NOTRE DAME — In the wake of the news that former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was no longer enrolled at the school, Brian Kelly felt more like a disappointed parent than an angry coach.
“It’s like being a dad,” Kelly said in a media teleconference Tuesday, May 28. “You’re disappointed, but these things happen and you want your players to be accountable. There’s a big sense of pride and knowing that Everett handled himself in the right way and took accountability and responsibility, and he’s going to do everything in his power to get himself back here at Notre Dame.”
Golson was removed from the school following an academic issue, something the quarterback himself called “poor academic judgement.”
Golson was set to return as Notre Dame’s top man under center after a 12-1 season as a redshirt freshman and a trip to the BCS national championship game, where the Irish lost to Alabama. Kelly knows with Golson gone and former five-star recruit Gunner Kiel departed for Cincinnati, responsibility falls on veterans Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix and early enrollee Malik Zaire to pick up the slack.
Rees, who has played in 33 games in his three years at Notre Dame and started 18 of them, would appear to be the frontrunner heading into preseason camp, but Kelly indicated that the door is open to all three signal callers.
“We have three quarterbacks,” Kelly said. “Tommy and Andrew have a great deal of experience, and obviously Malik got an opportunity to come in early, has a good understanding. So all of those guys will have an opportunity to compete to be the starter.”
Kelly also isn’t shutting the door on Golson, who he says will do everything in his power to get re-enrolled in Notre Dame by the start of 2014. Neither Kelly nor the Notre Dame compliance office have received word from any other schools concerning a possible transfer.
“I’d say that there are defining moments in everybody’s life,” Kelly said. “Young kids make mistakes. Everett is going to take this and it’s truly going to be his defining moment. He’s going to grow and live and learn from his mistake. I have a great deal of confidence that we’re going to see this young man back at Notre Dame. I’m hopeful of that.”
Kelly is still working out the details surrounding Golson’s un-enrollment, including the extent of his contact with the quarterback during the fall semester and the requirements for re-enrollment. But one thing is clear: Kelly wants Golson back if he can.
“If the university lets him back into the school, that will be enough to let him back on the team,” Kelly said. “Then it’s back to work.”