After six of his players were arrested in two separate incidents, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has reached a decision concerning their discipline.
First, senior safety Max Redfield has been dismissed from the program. Redfield was arrested Friday night along with four other players — sophomore linebacker Te’von Coney, sophomore running back Dexter Williams, redshirt freshman cornerback Ashton White and freshman receiver Kevin Stepherson — following a traffic stop.
Coney, Williams, White and Stepherson “will be subject to disciplinary measures internal to the football program,” Kelly said. They will not be separated from the team, Kelly added.
The five players were all charged with marijuana possession while Redfield, Stepherson and Williams all face an additional charge of possession of a handgun without a license.
Additionally, senior cornerback Devin Butler has been suspended indefinitely by Kelly. Butler was arrested early Saturday morning on preliminary charges of battery to law enforcement and resisting law enforcement.
“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. 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,” Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly said all of the players are still “subject to justice system and university discipline.”
“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,” Kelly said. “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 was a starter for the Irish and finished fourth on the team in 2015 with 64 tackles. The other four players involved in that incident are reserves, though Coney, Williams and Stepherson were all expected to receive playing time. White was not on the two-deep depth chart at cornerback.
The five were arrested when a vehicle, driven by White, was pulled over for speeding and having a broken taillight. The officer said he smelled marijuana from the vehicle. With the assistance of a police dog, police said marijuana was located in the vehicle. A loaded handgun was found when the car was searched, police said.
In the other incident, Butler is alleged to have pushed a woman and thrown punches at an officer outside a bar in South Bend.
In the South Bend incident, police responded to the Linebacker, 1631 South Bend Ave., just after midnight for a report of a fight between some patrons and bar security. After officers broke up that fight, they went outside and saw several women fighting near the curb.
As police separated the women, Butler, who appeared to be “extremely irate,” walked toward one of the women and shoved her, said South Bend police Lt. Joseph Galea. When police ordered Butler to step back, he allegedly lunged at an officer, shoved him and started throwing punches.
After a brief scuffle, police were able to subdue Butler — using a Taser — and handcuff him, Galea said. None of the preliminary charges were related to Butler shoving the woman, because the women left the scene before he was arrested. The officer was taken to a hospital to be evaluated for minor injuries, including a sore wrist.
Butler, a senior, fractured his foot in late December a few days before the Fiesta Bowl. He reinjured the foot in June and underwent surgery to insert a screw. At that time, Kelly said Butler would be out 14-16 weeks. Butler was expected to miss at least the first month of the season. He is also eligible for a redshirt.
Butler has played in 37 games in three seasons with the program, including three starts, and has 39 tackles and an interception.
Notre Dame opens its season Sept. 4 at Texas.
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