Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly met with the six players who were arrested in separate incidents over the weekend and decided to dismiss senior safety Max Redfield from the program and place senior cornerback Devin Butler on idefinite suspension.
The other four players who were arrested -- sophomore linebacker Te'von Coney, sophomore running back Dexter Williams, redshirt freshman cornerback Ashton White and freshman receiver Kevin Stepherson -- will be disciplined internally, Kelly said in a release Sunday afternoon.
Kelly stressed all the players who were arrested over the weekend are still subject to university discipline, which could impact their standing with the team. The discipline handed down by Kelly on Sunday is independent of university discipline.
Kelly's full statement is below:
"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. "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.
"On the basis of my review, I have decided to dismiss Max Redfield from our football team and place Devin Butler on indefinite suspension. The other individuals, while not being separated from the team, will be subject to disciplinary measures internal to the football program.
"In 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. 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. But 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. This is such an instance.
"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."
Redfield, Williams, Coney, White and Stepherson were all arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana after being pulled over on U.S. 31 in Fulton County, about 35 miles south of South Bend, Friday night. Redfield, Stepherson and Williams were also booked on an additional charge of possession of a handgun without a license.
Butler was arrested Saturday morning after a scuffle outside the Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, in which he also allegedly shoved a woman, and was preliminarily charged with resisting arrest and battery of a police officer, both of which are felonies. The state has until Aug. 24 to decide whether or not to formally charge Butler.
If Butler is charged with a felony, it would be grounds for dismissal from the university, according to a Notre Dame spokesperson.
The loss of Redfield will likely hurt the Irish the most. The former five-star recruit earned praise from coaches for his improvements made during preseason camp as he entered his third year as the team’s starting free safety. Expect early-enrolling freshman Devin Studstill, who impressed coaches during spring practice for his ability to pick up Brian VanGorder's defense, to start in his first collegiate game Sept. 4 against Texas in place of Redfield.
Coney is battling with junior Greer Martini and redshirt freshman Asmar Bilal for playing time at Will (inside) linebacker, while Stepherson made a solid first impression during spring and preseason camp. Williams, too, had an impressive spring and preseason but is solidly behind redshirt junior Tarean Folston and sophomore Josh Adams on Notre Dame’s running back depth chart.
Butler suffered a broken foot before the Fiesta Bowl last December and re-injured his foot over the summer, and wasn’t expected back until mid-October at the earliest. White redshirted last year and is battling with a number of freshmen for reserve cornerback roles.