ND investigates Chappell's reported NCAA violation
Officials aware of allegations for weeks
By BRIAN KESSLER
and TIM CASEY
Notre Dame is investigating allegations that backup quarterback Eric Chappell may have violated NCAA rules by attempting to sell complimentary football tickets, school officials said Thursday.
"Anytime something happens that could involve an NCAA violation, we make a report to the NCAA," University spokesman Dennis Moore said.
Moore refused to provide specifics on the investigation, but said he has been aware of allegations for a few weeks.
"Just because a story is published, doesn't mean it is news to everyone," Moore said. "It is not something we didn't know about before."
A source told The Observer Wednesday night that Chappell was dismissed from the football team for attempting to sell complimentary tickets and for accepting gifts totaling $5,000.
Chappell reportedly offered the source and an acquaintance, described as a 1998 Notre Dame graduate, two tickets for $50 each for the Sept. 4 Notre Dame-Michigan game. The source said they did not purchase the tickets.
The source then reportedly informed the athletic department of the attempted sale.
The source and the graduate previously accepted free tickets from Chappell and other players, the source said.
Chappell, a senior, denied the allegations Wednesday.
Davie announced Chappell's dismissal, referred to as an "internal team matter," last Tuesday.
Chappell released a statement last Tuesday to the athletic department assuming responsibility for the actions which led to his dismissal.
"I don't want to be interviewed about the reason I was dismissed," Chappell said Thursday night. "The whole situation is embarrassing."
Chappell said he has not had contact with the athletic department since submitting the statement.
Head coach Bob Davie commented on the allegations involving Chappell after team practice Thursday.
"I am comfortable that we acted immediately on any information we had," Davie said. "I'm totally comfortable that we've taken the right steps with our action."
He refused to elaborate on any University actions concerning Chappell.
"I'm not going to comment on that," he said. "I don't think that'd be fair to Eric. And that's our policy here at Notre Dame, to not comment on that."
University rules allow every uniformed player to invite four guests free access to each game.
The players do not actually receive tickets but list guests who are admitted without charge into the stadium. The guests must show identification at the gate for the tickets, which are purchased by the athletic department.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions currently is investigating the University for a case involving a former football booster who allegedly gave former team members $18,000 in gifts. Notre Dame appeared before the committee June 4 and was told the case would be resolved in six weeks. A decision has not yet been reached.
Chappell, formerly a third-string quarterback, hadn't played at all for the Irish this season. Last year, he played in only three games, going 0-for-4 with two interceptions.