Notre Dame's probe into possible academic fraud may be near its end but not before it ensnared one more player.
Backup safety Eilar Hardy is being held out of practice and competition as the school's inquiry has proceeded, making him the fifth Irish player to be named as part of the ongoing investigation.
"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," a statement from the school said. "As with all cases of suspected academic dishonesty, the matter will now be subject to the University's honor code process."
A school official confirmed to SI.com that Hardy is the player in question. Hardy played in 10 games in 2013 and registered 26 tackles after sitting out both 2011 and 2012. He was not in Notre Dame's two-deep released earlier this week in advance of the season opener against Rice.
The original four players held out of practice and competition due to the investigation were cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams, receiver DaVaris Daniels and linebacker Kendall Moore. Russell, Williams and Daniels were expected starters this fall.
Does Notre Dame face a choice between football and academics?
On Friday's SI Now, Sports Illustrated staff writer Brian Hamilton discusses how Notre Dame has to juggle keeping its image intact with winning football games in light of the school's academic scandal.
STAPLES: Notre Dame fights to protect its academic integrity