May 11, 2010, 12:15 PM EDT
Just when it seemed that Mike Ragone had worked through his star-crossed path at Notre Dame, he’s found himself on the wrong side of the law. Ragone, who stood out during the Blue-Gold Game, and has rehabbed through multiple knee injuries that have hampered a promising career, was arrested along with a female passenger on the Indiana Toll Road Saturday morning.
According to multiple reports, state trooper Tony Lomonaco smelled marijuana and upon searching the car, he found two small bags of marijuana in the female’s purse. Both Ragone and the passenger were booked for misdemeanor possession in the LaGrange County Jail. He bonded out a few hours later.
Notre Dame is aware of the incident and football media relations director Brian Hardin commented Monday.
“Coach Kelly is aware of the situation and feels it is a serious matter,” Hardin said. “He has spoken with Mike, but any team-related action that may be forthcoming would be handled internally.”
Before any internal discipline takes place, Ragone has a date with the office of Residence Life, which has proven costly to Notre Dame athletes in the past. Basketball player Kyle McAlarney was suspended for the spring semester after being arrested by Indiana police on a marijuana charge, though the circumstances sound different from what we know now, as there was a lit joint in a car McAlarney was in alone.
The litmus test for this incident could be a similar arrest three years ago, when then Notre Dame quarterback Demetrius Jones was arrested while driving on the Toll Road after remnants of marijuana were found in the ashtray of the car he was driving. Ultimately, the car’s owner claimed ownership of the drug and charges against Jones were dismissed.
For Ragone’s sake, you’ve got to hope that he’s smart enough to not being driving 83 while smoking dope on the Indiana Toll Road. That said, there are a lot of things that don’t add up in this case, and good reason to believe that Ragone’s punishment will indeed be handled internally because this case doesn’t seem to be Ragone’s fault other than the speeding.
I’m not a lawyer, but it’s a pretty big stretch to call something that’s in a passenger’s purse in Ragone’s possession. Secondly, Ragone wasn’t booked for driving under the influence, nor was he given any field sobriety tests, so the idea that Ragone was smoking while in the car — especially at just after 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, most likely on the way home for a few weeks break — can probably be ruled out. Finally, when will people stop allowing the police to just randomly search through their things during a routine traffic stop? You’d think that cops were armed with the nose of a bloodhound with how well they seem to detect illegal substances. Just because they ask doesn’t mean you have to let them, and I’m guessing if Ragone knew that there were two bags of weed in the girl’s purse he’d have been less likely to speed and hopefully less likely to submit to a search.