It was a quiet day and a half since news of six Notre Dame football players being arrested over the weekend hit the wires. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly broke the silence on Sunday afternoon by dismissing senior Max Redfield from the Notre Dame team and suspending Devin Butler indefinitely. The other four members of the team arrested Friday night have not received any disciplinary action at this time. That could change depending on the outcome of the legal process.
“During the past 24 hours, I have met with each of the members of our team involved in the two incidents that occurred over the weekend, reviewed the evidence available to me, and consulted with others involved in the leadership of our team and the University,” Kelly said in a statement released by Notre Dame this afternoon. “That process has only served to deepen my disappointment in the poor decisions made by these young men. Their conduct fell far short of what we expect from those who represent our football team and this great university.”
Then Kelly dropped the hammer down on this upperclassmen involved. “On the basis of my review, I have decided to dismiss Max Redfield from our football team and place Devin Butler on indefinite suspension,” Kelly said.
While Redfield and Butler were the only two to receive immediate disciplinary action, the others involved – Kevin Stepherson, Tevon Coney, Dexter Williams, and Ashton White – could be subject to further action. “The other individuals, while not being separated from the team, will be subject to disciplinary measures internal to the football program.”
Redfield and Butler were given their punishments already given their status as upperclassmen. Redfield has also run into disciplinary actions in the past and sat out the Fiesta Bowl this past January as a result. “The expectations we set for the members of our team are high, but they are especially so for the upperclassmen who are expected to provide leadership and a positive example to the other members of the team. Max and, at least at this stage in the review of his case, Devin, have failed in that regard and so have lost the privilege of continuing to be part of our team.”
Before any one overreacts and thinks the other four players involved are “getting off easy”, there is still the very real likelihood that they could end up being suspended or worse as well. We just won’t know until the legal process plays out in this case. “n making this announcement it is important to stress that all of the players involved in these two incidents remain subject to justice system and University discipline, and those processes could yet impact their standing with the University and the team.” said Kelly.
As in every case of disciplinary action, the fate of all of the student athletes involved here will be determined by the University, not Kelly or the athletic department. “At Notre Dame, where we place so much importance on the integration of students who are athletes into the broader university, the primary responsibility for discipline lies, as it should, with the University’s Office of Community Standards.”
Kelly decided to take action into his own hands in the case of Redfield and Butler. “Even within that system, there are times when a player’s conduct so clearly fails to meet the standards I have set for our football team that it is appropriate to take action independent of any decision that might be made by the Office of Community Standards,” Kelly said.
“This is such an instance.”
We’ll dive into what this means for Notre Dame on the field this fall, but at a minimum this news thrusts freshman Devin Studstill into a starting role at free safety. While this certainly isn’t an ideal situation, Notre Dame was forced to start a true freshman in the secondary in 2012 as well after projected starting CB Lo Wood suffered an ACL injury in camp. That ended up working out alright for Notre Dame and Keivarae Russell. Hopefully the same happens here.
Much more on this as the story continues to develop.