What's worse? A knock on the door in late May followed by the news that your starting quarterback has been suspended for a year for academic dishonesty? Or a knock on the door in mid-August with news that your best receiver, best defensive back, a starting defensive end and a backup linebacker might be guilty of the same thing and could face the same punishment or worse?

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly might need to play out this season before he answers that question, but he'll be uniquely qualified. After losing quarterback Everett Golson for all of last season because of a violation of Notre Dame's student honor code, Kelly might lose receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore for this season or longer. The players were pulled into meetings Friday morning with investigators looking into alleged academic fraud. They were held out of practice, and their futures with the school are uncertain. The fact that Notre Dame held a press conference to discuss them and that athletic director Jack Swarbrick identified them does not seem to bode well for them.

The Rev. John Jenkins said evidence that students had submitted papers and homework written for them by others was found near the end of the summer session, prompting an investigation. That investigation continues, and the reluctance of Swarbrick and Jenkins to provide specifics or timelines beyond the initial tip suggests this could get more embarrassing for the Fighting Irish.

“How far back it goes, we’re just not prepared to say right now,” Jenkins said at a news conference early Friday evening. Notre Dame vice president Paul Browne said in a release Friday that school officials were prepared to vacate football victories if they found evidence that any player would have been ineligible during competition. Jenkins and Swarbrick did not want to speculate how far back this goes, but my 15-year-old self will light some candles in the Grotto and pray all-time great Notre Dame tutor D-Bob wasn’t involved.