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Shembo addresses Seeberg allegations

Feb 23, 2014, 1:16 PM EST

Prince Shembo AP

Former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo spoke publicly for the first time about the death of Lizzy Seeberg, a former St. Mary’s student who committed suicide a week after accusing a Notre Dame football player of a sexual attack. While the player’s name had stayed anonymous in media reports, Shembo acknowledged that he was the player.

After staying quiet since the incident occurred in the first weeks of his freshman year, Shembo acknowledged in Indianapolis that he was the accused, something easily findable on the internet over the past four years.

He also defended himself, claiming no wrongdoing, while also acknowledging that he’s spent time talking to NFL teams candidly about the experience.

Andrew Owens of BlueandGold.com was in Indianapolis:

“I just tell [NFL team executives] the truth, I have nothing to hide,” said Shembo, who estimated that 26 teams have interviewed him. “No one’s heard from me one time. Do you go off of one person’s story?

“I’m still here, so I know I didn’t do anything. I tell them exactly what happened.”

Shembo said the questions teams have asked him did not come as a surprise because “it’s all over the internet. Everyone that does the background check can type my name in and you’ll see all the stuff that people have said about me and have never heard from my mouth.”

Irish coach Brian Kelly told Shembo he could not discuss the matter publicly, Shembo said.

“Yes, I wanted to talk about it, but they had to keep everything confidential,” said Shembo, who added that he did not lobby Kelly for the opportunity to speak about it. “Now that I’m out [of the university], I can talk about it.

“My name was going to flames and it just made my name look bad and I can’t even speak.”

The Seeberg tragedy was a lightning rod in the media. It is also a case that saw no winners, with a young woman taking her life within weeks of attending college, and a young man branded with an accusation that’ll stick for the rest of his life.

College football had sexual assaults come to the forefront of two major football programs this year. Florida State’s Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was accused of rape. Michigan’s Brandon Gibbons was expelled in December, the reaction to an incident that took place four years earlier.

Shembo was never charged with a crime. He’s a mid-round NFL prospect at outside linebacker.

***

Editor’s Note: Please be thoughtful before making comments. They will be heavily moderated and ignorance will not be tolerated. 

  1. upthera44 - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    I can’t see Shembo as doing anything like this. One of the classiest guys on the team.

    On another note, I’m really going through withdrawal from the lack of ND football blog updates recently. Offseason is rough.

    It looks like TJ Jones ran one of the highest WR 40 times at the combine. Higher than Marquis Lee by a good bit. Who saw that coming?!

    • dickasman - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      I’m just glad finally somebody is living up to “accountability” “responsibility” “ownership” about something. For a focking university that should be preaching a lot of it, there is none when it involves them. It’s all bllsht I know, but I’m very disappointed how ND handled the whole situation. Just like when priests abuses boys, quite everybody it’s movie time. “Enter jerkoff smiley”

  2. davidosborne89 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    I think TJ is going to be a solid nfl reciever!

  3. fnc111 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    With the stories I hear I believe Shembo did nothing wrong. You couldn’t ruin a kids life with no proof. I met Shembo this past July and he seems like a classy dude. ND did nothing wrong here. Michigan on the other hand covered up for their kicker until they didn’t need him anymore.

    • dickasman - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Check the pudding. They should have come out and said it back then not when there’s money on the line. What do you expect him to say? Yeah I did it? There’s no proof he didn’t do it.

      • dickasman - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        Now draft me please.

      • dillonbigred - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        There’s no proof he didn’t do it? That’s quite the case against him.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        The classic ad ignorantiam. Classic.

  4. irishinmich - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    I guess I never did any digging about this story over the years. I didn’t know it was Prince that was involved, until now. Like upthera44 said, he has always seemed like a solid classy kid. I would stop short of comparing this to the Winston, and Gibbons case. Those two were accused of rape. This case never went past “inappropriate touching” , if I remember correctly. I’m not trying to minimize it, if it actually occured, but its not exactly the same ballpark. Anyway, like Keith said,……..no winners.

    • 1historian - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      It involves a Notre Dame football player, not just any football player – that fact alone magnifies it.

      It involves a young lady who probably never should have been admitted to the university in the 1st place, given her precarious mental state.

      I would like to know a few more things – how much was known about her precarious mental state, how much her parents were aware of it and who – a name – decided to admit her to the university?

      This whole thing stinks but I do think that it has been handled as well as possible. To me the key question is – why was this girl admitted in the first place?

      • irishpuma - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:12 AM

        1 historian why don’t you pull your head out of your ass, to cast aspersions on the dead is just bad form. Second under no scenario can you conceive that something bad happened to her, so bad that she took her own life after receiving intimidating calls and texts from ND football players?

        As your name implies why don’t you actually do some research, she was never admitted to Notre Dame, so your question makes no sense to me but following those line why did ND ever let other sexual predators into the campus? How did they pass admissions? These are all moot questions you can not control the nature of a person through an application package. What ND could control is how they handled it and it was poor to say the least. Cover up, denying access to football players, late to notify the police, no punishments for any involved, and there are records of ND football players sending the girl texts and voicemails to keep quiet. That is bullying. Yeah that sounds pretty innocent. The only two who know what happened are a guy on the way to the NFL and a dead girl. So why don’t you keep your uniformed mouth shut.

        Remember Penn St., remember the honor code if you ever went to ND. This thing should have been in the light of day from day one, the player being slapped with a gag order from BK, just like he did in Cincinati with some players under investigations. Not under the dome, I don’t want to be associated with Penn State, the Catholic Church cover ups etc. A student acting poorly or not, a disturbed girl or not, none of these things are totally controllable by the University nor do they make ND look bad. Cover ups, corruption, strong arm tactics, bullying, a culture of closing the ranks, no transparency, and no accountability or responsibility make Notre Dame look bad.

        Do some research there is ample evidence that females are under the gun on that campus and there are female alumns who would never send their daughters there. And there are female journalist alumns who have spoken on this issue quite well. Take a look at another view, you can call it herstory.

    • Keith Arnold - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      @irishinmich — You are correct that this isn’t a comparable case to Winston or Gibbons. But obviously Seeberg’s suicide thrust it into a very tragic stratosphere.

      Also — There was an official report released on this investigation. That should be the sole “source material” for what is discussed.

      That’s why I’ve deleted IrishPuma’s posts and that’s why I’d appreciate people moving on, especially if they’re going to trudge up old “facts” that were never proven to be more than bias in one direction or the other.

  5. fnc111 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Nice run in the 40 by GA3. He’s getting drafted…. Too athletic. He’ll be a star on special teams at least.

    • heartofgoldandblue - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      You seriously think he’s going to be a special teams star at the very least? And what other athleticism does he possess other than inline speed? Doesn’t move well laterally, poor ball skills, stiff hips and cannot break tackles. A 4.48 40 for someone who’s #1 attribute is speed isn’t going to go too far in getting him drafted. I don’t think there’s enough on film to get him drafted, I do agree he has the chance to be a productive KR but nothing more. Do you spend a pick on a potentially good KR? I think sometimes you do but this is also said to be one of the deepest drafts in years.

    • getsome99 - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      Kickoffs are becoming obsolete in the NFL game. Some team will have to see some potential in him learning to catch passes for him to get drafted any higher than 6-7 round.. It only takes one though.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      Did you see the 40 results? He ran a 4.48, was one of a dozen RB’s to run a sub 4.5. And if you look at the body of work for the other “fast” guys, they have a much more impressive resume, more impressive film, etc. etc.

      I hope the kids gets a chance, but he needed to run sub 4.4 to get drafted. That was the only card he had to play.

      Here’s the snippet from NFL.com

      “A height-weight-speed prospect who slid down the depth chart as a junior, Atkinson made a premature jump to the NFL knowing he likely would have been behind underclassmen had he returned as a senior. Is not a natural running back, but has raw tools to warrant consideration as a developmental, one-cut slasher. Better tester than football player. “

      • runners00 - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        I want to know why anyone who thinks he isn’t going to start in college thinks he can get paid in the NFL.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:20 AM

        never thought of it like that runner, but it’s a GREAT question

  6. fnc111 - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    4.39 on second attempt. I’m saying round 5/6 to the Raiders.

    • dickasman - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:55 PM

      I remember my very first time. It had to be like 2.39 seconds and it came in like waves and stuff. Felt soooo good.

  7. getsome99 - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Condolences to the Seeberg family. I do think Shembo will earn praise from NFL execs because it had to be extremely tough for him to not be able to tell his side of the story through 4 years. And to stay focused and earn his degree and perform at a high level amidst the speculation and whispers on campus says a lot about Shembo’s character. He could have easily transferred and cleared his name before even playing a down at ND.

    • dickasman - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      THIS IS DELETED FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

      • blackirish23 - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        First, condolences to the Seeberg family.

        I also agree with Keith’s point that there are no winners here and ditto with getsome’s assessment of Shembo maintaining radio silence as requested by the University as additional credibility of his high character.

        Where I disagree with dickasman is the fact that both the University and the Seeberg family decided on how the situation would be handled, which was to maintain the dignity of both students and keep things in-house…probably because there was no evidence of wrong-doing and it didn’t make sense to drag things through the media.

        So in my opinion, let’s take our cue from the Seeberg family (who know more than we do) and follow their classy example by not dishonoring the memory of their daughter or jumping to conclusions and ruining the reputation of a young man in the process. All parties involved have moved on, and so should we.

      • ndsurgeon - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Broad, sweeping comments from someone without the facts. Sometimes you’re funny, sometimes idiotic. Latter on this one, bro. Credibility killer.

      • dickasman - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        I dunno. Sometimes I feel like we live in Uganda.

      • 1historian - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Do us grown-ups a favor and go out and play. We’ll call you back in when we’re finished.

        Then again, maybe we won’t

  8. onward2victory - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    I’ve only followed the Irish really closely for about 3 years now, so I was vaguely familiar with the Seeberg case, but I didn’t know details. So I was shocked yesterday when I saw that Shembo was the guy accused. Maybe he’s matured a ton during his time at ND, but as far as I can tell, Prince seems to be a super high character young man with a strong faith in God. Of course that alone doesn’t mean that he didn’t do anything, but that’s just why I was so surprised to see his name attached to this tragedy.

    • bernhtp - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Maybe that’s why the case has been kept private all of these years – he did nothing wrong. Deep condolences to the Seeberg family and Lizzy’s tragedy, but there was no ability for Prince to clear his name under the strange circumstances. Lizzy was clearly a fragile soul who had difficulty with her new situation. Shembo is faced with arguing against a dead girl to tell his story, When his friends – mostly football buddies – contradict core parts of her allegation, there is no winning either because they are accused of circling the wagon. Again, arguing against a dead girl – a sympathetic victim of a tragedy – is a no-win proposition. The University can not talk because of privacy regulations. Kelly was smart to make Prince stay silent for these years because he understood the impossible situation.

      He obviously needs to answer these questions now and is able to given that he is no longer on the team or even a student. Four years also makes a difference – four years where he has worked hard and lived right – and four years further away from that terrible situation.

  9. ndoneill - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Even if Shembo’s account is correct, and I tend to think so myself, there’s no excuse for Notre Dame waiting fifteen days or whatever it was to investigate the allegations, no matter how substantial or insubstantial they thought they were.

  10. mtflsmitty - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    High praise to all of you thoughtful enough to offer condolences to the Seeberg family. I’m sure none of them will see your posts, but a nix gesture just the same.

    QUESTION ON DIFFERENT TOPIC:
    Do most of the non-red shirted players hoping to be drafted actually graduate in 3.5 years? Shouldn’t a number of these guys be a couple months into their last semester?

    • bernhtp - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      Some do and some don’t. All have had four summer sessions going into their senior year. Some were EEs with an extra semester. Some have a few hours left to complete second semester that they make provisions to do part-time and largely away. Nix graduated in Dec. Even the 3-year guys like Clausen often get done within a year (he was an EE, which made it easier).

  11. NotreDan - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    So, not really related… why aren’t all you PC cops jumping on racist dickie doodle.

    On a serious note, what an awful story all around. I never heard about this until now, PS being involved that is.

    Honestly, the ND “gag order” feels a little crooked.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      regarding dickie doodle…..

      I don’t notice he’s racist because I don’t usually read his comments. I skip those and the comments that are 500 words long. :)

      Also, I think nudey got beat up a bit because we expect a higher level of intellect from him. With dickassman, we just expect him to vomit all of the message boards, reload on taco bell and old Milwaukee beer and then vomit again.

      ….the double standard probably isn’t fair, but we’re all just Pavlov’s dogs…we’ve been conditioned this way :)

    • danirish - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      I don’t read any posts by “dickie doodle” so I cannot react to what I don’t know.

  12. jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    When I first read this headline, especially in view of the recent racist vs. non-racist thread, I thought oh boy this is going to get ugly. However, I find that I have greatly underestimated the posters on here. Thanks fellas, for not letting this one devolve into a series of name-calling diatribes. Stay classy.

  13. jem5b - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    DickMan; Ad Hominen attack on a 21 year old? Quite classy.
    It seems the romantic attraction of two 18 yr.olds did not go beyond the petting stage.
    The young Seeberg lady, with a history of mental illness, must have been in a state of mind that none of us on this board has ever been close.
    Condolences to her family, prayers for her soul.
    Forgiveness, if needed, for Prince Shembo.
    Privacy Laws, sounds like a law initiated by the Kennedys, Clintons, Dodds, etc of the world.

  14. fitz79 - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    Whatever happened or didn’t happen, the way Notre Dame handled the situation was shady and counts as another recent black eye, along with the avoidable death of Declan Sullivan and the T’eo scandal. After all, this is Notre Dame. We want to claim the moral high ground. I sincerely hope that less of this stuff happens in the future and if it does the University will deal with it in a more systematic and transparent way. Go Irish!

    • bernhtp - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      You really think Notre Dame did anything wrong here? The subsequent history shows this to have been handled as well as possible. Shembo worked hard, got his degree, and continued living cleanly. He’s interviewing for his dream job and manning up to any unanswered questions. The Seebergs were able to bury poor Lizzy and remember her well, without her name continually besmirched by young men put into a position of needing to defend themselves.

      You want to see bad handling? Look no further than the peer institution of Duke University that took another charge of sexual assault, rape in their case, and blew it up into a political witch hunt and complete miscarriage of justice. Along with a self-serving corrupt prosecutor, corrupt/lying cops, and a leftist faculty that tried to railroad four fully-innocent young men. Thank God their parents had the financial means to buy some defense or their lives would certainly have been ruined. While the prosecutor was disbarred, justice fell short when the Duke president, accusing faculty, and lying cops weren’t fired.

      There’s a very good reason “Thou shalt not bear false witness” made it into the top ten.

      Notre Dame, in my opinion, handled this perfectly, at least as perfectly has the tragic situation allowed.

      • irishpuma - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:59 AM

        As usual Bern could not disagree more. ND could have notified the police weeks earlier. ND could have punished the players that bullied the poor girl and there are cell phone records to prove it. Who knows what happened, the only two who do, one is gone and the other on his way to the NFL. But the situation could definitely have been handled better. This is not the only case on that campus. I am sorry ordering a player to not talk for 3 years reeks of a coverup or at least a strong arm tactic. If that even happened, there are a few reasons why I would not necessarily believe the Prince’s word. But even one girl on our campus being intimidated, groped, or worse is unacceptable and should not be swept up under the rug. Remember Penn St? When good men stand and do nothing…….

  15. mikes1160 - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    DELETED AS WELL. SORRY IT TOOK A LONG TIME TO GET TO THE LAST COMMENT. I’M SHOCKED THAT OUR VILLAGE IDIOT COULDN’T KEEP IT TOGETHER.

  16. irishpuma - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:19 AM

    THIS IS ALSO BEING DELETED BECAUSE IT’S JUST RUMOR MONGERING.

  17. irishpuma - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Last but not least…..why do you think he is talking now? You think BK could really control him? No one else has not even himself.

    He is talking now because this event is 4 years in the rear view mirror and his future and money depend on it. He has to have answers for this or he does not get paid. I feel terrible for the Seeberg family having to relive all of this and see the man at least partially responsible running around claiming innocence so he can get paid at the next level. Sickening.

    • Keith Arnold - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      IrishPuma, I’m not sure what your agenda is here, so I’ll treat your comments with respect. But you certainly have a point-of-view that I don’t think is supported by fact.

      There are intelligent discussions to have about the very serious and real issues dealing with sexual assault on college campuses. But the comments section on a Notre Dame football website is not one of them.

      If you think this conversation is something Shembo wants to have, you’re fooling yourself. That you have to immediately doubt what he’s saying or discount it because he’s just trying to get paid, you’re doing the exact thing to Shembo that others have done to Seeberg.

      Feel sorry for the Seeberg family. They lost a daughter. A daughter that had been away from home for just weeks and had struggled with her mental and emotional health. I can’t imagine how that would feel. But the family was turned into a politicized talking point by some journalists who turned into opportunists looking to take on Notre Dame.

      I was on campus in 2002 for a sexual assault case that ended up costing four ND football players their chances at a degree. They were expelled for their role in a sexual encounter, but all found not guilty of rape in a court of law.

      That Notre Dame investigated the situation and allowed Shembo to play and finish his career says an awful lot about the facts of the situation. That the university would also release a statement and counter some of the mistruths being alleged also says a lot.

      Don’t bring Penn State into this. Brendan Gibbons or Jameis Winston, either.

  18. irishpuma - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:27 AM

    Keith you wrote the article and you posted the article so take some accountability for the discussion. I am commenting on an issue you posted so lets get that out of the way right now.

    As far as an agenda I find that offensive. My only agenda is to stop the smear campaign against a deceased and troubled girl, to call my school out in hopes they clean up these messes going forward and act more responsibly. My point of view not being supported by facts?? Definitely not gossip you are wrong sir. Hearsay sure, but hearsay from documented and respected journalists, sources, school officials. Was he not kicked out of two middle schools for aggression? Was he not suspended his senior year for throwing a girl across a class room? Was he in the room with her and admit that he stopped doing something? Were the texts and voicemails from ND players not made to her phone? Did BK not tell him he could not discuss anything? Did ND delay the investigationPlease refute any of this.

    I am sick of your argument that no charges were brought so he is innocent. It is next to impossible to compile enough evidence to convict anyone in these type of situations especially when the alleged victim is dead making their sworn statement inadmissible but I am sure you understand the law. That means he is innocent in a court of law. Hiding behind that principal that that makes him actually innocent of any offense is just ignorant, cowardly or just plain putting your head in the sand.

    More facts for you Keith: “In the wake of Seeberg’s death, the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation in Notre Dame’s handling of sexual assault cases.

    As part of an agreement between the school and the Department of Education, Notre Dame pledged to make wide-ranging reforms in its handling of such cases.”

    They did not refer the case to the DA, campus police did not contact the police, Shembo was not interviewed until 14 days after the event, and well after the suicide. All facts. “The Tribune in November 2010 reported that campus authorities did not initially tell county police about Seeberg’s report of a sexual attack, nor did campus police refer the case to the county’s special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses.”

    So to clear it up no agenda, I don’t think Shembo is a rapist, or responsible for the suicide, I do think he crossed a line and assaulted her, the event, followed by the bullying and abuse and lack of response by people entrusted to protect young students pushed a fragile girl all the way over the edge. I expected more out of ND and hope they do more in the future besides the bare minimum and letting things fall in the cracks. This is not the only story of sexual abuse at ND FYI, but sadly I digress.

    I do not understand how a conversation about a horrible event among alleged catholics, ND men, and wannabe intellects can be treated so crassly without compassion (not all of you) and then censoring and questioning motives. Maybe I am naive but no woman or man should feel scared, intimidated, violated, at risk on the campus of the greatest religious University in the world. And when something does happen it needs to be handled better. The mission is not to protect ND its to protect and nurture the students they are entrusted with teaching, even the visiting ones.

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