Weis: Notre Dame's Yeatman won't play while charges pending

Updated: September 23, 2008, 4:01 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame tight end Will Yeatman can practice but can't play until prosecutors decide whether to formally press alcohol-related charges against him, coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday.

"Until further notice, I've decided to hold Will Yeatman from competition until his matter is resolved," Weis said.

Yeatman, 20, and Irish center Mike Golic Jr., 18, were among 37 arrested at a weekend party in South Bend following a 23-7 loss at Michigan State.

Yeatman faced preliminary charges of consumption of alcohol by a minor, false informing and resisting arrest. Golic faced a preliminary charge of consumption of alcohol by a minor, St. Joseph County Police Sgt. William Redman said.

Prosecutors are reviewing police reports before deciding whether to file formal charges.

Weis said any punishment Golic, the son of ESPN television host and former NFL player Mike Golic, will face will be handled internally.

The case involving Yeatman is different, though, because he was suspended from spring football practice and from the men's lacrosse team after he pleaded guilty in February to drunken driving and reckless driving for driving on a campus sidewalk. The plea agreement said if Yeatman stayed out of trouble for a year, the drunken-driving charge would be dismissed and he would be sentenced only for reckless driving.

When asked about what type of talk he had with Yeatman when he was reinstated to the team in August, Weis spoke in general terms about how he talks with players. He said he tries to talk to them as though he is talking with his 15-year-old son, Charlie Jr.

"As you go through growing pains you try to educate and teach and let them know that you weren't perfect going through the growing experience yourself. You just try to educate them as best as you can and give them as much guidance as you can," Weis said.

He said he talks to the team regularly about alcohol and other societal issues.

"I'm not here to play judge and jury. The most important thing is for me to look out for the interests of the kids and the team and the university," he said. "I have to try to have those to mutually coexist peacefully and do what's in best interest of all three."

The loss of Yeatman could hurt the team as the Irish (2-1) prepare to play Purdue (2-1) on Saturday. Yeatman has only two catches for 6 yards in three starts this season, but is the best blocking tight end on a team struggling to get its rushing game going. The Irish are ranked 111th in rushing at 78 yards a game.

Tight end was considered one of Notre Dame's deepest positions heading into the season. But the Irish lost Mike Ragone to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August and now Yeatman is out indefinitely. Weis said the Irish, who already are starting freshman Kyle Rudolph at tight end, will have to turn to freshman Joseph Fauria, who wasn't expected to play this year.

Weis said Fauria moved Tuesday from the scout team to practicing with the starters.

"Because you have to have your contingency plans in place just in case," he said.

Fullback Luke Schmidt also has practiced at tight end, so he is another option.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press