Associated Press

THIBODAUX, La. -- Fifteen Nicholls State football players will be ineligible for the team's opening game Thursday against Eastern Washington -- fallout from an investigation into allegations of academic fraud involving players and an assistant coach.

The players, which the school refused to identify, have not yet been certified by the NCAA as eligible to compete, Nicholls State said in a news release.

The NCAA is reviewing requests for waivers on the players, but a decision is not expected before the first game, said Michael Delaune, a university spokesman.

The university began an investigation, later joined by the Southland Conference and the NCAA, when irregularities were discovered after some students tried to transfer summer coursework from an out-of-state institution.

Nicholls State fired assistant coach Jeff Richards. Head football coach Darryl Daye was not implicated in the fraud but was fired for failing to "maintain proper controls." He was replaced by his top assistant, Jay Thomas.