When the Notre Dame football program begins its summer bridge program on Monday, Ishaq Williams will be a part of it. He plans to drive back to South Bend this weekend with his father Shaun Williams, returning to the University that suspended him for the past two semesters following the academic misconduct investigation that ensnared Keivarae Russell, DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore and Eilar Hardy.
But when Notre Dame opens its football season on Sept. 5 against Texas, it’s not clear if Williams will be on the field, on the sidelines or even in the stands. According to his father, Williams has yet to receive word of his official reinstatement to the school or program, with Notre Dame under pressure by the 85-man scholarship limit.
Shaun Williams said if his son’s senior season never occurs that the former five-star recruit is adamant about making sure his senior year at Notre Dame does, including graduation.
“He is prepared to do what he can to help them place in and win a national championship, up to practicing and being on the scout team,” Shaun Williams said. “All those things, it’s whatever is made available to him.”
According to his father, Ishaq spent part of the past five months working in community outreach at Bethel Assembly Gospel in Harlem. The defensive end also did work in the financial sector on Wall Street, while splitting time living with his father in Brooklyn and his mother outside Philadelphia.
Shaun Williams said his son is 27 credits from graduation and did not seriously consider transferring for his senior season.
Even if the senior loses his scholarship at Notre Dame, his father said Ishaq is intent on finishing his undergraduate degree at his own cost, with a major in philosophy.
“I don’t know (about the scholarship),” Shaun Williams said. “I wish I could speak intelligently on it. But I think we’re all prepared to make sure that he gets his degree and if the scholarship falls into place, if a grant-in-aid package falls into place, if we’ve got to put money together and pay the tuition bill ourselves, we want to get him that degree.”
Shaun Williams said the University assured him earlier this month that written notice of Ishaq’s re-admittance would be postmarked by May 25. The family had yet to receive that from Notre Dame as of Friday.
“This particular situation, it’s not in black and white,” Shaun Williams said. “There’s a lot of shades of gray here.”
Shaun Williams said he didn’t want to speculate on what his son had learned from the past 10 months, with his college career potentially over after three seasons. He did express admiration for Ishaq’s determination to get back to South Bend.
“I know the thing that passed through my mind is what respect I have for this kid and his character. He had some choices,” Shaun Williams said. “But to see the decisions that he’s made, even in light of this distasteful situation, he’s gonna do what he can with what’s made available.”