easy to look at the paper, make a determination about that student-athlete and move on," Swarbrick said. "That's now how Notre Dame works. We want to make sure — we want to protect the academic integrity and the values of the university."