Players practicing, but school has final say on Week 1 availability

ByMatt Fortuna ESPN logo
Thursday, August 25, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Damecoach Brian Kelly said the four players he disciplined internally in light of weekend arrests are currently practicing with the football team, but that their playing status is currently in the university's hands.

Sophomore linebacker Te'Von Coney, freshman receiver Kevin Stepherson, redshirt freshman Ashton White and sophomore running back Dexter Williams were all arrested Friday night on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Stepherson and Williams were charged with possession of a handgun without a license, also a misdemeanor.

Kelly said Wednesday that he did not know who the gun belonged to.

In a statement Sunday, Kelly had dismissed senior safety Max Redfield -- who was also charged with both marijuana possession and the handgun possession -- and said that the other four players involved would be subject to internal team discipline, adding that the status could be affected by the legal and university processes.

"As I said in my statement there could be further actions through the university and that will have to take its course," Kelly said Wednesday after practice, in his first meeting with reporters since the incident. "I think the university is certainly looking at all of these cases and will be certainly expediting or moving quickly through the process, but those matters are out of my hands. I've dealt with it internally, they've been handled within the program and the rest will be about what the university does."

Kelly said that senior cornerback Devin Butler, who was arrested early Saturday morning in a separate incident, is not currently part of any football-related activities. A not guilty plea was entered Wednesday on behalf of Butler, who was charged with felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official.

In a statement Saturday, Notre Dame vice president of communications Paul Browne had said that any student charged with a felony was subject to dismissal.

Kelly, who had suspended Butler indefinitely on Sunday, said any resolution with the player's status will be expedited given the current circumstances.