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May 3, 2012

Kelly to ‘withhold judgment' on arrests

Brian Kelly won't rush to a decision on the football fates of Tommy Rees or Carlo Calabrese following their alcohol-related arrests Thursday morning near campus.

Both players were arrested after midnight at a house party following a noise complaint. Rees, 19, was preliminarily charged with resisting arrest, battery to law enforcement, minor consumption and public intoxication. Calabrese, 21, was arrested for disorderly conduct and was released on a $150 cash bond hours later.

When booked, Rees had a .11 blood-alcohol content level. Calabrese tested at .12.

Rees remained at the St. Joseph County jail on Thursday afternoon but was released on a $250 bond by the end of the day. That cleared up some of the uncertainty surrounding Rees considering battery to a law enforcement charge could be counted as a felony. Instead, Rees was charged with four misdemeanors: minor consumption, battery and two counts of resisting law enforcement.

Notre Dame's head coach did not act to suspend the quarterback or linebacker on Thursday afternoon, releasing a statement before Rees was charged.

"I am aware of last night's incident involving two of our football players," Kelly said in a statement. "I am of course very concerned given the nature of the allegations, but I am still gathering information. I'll withhold judgment until I can collect all the facts and speak with both Carlo and Tommy."

Regardless of what move Kelly makes, the players will likely be subjected to the University's internal disciplinary process. The school's findings and punishments would be independent of the judicial system.

That's the same internal process that did not suspend Michael Floyd from the University a year ago following an arrest on a DUI charge, his third alcohol-related incident as a Notre Dame student. Kelly suspended Floyd indefinitely one day after the arrest, although the star receiver worked out with the team during the summer and was reinstated before the start of training camp.

"The university is aware of this incident and is confident that it will be handled in a prompt and professional manner through the criminal justice system," Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement. "Internal discipline is handled privately, in accord with our own policies and federal law."

Regardless of the outcomes for Rees and Calabrese, the football impact on the Notre Dame program could be dramatic. Rees was locked in a four-man quarterback competition and emerged from spring practice as Notre Dame's likely leader over Everett Golson, Andrew Hendrix and Gunner Kiel. Calabrese worked with the starting defense all spring with Dan Fox out injured.

Kelly emphasized the quarterback who wins the job will be the one who "commits to the details this summer" during voluntary workouts. Without a decision from Kelly or formal charges brought against the quarterback by early Thursday afternoon, it's not clear if Rees be allowed to participate in those off-season drills.


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