Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly compared the recent news of quarterback Everett Golson's departure for the fall to a father being disappointed in his son, calling it a moment that will define Golson depending on how he responds.
"I'm on 30 years now in college ball, and it's like being a dad -- you're disappointed, but you know these things happen, and you want your players to be accountable," Kelly said Tuesday during a teleconference. "So there's a big sense of pride in knowing that Everett handled himself in the right way, took full accountability and responsibility, is going to do everything in his power to get himself back here at Notre Dame.
"So, disappointed, certainly, that it occurred but not surprised. You can't be surprised when you're working with 18- to 21-year-olds. I'm not surprised when my 16-year-old knucklehead son comes home and does crazy things. But when there's a family and we hope to support him, and in this instance with Everett, I'm very proud of the way he handled himself."
Kelly said he is confident that Golson, who helped lead the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the national championship game last season, will return to Notre Dame at some point.
"I would say that there are defining moments in everybody's life," Kelly said. "Mistakes are made, especially young kids make mistakes. And so I think Everett's going to take this, and I think it's really going to be truly his defining moment that he's going to grow and live and learn from this mistake.
"I have a great deal of confidence that he will be a young man back here at Notre Dame. I'm hopeful of that -- that's up to him and what the university has in front of him. But I always look in the positives and I believe this will be an opportunity for Everett to really grow."
Golson was suspended for the fall semester because of what he called "poor academic judgment," a year after starting 11 games as a redshirt freshman in a season that culminated with the Fighting Irish losing to Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship.
Kelly did not name a starting quarterback for the 2013 season, saying Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire will all have a chance to compete for the job. Rees, a rising senior, is the only quarterback of the three with starting experience (18 games) for the Fighting Irish.
The fourth-year Notre Dame coach said he was not concerned with whether Golson would start should he return to school next spring, but he did say that Golson potentially being readmitted to the school would be enough for him to return to the football program.
Kelly and Golson have yet to engage in a concrete outline for the summer and fall on Golson's return, but the coach said Golson is willing to do whatever it takes to be given the chance to return to Notre Dame.
Kelly also said that neither he nor Notre Dame's compliance office has had any contact with other schools inquiring about Golson potentially transferring.