Grantland-X broke the news here that Tommy Rees plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges, underage drinking and resisting law enforcement, in a deal arising from his May 3 arrest. Displaying a shiftiness he has yet to show on the field, Tommy. at his lawyer’s request, showed up by himself, a full 24 hours ahead of schedule to enter his plea. The D.A.’s office, according to the South Bend Tribune, accepted the plea as part of a deal as a matter of course.
Now that St. Joe County has extracted its pound of flesh, we can start speculating on what punishments Tommy will face from the University and Coach Kelly. As a parent and former student, I am cognizant of what it means to speculate about the disciplinary fate of a young man, but I believe that when you put on the jersey, you open yourself to an additional level of scrutiny. So here we go.
According to Grantland-X, Tommy has already “met” with ResLife. This suggests that that he has already been through a Disciplinary Conference, which is the ResLife equivalent of a Captain’s Mast or Article 15 hearing, meaning it is limited in the punishments it can mete out and is less formal than a Disciplinary Hearing. So, while Tommy’s not getting suspended from school, does that mean he’s not getting suspended from the team?
No. While I recognize that ResLife has changed since I was there and since 2008, I believe there is benefit in the precedent set by how certain, high-profile athletes were handled by their respective teams in the wake of that off-campus party raid. (Note to athletes: When you’re at a bangin’ off-campus and you see three or more athletes, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!)
In 2008, Will Yeatman, Mike Golic, Jr. and Brittany Mallory were arrested for underage drinking. Yeatman, also charged with false informing and resisting arrest, had a prior alcohol incident and was suspended from the team. Golic, Jr., who had a then-tofore clean record, was disciplined “internally.”
Coach Muffet McGraw, though, was a little more stern when it came to Brittany Mallory, whom she suspended for the season opener against LSU in Baton Rouge. With that precedent, and given Tommy’s plea, which includes an ostensible “character” crime of resisting law enforcement, and the facts of the underlying incident, I would not be surprised if Coach Kelly suspends Tommy for the opener against Navy.
Had Tommy’s incident been limited to the underage drinking, I think he would have been disciplined “internally” a la Golic, Jr. Unfortunately, there’s more, and it’s message time for the program, especially in light of what happened at Penn State. No, trolls, I am not comparing underage drinking to child molestation, perjury and coverups. I am, however, considering the environment in which Tommy’s discipline will play out.
Given everything, I don’t see Tommy making the trip to Dublin. Whether this means he never starts again is totally up to him and circumstances. Given everything, Coach Kelly has to send a message about leadership and consequences, and he’ll be encourage by the University in that regard. To assume the NCAA won’t be watching what ND does to Tommy and all other student-athletes is foolish. It would be piling on, in my opinion, to suspend Tommy for more than the first game, though, so I hope the University and the Coach keep the very positive stories of Michael Floyd and Brittany Mallory in mind when they finally decide Tommy’s fate.
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I have to commend Tommy’s handlers. Pleading on the same day that the NCAA flushed PSU down the toilet was brilliant.
Guessing what punishment he receives is pointless because I don’t think he will start regardless.
Why would the precedent of Brittany Mallory matter over that of Mike Golic Jr.? I personally would say that those two cases line up for football athletes, who both got alcohol charges and it was their first offense.
With that logic the cases of Yeatman and Golic shouldn’t matter because Weis was the coach then and not Kelly.
There’s nothing wrong with looking at the entire athletic department for how things are handled.
Best of luck to him, but none of it matters, I dont think. Rees is destined to be practice team fodder after Golson and Hendrix prove their mettle.
Put him in prison. Not even he can turn the ball over if he’s in an 8 x 10 cell. (Well, maybe he can)
You know, I have no issue with people trying to joke or make light of Tommy’s arrest when it comes to football. However, explicitly saying that a young man should be put behind bars for the sake of football is just plain stupid and crossing the line–joke or not.
Keep that crap off of this site.
I agree that, based upon the precedents, for his lapse in judgement and letting his teammates down, Rees should be suspended for the first game and should not take the trip to Dublin.
If Golson or Hendrix prove their mettle in Dublin, then Rees will be relegated to back up, third string or worse depending upon Gunner’s development. If Golson and/or Hendrix struggle, I fear that Rees could rise again due to his mastery of the playbook and good practice habits.
I hope that Golson/Hendrix, whoever starts, are allowed to make some mistakes and learn on the field. With Rees and his physical limitations… no running ability and relatively weak arm… we are playing on a tennis court sized field while the Barkleys, Jones, Robinsons of the world play on a true football field. Defenses can line up and know that Rees will not beat them with his feet or his arm. They pack it in and throw a few wrinkles in on pass defense with the result being Tommy Turnover. With Golson/Hendrix, defenses will have to defend the whole field.
I think at least a game suspension is coming. It sends a message that Football is setting the agenda, othewise.
The only thing that worries me about a possible suspension would be the implication that Tommy has a starting position to be suspended from.
I don’t know what they will do. Floyd’s crime was arguably worse in that he could’ve killed someone. Tommy running from the cops, especially at his speed (zing!), was much less likely than Floyd to cause serious injury to anyone other than himself. Neither is good but if Floyd got no suspension, why would Tommy? This is exactly why Floyd should have missed USF last year (also, we would’ve had an excuse…)
The reasons I predict suspension, Biscuit, are timing and Penn State. While it was brilliant that Tommy’s “handlers” got him in to plead the same day as the NCAA did a Super Fly Jimmy Snuka off the top rope on PSU, I don’t think ND will be allowed to “do nothing” in light of the enhanced, real or perceived, NCAA scrutiny. Regarding Floyd, there was a good amount of time between his plea, the Res Life process and the start of the season such that Coach Kelly could credibly put Michael on his program of behavior modification and good works. I simply don’t think Coach can come in today or next week and say, “we’re handling Tommy internally and he’ll be practicing and playing without restriction” and have it come across as anything but forced. If ND went out of its way to accommodate a marquee player in Floyd, whether it did or not, I don’t see the University wanting the same accusations being raised about Tommy. Finally, I also see the trip to Dublin being a factor – there’s a part of me that feels watching Tommy get off the plane or be on the sidelines or under center will make it seem like Tommy’s getting off way too easy. The crafty coach in me thinks it’d be smart to leave Tommy at home so that if Golson or Hendo get hurt by Navy or the travel or the time difference, we have a fresh body ready to go against Purdue.