Notre Dame to hold out fifth player in academic investigation

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Notre Dame announced on Thursday afternoon -- a bit less than 48 hours before its season kicks off -- that a fifth player is being investigated for academic issues.

The school indefinitely suspended four players, including three starters, on Aug. 15 as it investigated "suspected academic dishonesty."

"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," the school announced in a statement Thursday.

The player's name was not released but the South Bend Tribune reported that "a university official confirmed that it was senior reserve safety Eilar Hardy."

Hardy started twice last season, making 26 tackles, and was in line to be a third-team safety this fall.

The school earlier had suspended wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore. The first three were starters, and Daniels -- who missed spring practice because of academic issues -- and Russell especially will be missed.

Notre Dame opens its season Saturday at home against Rice.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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