Former Irish QB won't be released from scholarship

Updated: September 19, 2007, 11:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Former Notre Dame quarterback Demetrius Jones expects to play next season at Northern Illinois, but the Fighting Irish will not make it easy for that to happen.

The Irish will not release Jones from his scholarship this season, a university spokesperson said Wednesday, adding Notre Dame did not think the sophomore's departure "was handled appropriately."

Coach Charlie Weis says he was not involved in the decision not to release Jones.

Jones lost his starting position after a poor performance in Notre Dame's season-opening 33-3 loss to Georgia Tech, then surprised the coaching staff by not showing up last Friday for the bus trip for the team's game at Michigan. He said shortly after that he would transfer to Northern Illinois.

Notre Dame's refusal to release Jones from his scholarship doesn't mean that Jones can't play for the Huskies next season, but it does mean he would have to pay his own way at Northern Illinois. Jones is allowed to practice with Northern Illinois' team this year and he'll be on scholarship with the school next year.

Jones told reporters that he enrolled at Northern Illinois on Sept. 12 but practiced with the Irish the next day and didn't tell the coaches what he had done. He said he was stung by Weis' comments that freshman Jimmy Clausen had been the team's top quarterback but was not named the opening game starter as he was recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.

"When I heard Jimmy was the No. 1 all the way through spring and that the only thing that was keeping him out of the lineup was his surgery, well that's not what I was led to believe going into the summer," Jones told the South Bend Tribune for Monday's editions. "I thought I was getting a chance because coach Weis believed in me. Then I didn't know what to believe anymore."

Jones, who is from Chicago, said he attended Northern Illinois' 21-19 loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday in DeKalb, Ill., but had not yet been in contact with the school's coaching staff and did not know when he would begin practicing with his new team.

"My plan is to practice with them this year and be eligible to play next fall," he said Monday. "I'd then have three years of eligibility. That's how I hope it works out."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad was used in this report.

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