Initial hearing set for 5 of 6 Notre Dame football players arrested over the weekend

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An initial hearing has been set for five Notre Dame football players arrested late Friday night in Fulton County.
Safety Max Redfield, cornerback Ashton White, running back Dexter Williams, linebacker Te’Von Coney and wide receiver Kevin Stepherson were arrested around 10pm Friday night in Fulton County for possession of marijuana. Redfield, Stepherson Jr. and Williams also face an additional charge for possession of a handgun without a license. No formal charges have been made yet, however, against the five players arrested in Fulton County.

On Sunday, Irish football coach Brian Kelly announced that Redfield, a starting senior safety, had been dismissed from the team while White, Coney, Williams (sophomores) and Stepherson (freshman) will face internal discipline from the team. The four underclassmen were back at practice on Monday, according to a source. Kelly also indefinitely suspended cornerback Devin Butler.

All six athletes have not seen their status as students at the university change, according to a Notre Dame Spokesman. That could change if any are charged with a felony. That would result in that student facing possible
expulsion from Notre Dame.
Butler was arrested in South Bend outside the Linebacker in a separate incident early Saturday morning. Prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges against Butler although they say they’ve found probable cause against him. An an initial hearing date won’t be finalized until formal charges are presented.

Kelly said he met with all six players that were arrested, reviewed evidence available to him 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,” Kelly said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “Their conduct fell far short of what we expect from those who represent our football team and this great university.”

Kelly says that the other four players that were arrested along with Redfield in Fulton County—Ashton White, Dexter Williams, Kevin Stepherson and Te’Von Coney “while not being separated from the team, will be subject to disciplinary measures internal to the football program.”

“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,” Kelly said. “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.

White, Wiliams and Coney are sophomores. Stepherson is a freshman while Redfield and Butler are seniors.

“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,” Kelly said. “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.”

Butler was arrested early Saturday morning outside the Linebacker Lounge in South Bend. South Bend police were called to the Linebacker at around midnight for reports of a fight between patrons and security. After police broke up the fight, they went outside and found a group of women fighting near the curb. When this happened, Devin Butler reportedly became very angry towards one of the women in the group.

According to court documents, Butler lunged at and shoved the woman. An officer grabbed Butler, pushed him away from the woman, and told him to stay back.

Butler reportedly cursed at the officers and tackled one of them to the ground, hitting him several times. Officers eventually detained Butler using a taser, and arrested him.

He reportedly apologized while being transported to jail, saying he’d been incredibly emotional and intoxicated.

Notre Dame had their final practice of fall camp on Friday. The team is off for the rest of the weekend for the first time since camp started on August 7th.

A police post indicates that the five players were arrested on U.S. 31 in Fulton County allegedly going 73 miles per hour in a 60 miles per hour zone. The vehicle also had a blown out taillight. The police officer smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the car. The trooper utilized his narcotics detecting police dog to conduct a free air sniff around the Ford. The dog indicated the presence of illegal narcotics inside the vehicle. During a subsequent search of the car, officers allegedly found marijuana and a loaded handgun. Reserve cornerback Ashton White, 19, was listed as the driver of the vehicle.

Redfield, 21, is a starting safety for the Irish. 19-year-old Dexter Wiliams is Notre Dame’s 3rd string running back. 19-year-old Te’Von Coney is a backup linebacker. 19-year-old Ashton White is a reserve defensive back and 18-year-old Kevin Stepherson is a freshman wide receiver.

Butler, originally from Washington D.C. is a senior at Notre Dame and plays cornerback for the Fighting Irish.

Butler was expected to compete for a starting job at cornerback for 2016 but in June, he re-fractured the same foot he had repaired back in January when he was injured before the Fiesta Bowl. Butler had surgery again in mid-June and was expected to be out out 14-16 weeks, marking the middle of October as the earliest for a potential return.

Classes at Notre Dame begin next week. Notre Dame opens the season at Texas on Sunday September 4th.

The following is from Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications at Notre Dame:

“Any student arrested on a felony charge also faces dismissal from the university. The university will determine if additional sanctions should apply to any or all of the students charged.”

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