Notre Dame dropped another hurdle in front of head coach Brian Kelly on Thursday when the school announced a fifth suspension as part of the ongoing academic misconduct investigation.
Irish Illustrated has learned that player to be reserve safety Eilar Hardy.
In its initial release the University did not name Hardy, who joins KeiVarae Russell, DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore and Ishaq Williams on a list of student-athletes suspended from practice and competition. Those previous four players have not practiced with the squad in nearly two weeks and Kelly ruled them out of Saturday's season opener against Rice. Hardy did not practice on Thursday.
Notre Dame released the following statement: As Notre Dame's internal investigation relating to potential NCAA violations reaches its conclusion, a decision has been made to hold a fifth football player out from practice and competition. As with all cases of suspected academic dishonesty, the matter will now be subject to the University's honor code process.
Kelly met with the media after practice and said the academic investigation has been closed, with resolution on the status of the suspended players potentially coming quickly. He said that no other players would be pulled into the investigation, according to the information he's received from the University.
"I don't know what the outcome is going to be, but I do know we are now moving very quickly because we've concluded the investigation," he said. "Now it's my knowledge of how our process works is that we'd obviously adjudicate rather quickly."
Losing Hardy won't impact Notre Dame's defensive depth chart, as the senior was not listed on the two-deep at safety.
Hardy was suspended twice last season, both at Purdue and at Stanford, by Kelly for violations of team rules.
Kelly said the conclusion's end has provided his roster with some stability moving forward.
"For our football team, we fell this brings a big part of closure for us," Kelly said. "So we can now focus the next 48 hours on preparation for Rice. You never want to hear about a young man being pulled from practice and competition, but we've talked about this, there's accountability and responsibility and that will ensue here over the next week or so.
"But again, from my perspective, the most important thing now is we have some closure and we can move forward knowing that we can prepare out football team."