SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says he intends to make four of the five players arrested by state police on marijuana possession charges available to play when the 10th-ranked Fighting Irish open the season at Texas on Sunday.
Wide receiver Kevin Stepherson and linebacker Te’von Coney were listed on the depth chart released Tuesday and Kelly has said he expects running back Dexter Williams and cornerback Ashton White to contribute this season.
Kelly said athletic department policy states that the first marijuana offense is an educational process and he has never suspended a player for a first offense. He said the school could still discipline the players, but there is no deadline for such a move.
“If something changes, the university will let us know,” said Kelly, who noted that the players will be in a program that will include random drug tests.
“We think that’s appropriate. We think that’s an important part of the education process as well,” he said.
Kelly dismissed a fifth player, safety Max Redfield, who also was charged in the same Aug. 19 incident with a misdemeanor charge of carrying a handgun without a license. Kelly said Redfield, who was sent home early from the Fiesta Bowl last season for violating team rules, was kicked off the team because of the gun charge.
“That’s what caused the dismissal. And as an upperclassman, not really living up to the standards that I set,” Kelly said.
Asked for comment outside court, Redfield said: “I wish the best to them.”
The five players were formally charged on Monday. Coney, Stepherson and Redfield appeared in court Tuesday in Rochester, 45 miles south of South Bend, where a judge entered not guilty pleas for them. Attorneys for Williams and White filed motions to waive initial hearings.
The five were arrested after their car was stopped for speeding and an improper taillight. Police say they found two bags of marijuana. The five players told police the gun was not theirs, court documents said.