Posted at 1:00 p.m., Monday, August 20, 2007
CFB: Weis says cited Irish QB just didn't know the law
By Tom Coyne
"I think it's out of ignorance and by ignorance I mean lack of knowledge," Weis said. "I don't think he was defiantly trying to get himself into trouble with the law."
Weis said he himself didn't know it was illegal for someone who's underage Clausen is 19 to drive someone who is of legal drinking age to a liquor store to buy alcohol. He used the analogy of a friend of his son's driving the coach to a supermarket to buy a six pack of beer.
Still, Weis said it was a mistake.
"Did he have bad judgment, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, absolutely. You can't sit there and say when something happens that nothing happened," Weis said.
Clausen, who is competing for the Irish starting quarterback job, was not available for comment. Weis has not allowed freshmen to talk with the media yet this season. Clausen and other freshmen are scheduled to be available to the media for the first time on Friday.
Clausen, one of the top recruits in the country, was cited by Indiana State Excise Police on June 23 outside a liquor store about 10 p.m. on a Saturday night near campus along with a 23-year-old who bought two bottles of vodka, a bottle of whiskey and a case of beer.
Clausen remained outside the store in a vehicle along with another Notre Dame freshman, who was not cited.
Excise police were in an unmarked car looking for minors attempting to get alcohol, Excise Police Lt. Tim Cleveland said Monday. The arrest first became public Friday when it was reported by the South Bend Tribune.
Clausen entered into a memorandum of understanding last month with the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office in which the citation against him will be dismissed if he isn't charged with a criminal act in the next year and he pays a $170 fee. If he had been convicted of the misdemeanor charge he could have faced up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Weis said Clausen, who has been practicing with the team, faces no other action.
Clausen is the second Irish quarterback to have a brush with the law this offseason. LaPorte County prosecutors dismissed a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge against quarterback Demetrius Jones in May after the owner of the car he borrowed told police he let Jones drive the car and was sure Jones didn't know the marijuana was in the ashtray.
Weis said today that quarterbacks at Notre Dame are always going to be under scrutiny.
"It comes with the territory. Fair or not, that's the way it goes," he said.
Weis also said the case of defensive lineman Derrell Hand, who was arrested last month on a misdemeanor charge of propositioning a prostitute, is nearing a resolution. Hand was suspended indefinitely from the team.
Weis had said Hand would have to let his case go through the judicial and university systems before Weis could take any action. Hand entered into a pretrial diversion program last Thursday and is scheduled to learn his fate from the school in the next couple of days, Weis said.
"Once that happens, I'll have a better idea of where we're going," Weis said.