South Bend, IN (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - An off-the-field challenge awaits the starting quarterback for Notre Dame.
Two Irish football players were arrested early Thursday, including quarterback Tommy Rees.
One of the charges against Rees was a felony, for battery to a police officer.
Rees was jailed along with linebacker Carlo Calabrese.
South Bend Police responded to reports of a loud party, and when they got there, Rees was one of five people who allegedly jumped a fence trying to get away.
Police say Rees kneed an officer in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him, before Rees was pepper-sprayed during an apprehension.
William Wade/Ft. Wayne Sports Fan: " This day and age, you know, college athletes are role models for younger kids, and this shouldn't be going on. They should have more respect for the situation that they're in."
Mike Zurzolo/Notre Dame Fan: " He was probably too drunk. He didn't even know, cause athletes are pretty aggressive, but once you get a uniformed officer, you don't do nothing wrong."
Police say Rees’ blood alcohol level tested .11 after the incident.
He was also charged with public intoxication, minor consumption and resisting arrest.
Coach Brian Kelly released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying, “I am aware of last night’s incident involving two of our football players. I am of course very concerned given the nature of the allegations, but I am still gathering information. I’ll withhold judgment until I can collect all the facts and speak with both Carlo and Tommy.”
School officials had this to say: “The University is aware of this incident and is confident it will be handled in a prompt and professional manner through the criminal justice system. Internal discipline is handled privately, in accord with our own policies and federal law.”
Star wide receiver Michael Floyd got in trouble for drinking last spring, but after keeping his nose clean through the summer, he was back on the team by the start of the season.
If the felony charge sticks for Rees, there’s no guarantee the situation will turn out the same for him.
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