SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said
Monday that quarterback Jimmy Clausen's citation for transporting
alcohol as a minor is a simple case of ignorance of the law.
"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 Notre Dame's 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 citation 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 Monday 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.