Friday, June 26, 2009

Another One Bites the ResLife...

I went back and forth on what headline to choose. Suffice to say a ton of stuff has happened in the last 72 hours, all of it in one way shape or form set to have a big impact on the future of the Notre Dame football program. There was addition, subtraction, probably even a little long division. Some friends became enemies, some enemies became friends, and all of those various news items deserves its own separate entry. So, in other words, more to come.

Today though, brought another head-scratching roster alteration that can be laid at the feet of the Office of Residence Life. Earlier in the week, as the full roster of Notre Dame players arrived for summer school and unofficial training camp - including incoming freshman such as Cierre Wood and Manti Te'o - it was announced that tight end Joseph Fauria, who had shown major improvements in spring ball and secured the No. 2 tight end position behind Kyle Rudolph, would be missing the fall semester for the never-promising "personal reasons":
The university says that Fauria has not enrolled for personal reasons and will not be enrolled in the fall semester either.

Charlie Weis will be losing a valuable asset at tight end, and hopes to have him back.

"Joseph won't be with us this fall but I hope to have him return for the spring semester," Weis said in a statement.
Fauria confirmed as much - his plan to return after a semester, similar to the path of Darrin Walls & Gary Gray - to the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday. Well, you know what they say: men plan, ResLife laughs.

By Friday, Fauria had announced his intention to transfer, stating that he'd asked for (and received) his release and would look to remain close to home on the west coast, possibly at a Pac-10 school. The news (so far) has been reported only by Mike Frank's very reliable Irish Sports Daily. Mike runs a premium news site so I hope I'm not jailbreaking some exclusive news, but the official statements from Fauria are here and haven't been restricted by any password info, so judge for yourself. The especially relevant words:
Fauria again said that he was disappointed because he felt that he was doing the right things on the field and in the classroom.

“The truth is I had a really good spring. I pushed for my number two spot on the depth chart and that’s where I was. I had a 3.0 GPA,” he said.

He also said that his transfer had nothing to do with the Irish football program.

“I’m not leaving because of the coaching staff. I love all of the coaches. My tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee was amazing, my recruiting coordinator Brian Polian, I was really close to him, he was great,” said Fauria. “I loved being coached by Coach Weis. It was great, he knew what he was doing. I’m proud to say that I was coached by him and that I was able to play for him. The reason why this took me so long is because of my friends on the team and my friends at the school.”

Fauria said that the way the University staff handled a situation caused him to make his decision.

“ I’ve always been a fan of Notre Dame, but I was mistreated by the Office of Residence Life,” he said. “They mistreated me very much. Something happened at school and I don’t think the punishment fit the crime. They didn’t handle the situation how it should have been handled. I guess they were trying to make an example out of me and I was not the person to do it to.”

Fauria did not go into detail about exactly what happened.

“I wasn’t being handcuffed or anything, but I’m not going to go into detail with that,” he said. “I’ll leave it open for interpretation."
Now as a former employee of the Office of Residence Life, I want to put forward the one caveat of my experience, which I myself am fully guilty of: when you're 18, 19 years old, it's pretty much a guarantee that you'll feel the punsihment didn't fit the crime.

Having said that...I'm with Fauria on this one. I also don't need to leave my statement open to interpretation (even as I speak without all the facts)

This is yet another case of ResLife drawing a line in the sand and deciding that, heaven forbid we acknowledge still-maturing young men and women can make mistakes, we have a standard here and if you fall below that standard, you are taken out with rest of the trash where you belong. And again, having been on the inside, I can say that's it not a simple case of Notre Dame being unduly harsh on athletes - this crap happens to kids who never got closer to the football field than the 47th row of the stadium. There are indeed some kids who simply had it coming, but I personally figure that it wouldn't be so horrible to at least adhere to a three-strikes policy.

If Bill Kirk were a movie character, he'd be George Banks from Mary Poppins: "Madam, kindly do not attempt to cloud the issue with facts." Not to mention common sense.

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