Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Friday, September 21

Irish Should Put Northern Illinois On Release List

It seems Notre Dame still doesn't understand the PR mess it's created over first not releasing, and now releasing, Demetrius Jones from his scholarship.

It's making both coach Charlie Weis and atheltic director Kevin White look bad, and potentially hurting recruiting in the talent-rich Chicago area. Do they really need that right now?

Of course they don't.

Irish officials have said they'll release Jones to any school not on their future schedule. That's not quite true. It's any school not on their future schedule -- and Northern Illinois.

Jones, of course, has already enrolled at Northern Illinois and is taking classes there. Officials are still making him pay for his poorly handled way of leaving the team.

Yes, Jones could have handled it better. But he's still young and immature and, well, acting very much his age. Especially when he was, in essence, jerked around about his true starting quarterback prospects.

Weis and White, of course, can't use the young and immature excuse. They don't need to act petty. Yes, other coaches at other programs refuse to release athletes who have left teams badly. Usually no one notices. But Notre Dame's high profile, and the national scrutiny over the quarterback situation, ensures that everyone notices.

It makes the Irish look bad, builds more sympathy for Jones and adds another negative to a season that doesn't need anymore. So put Northern Illinois on the list, let Jones go in peace and make this situation go away.

And then go and beat Michigan State.


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