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August 4, 2012
Brian Kelly explained Friday his reasoning behind handing down equal punishment - a one-game suspension - to quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese in the aftermath of a May 3 off-campus party incident that led to both players’ arrest and, ultimately, a guilty plea by Rees to two of four misdemeanor charges.
“All cases of discipline are about the individual,” said Kelly, who one year ago was dealing with a disciplinary decision involving Notre Dame’s all-time leading receiver, Michael Floyd. “I don’t have a book of ‘if you do this you get this, if you do this you get that.’ I look at the individual and try to keep it case to case.”
Last year, Floyd, who was charged with driving under the influence while operating a vehicle, was not suspended from games in 2011. Instead, Kelly and the University imposed a series of off-the-field punishments as well as exclusion from participation in spring drills.
“I’m not concerned with the public perception,” said Kelly last year of his decision to reinstate Floyd for the entire 2012 season. “I felt with Mike that he had made that life-changing decision. That was a gut feeling on my part, and then other observations from people that were a lot closer on a consistent basis. All of that in its totality led me to the decision that I made in reinstating him.”
During the 2011 season, Kelly suspended freshman defensive end Stephon Tuitt one game for missing classes.
After pleading not guilty in June, Rees pleaded guilty on July 23 to minor consumption and resisting law enforcement -- both misdemeanors -- while the charges of misdemeanor battery and resisting law enforcement were dropped.
Rees was sentenced to 330 days probation and 50 hours of community service, and also was required to write a letter to the arresting police officers for his actions.
Calabrese was arrested on one count of misdemeanor intimidation for allegedly threatening a police officer. His next hearing is slated for Aug. 20.
There had been speculation that Notre Dame/Kelly would not suspend Rees and Calabrese any games. But less than a week before the start of fall practice, it was announced that both would not only not play in the season-opener against Navy, but also not make the trip to Dublin, Ireland.
“I look at the facts, I look at the information and I make decisions based upon the individual,” Kelly said. “At the end of the day, I want great citizens. I want all our guys to be great citizens. So whatever those sanctions are it’s with that end in mind, to have really good citizens that represent our football program.”
Rees and Calabrese could meet with the media as early as Saturday afternoon following the first practice of pre-season camp.
Asked if he considered suspending Rees and Calabrese for more than one game or no games at all, Kelly responded: “I try to consider everything and make the best decision for that individual. If you go in there with a predisposed, ‘Hey, I’m just doing this,’ then you might as well paint with a broad brush.
“I try to look at each one individually and make the best decision as it relates to the individual, knowing what I want at the end. I want good young men and how I can get that as it relates to accountability.”
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