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Golson speaks: Heart set on returning to Notre Dame

Oct 29, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT

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Life changed for Everett Golson in May. That’s when Notre Dame’s disciplinary branch informed Golson that an honor code violation was going to keep him out of the university for the fall semester, ending his ’13 football season before it even started.

It was quite a precipitous fall for the redshirt freshman quarterback. From a run to the BCS National Championship Game to an academic exile that would force him out of his dorm, out of school, and off the football field before a season with very high expectations even began.

Golson released a statement in the spring saying all the right things. He spoke to a local news channel in his hometown as well. But since then, we’ve heard nothing from Golson, other than the status reports that Irish head coach Brian Kelly gives us.

That ended today, when Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples visited with Golson in San Diego, where he’s been training with noted quarterback guru George Whitfield. And Golson cleared up any mysteries surrounding his departure, confirming the multiple reports that cheating on a test was the cause of his suspension.

While his teammates have played on this season, Golson talked about the difficulties that come with being forced to watch.

“I’ve never had so many mixed emotions in my life,” Golson said. “Just seeing those guys go out there and battle each and every week. Me not being a part of that, that really kind of hurts.”

Staples also asked Golson about why he chose to come back to Notre Dame, when he was free to play at a Junior College right away or transfer to another school. Even though he’ll lose this year of eligibility and have only two more remaining, he was resolute in his plan to come back.

“My heart was set on going back to Notre Dame,” Golson told Staples. “Not necessary to prove to anybody, just doing it for me. That’s something that I started and I didn’t want to run away from it.”

Here’s the video that SI.com posted from the interview.

  1. viktory2013 - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    With Golson returning to all those fast, athletic kids: Robinson, Fuller, Brown, Daniels, Niklas, Koyack, with Folston and Bryant lined up in the backfield, ND will have a nasty, elite offense. And if Tuitt indeed returns in front of Smith, Russell, and Day, it will make for an angry, violent defense, and put ND right back to where they were at the end of 2012′s regular season.

    The components and talent are there, it’ll just be matter of Kelly putting it all together and turning them loose to punish those half-assed teams on the schedule next year. It’s all there boys and girls, just need to go out and rough up some people.

  2. yaketyyacc - Oct 30, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    a lot of “ifs”. Golson may return. that has to be a plus. hopefully, zaire will not jump ship, taking an example from Kiel, whose impatience has cost him. as we have already seen, situations change unexpectedly, so hang in there.
    Cheating? goes on all the time. is it right? no, it is not. it is human. we sometimes come to the wrong conclusion that this is the only option, to avoid not playing, only to find that in the end, cheating resulted in our not playing.
    I think this young man has learned from his mistake. and I for one, am not about to even pick up a stone. welcome back Everett, for certainly in your heart you never left.

  3. danirish - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    What might be kind of odd is this might be the “best” thing to happen to him as a quarterback. He has spent a good bit of time with a qb guru – he might come back as a more polished bada$$ than he was.

    Of course I am not advocating cheating, taking a year off and being groomed and given attention but….

    What it all comes to is his heart – did he learn a valuable life lesson? I think so
    Is he a better person? I think so
    Will he be a better qb? I HOPE so!

  4. getsome99 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    @ runners:

    But if the other students (die hard football fans no doubt) assisted in the cheating, does that let him off the hook since his peers are partly guilty? What should the punishment be for those who helped him cheat? And for all we know, protecting the accomplice’s (if there were any) identities may be the reason he’s choosing not to give too much detail on the subject when asked a direct question. Could that also be the reason he was suspended for a full semester instead of just a couple quarters of an easy opponent like Temple? All pure speculation but the point is, we don’t know the details enough to determine if it the penalty was too light.

    Golson wasn’t just suspended for one semester. He was suspended for the fall semester which also cost him a year of eligibility. Yes, the rules are different for football players and always have been and the students have known this since the beginning of time. Many students actually attend the school because they love the football program like you yourself almost did. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect football players to be treated exactly the same as the regular students.

    But comparing ND’s decision to most other Top 25 programs, the penalty was pretty stiff. The important thing is he didn’t transfer and that says something about his character. Assuming he continues on this path and ultimately graduates from ND, this will have proved to have been the right decision. It doesn’t appear YET that he’s taking anything for granted.

    • nudeman - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      knutesghost/getsome

      There is a tendency on this board to assume all other schools are inferior to ND in every way, especially academics and discipline. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself a time or two. But if I had to pick one reason why there are so many ND haters out there, this would be the reason. They think ND and its fans are sanctimonious, holier than thou.

      When you write “But comparing ND’s decision to most other Top 25 programs, the penalty was pretty stiff.” you write that without actually knowing how other schools would handle a cheating thing.

      Does Clowney go to his BioChemical DNA Engineering class at 7:00 a.m. every Monday?
      Prob not.
      Do schools like USC allow a Qb to take one class, Ballroom Dancing, and remain eligible?
      I guess so.

      But I suspect that there are more schools out there than we think – even SEC schools – that would not tolerate cheating and would suspend kids.
      Out of the 123 BCS schools, how many? I don’t know.
      I doubt that schools like Vanderbilt, Stanford, BC, and the Ivy League would tolerate it. Probably more than we think.

      Sorry, not busting your chops here. I think ND is special in many regards. Wish I’d gone there.
      But there are a LOT of other universities that are special in exemplary ways as well.

      • bernhtp - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        Notre Dame is not unique in having high academic and conduct standards for its top athletes, but my perception is that we’re in a fairly small minority. At many FBS schools, Golson wouldn’t even have the opportunity to get kicked out for cheating on a test because he wouldn’t be taking any academic tests that were material to his athletic eligibility.

        I bet schools like Stanford, Northwestern, Rice, Duke, Vanderbilt, and a handful of others have similar requirements and attitudes, but there probably aren’t very many.

        Oh, Golson was expelled for both the summer and fall semesters, including a loss of a year of playing eligibility. This was not a minor penalty. His acceptance of it, instead of bolting for somewhere with less stringent requirements, says a lot for him. He obviously struggles with academics and this experience along with the continued struggle will likely make him a much better man.

  5. cpfirish - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    I think Tuitt and Nix are coming back next season right? Tuitt did mention he wound return for his senior season.

    • danirish - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Tuitt maybe but he is still listed as a first round pick so *shrugs*

      I am under the impression that Nix is gone – he is listed as a solid first rounder and has already graduated I believe

      I could be wrong

      I’d love for both to be back.

  6. getsome99 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    @ Nudeman,

    I understand your point, but we’ve heard from plenty of elite programs where students not only cheated, but coaches were aware and had a system in place to cover it up. OKSU, FSU, etc. You tell me how someone as illiterate as Morris Claiborne makes it through 2 years of LSU and has no problem passing classes. How many times do you hear about a Top 25 program suspended a star player for cheating?

    You heard about Golson because it happened. Do you believe this doesn’t go on pretty regularly at all schools? Why don’t we hear about them more? We actually do. It’s just presented to us as “star player suspended for 1st half against Idaho State for violating team rules.” I didn’t say all FBS programs, I said MOST in the Top 25. Stanford and a few others excluded.

    As far as the haters are concerned, if it sounds holier than thou, then show me how many star QB’s on your championship contender team has been forced to sit out a year for cheating on a test.

    • nudeman - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      I get your point, and in many ways Notre Dame DOES in fact stand above the fray.

      I just think the holiness of ND gets beat to death here and elsewhere.
      And I say that as a huge ND fan.

      Do I know of another QB getting canned for cheating? Not specifically a QB, no.
      But I do know that the service academies have punished cheaters much worse than a one semester suspension. They get nuked for good there.

      And the other schools I mentioned wouldn’t tolerate it either.

      • getsome99 - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        I believe we’re probably saying the same thing. My comments were directed towards runners who felt the punishment was too light. My point is that compared to other schools (elite top 25 programs), the punishment was pretty stiff as I have not heard of ‘many’ examples where a player was expelled for cheating. If Runners point is that Golson’s punishment didn’t meet up ND’s standards, then I guess that could be perceived as holier than thou.

        I’m sure schools like Stanford and the service academies may have a zero tolerance policy, but I’ve seen plenty more examples of players being suspended for a half game or 1-2 early season games for unspecified reasons. This is only big news because it’s a star player on a good team that actually got suspended for an entire season with an opportunity to earn his way back.

        In other words, if you balance it out, the punishment was fair. And so far, it seems to be working. But don’t be surprised if the haters don’t try to turn this into a negative double standard thing against ND.

      • nudeman - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        BTW, regarding the service academies, if you know anything about their honor code, you know it’s unyielding and final, to put it mildly.

        Get caught cheating … bye.
        BUT … if you know of someone who is cheating, you are REQUIRED to report them.
        And if you don’t … you’re gone too.

        The point is tht cheating is insidious; you not only compromise your own integrity, but you put your fellow cadets in an untenable position. No one wants to be a rat, but they have to choose between being a rat or risk being expelled. Everybody loses when someone cheats.

      • dbldmr - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        To borrow a quote from Bum Phillips (he was talking about Earl Campbell), “Notre Dame might not be in a class by itself, but it wouldn’t take long to call roll.”

  7. irishdodger - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    @runners00

    I understand your points & cheating is a big deal…especially at an institution like ND who had du Lac in place to hold every student to the highest of standards. That being said, it’s happened before & not that long ago. Darrin Walls had to sit a year for similar wrongdoing. If you believe Golson got off lightly (which is a fair opinion although we don’t know all the details), then I presume you think Rees got off lightly too. As we all remember last season Rees was arrested and charged by local police. He crossed the line when he accosted the arresting officer. TR was extremely lucky to get those charges reduced. Now he was the backup QB, so he wouldn’t have been missed as much as EG….BUT…would we still have pulled out the Purdue, Michigan & BYU games w/o Rees?

    • runners00 - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      I agree. I have no idea whether Rees’ punishment fit his crime. That’s always a difficult thing – when the crime is outside of football and academics.

      But this one was squarely within Golson’s scholarship requirement: stay academically eligible by behaving in an ethical manner. And cheating doesn’t cut it. That said, the university did review the matter and apparently concluded that Everett Golson’s one-season football suspension and his summer/fall departure were sufficient.

      On the comment about others’ assisting Golson: we don’t know what happened there or whether there were others involved in his cheating (or even whether the others, involved in the cheating, were suspended). What we do know is that the university looked at this — no doubt, very closely — and the administration reached a decision to suspend him for a season.

      Let’s just hope that he learns from it.

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