Notre Dame starts its August training camp in three days, but the off-season question of note has already been answered: 16-game starter Tommy Rees will not be under center for the season opener vs. Navy. He, along with backup linebacker Carlo Calabrese, will return to active status following the team's return from Dublin, Ireland.
Both were suspended for their actions and arrests at an off-campus party on May 3 in South Bend.
“Our players understand that it’s a privilege to be associated with the University of Notre Dame and its football program, but with that comes great responsibility,” Kelly said in a released statement Thursday afternoon. “Carlo and Tommy put themselves in a situation that when given a choice between two distinct paths, they responded with a set of poor decisions. This conduct was inconsistent with my expectations for our football program – especially our veteran, team leaders. Carlo and Tommy will not travel with the team to Ireland and can attempt to climb the depth chart following the conclusion of their respective suspensions.”
Rees recently pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges: resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count of resisting law enforcement and a battery count. Rees will serve 50 hours of community service and serve 11 months probation. He was also required to write a letter of apology to officers involved in a widely reported altercation that ensued after Rees fled from the scene.
"I apologize to my family, friends, the Notre Dame community, Fighting Irish fans and the South Bend Police Department for my actions this spring. I made a poor decision and I accept full responsibility," said Rees in a written statement following the adjudication of his case.
"I learned a valuable lesson and witnessed first-hand that actions have consequences. This experience will make me a better person and I will focus on being a positive role model and citizen.
"To those who supported me during this difficult time, I offer my sincerest thanks. To the people I disappointed, I am dedicated to winning back your trust and confidence."
Calabrese awaits an August 20 court date on one misdemeanor count of intimidation. The senior linebacker reportedly threatened officers at the scene, stating, "My people will get you."
Either junior Andrew Hendrix, red-shirt freshman Everett Golson, or true freshman and January enrollee Gunner Kiel will earn the Week One starting nod. Kiel appeared to rank a notch behind the Rees/Hendrix/Golson trio exiting spring practice.
Senior Dan Fox beat out Calabrese for the starting Will linebacker spot last August and started all 13 games last fall. Fox missed most of spring practice with a knee sprain, but was expected to be ready when the Irish begin camp on Friday.
Irisheyes.com will have more on the suspensions in a Wednesday morning column and again Friday afternoon following Kelly's inaugural training camp press conference.