The last year has been a rough one for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly – and not because of the way the team played on the field. After all, the Fighting Irish were one non-call away from beating Florida State University early in the season, a feat that no one was able to accomplish until the national semifinals when Oregon did the job. Instead, current Notre Dame College Football Betting Lines face the aftereffects of an academic scandal. During the 2014 season, KeiVarae Russell, Eilar Hardy, DaVaris Daniels, Ishaq Williams and Kendall Moore all had suspensions handed down from the school as part of an investigation into academic fraud. In 2013, Notre Dame quarterback (who now is at Florida State) was suspended for poor academic judgment. So this past week Coach Kelly came out and admitted that all of the men on his roster are at risk from an academic standpoint and that the school will do its very best from this point on to give the players what they need to succeed in the classroom – ethically.
Analyzing How Academic Failures Affect Notre Dame’s NCAA Football Lines
Who’s ready to add another W in 85 days?! pic.twitter.com/WSrjqVgLNJ
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) June 12, 2015
As Kelly told Notre Dame Insider, “I don’t know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they are. Maybe one or two of our players that are on scholarship.” This was a refreshing admission about the way academic standards do not apply to student-athletes at many of the major Division I institutions.
While it’s true that scholarship athletes have many demands placed on their time, there are many other students who have to work multiple part-time jobs in order to put themselves through school, while also doing their work for class. Coach Kelly’s commitment to providing “all the resources necessary for them to succeed” so that the school doesn’t “force them into finding shortcuts” is a break from the way in which many other universities handle this problem – which is to say that they simply don’t handle it.
Kelly’s public statement came after meeting with athletic director Jack Swarbrick and university president John I. Jenkins to talk about how Notre Dame student-athletes can perform both on and off the field with ethics.
Is Brian Kelly A Progressive Voice of Reason for ND
So is Brian Kelly really being a progressive voice here? It’s worth noting that it took two different scandals for him to speak out. However, there have been plenty of other institutions that went through similar scandals with scant mention of a need for change from anyone in the athletic department, let alone the team’s head coach.
Of course, this also speaks to the poor academic preparation that so many student-athletes receive before graduating high school. If coaches are really excited when their players make an 18 on the ACT, which would not rate them entrance into most Division I schools if they weren’t going to contribute to the team on the field, that’s really an indictment on how schools and coaches start using these students earlier in life.
The fact that Kelly is talking about his players as a student group that only received the chance for an education of the caliber that Notre Dame provides because of football is smart, as it positions them as a group of exceptions who deserve the opportunity to better themselves rather than an entitled group of jocks looking to skate through with a “General Studies” degree.
Of course, Kelly did have some motivation. There are plenty of other coaches out there who are able to use the difficulties of Notre Dame academics to recruit blue-chip players away from the Fighting Irish. If these really are student-athletes, though, it’s high time to pay attention to the first half of that term.