“There were at least 20 police officers there, maybe more,” said a Notre Dame senior who lives in the house next door. “They took everyone down to the police station in buses.”
It sounds as if the Notre Dame senior lives next door to a crack house. Actually, his neighbors are approximately eight current or former members of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team. The women hosted a get-together that drew members of the men’s lacrosse team as well as two members of the Notre Dame football team, junior tight end Will Yeatman and freshman offensive lineman Mike Golic, Jr. (Yeatman is also a member of the men’s lacrosse team, its top scorer as a freshman in 2007.)
Some time between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Sunday morning, county and state police raided the party. Adjoining neighbors had not complained about excess noise or any disturbances, drunken or otherwise.
The St. Joe County Police issued a statement after the arrests. It read in part that a task force was “targeting local establishments for complaints received by Indiana State Excise Police. While en route to a location on list (sic), an officer drove by the location of Colfax Ave. and St. Louis Blvd. in South Bend and observed what appeared to be several underage people drinking.”
Of the 37 Notre Dame students arrested, 16 are varsity athletes. Besides Golic and Yeatman, officers arrested five current (and two former) members of the women’s lacrosse team; eight members of the men’s lacrosse team; and women’s basketball player Brittany Mallory who, like Golic and Yeatman, is underage.
A common nuisance may be how many Notre Dame students, particularly those who live off-campus, would describe the police presence here. That consuming alcohol before the age of 21 is illegal is not in question. And certainly anyone who attempts to drive while legally impaired is endangering the lives of others as well as himself.
However, it is hard not to consider Saturday's police presence excessive. And repressive. A multi-agency operation that included members of the SUDS (Stop Underage Drinking and Sales) task force, the St. Joseph’s County Police Reserves, the Indiana State Excise Police and the Indiana State Police all converged on the home. Canine units were also present.
According to Sgt. William Redman of the St. Joseph County Police, once officers arrived they “discovered several underage people that were in fact drinking alcohol. A total of three empty kegs of beer were found at the home along with hundreds of empty beer cans and drinking cups both inside and outside the residence. The individuals at the home began to scatter and many hid inside the home. Officers obtained permission to enter the home from the students renting the home. Once inside the home, officers found people hiding under beds, in closets, the attic, and in the basement.”
I know what you’re thinking: Why did the students ever give police permission to enter the home? State school kids are way smarter than that. Notre Dame students, by and large, are law-abiding. Respectful of authority. Chances are that the female lacrosse players who are renting the home on 702 E. Colfax were scared and/or intimidated by so many uniformed officers. And, being Notre Dame students, they wanted to follow the rules.
The Notre Dame students who live next door arrived home at around 2 a.m. to the surreal scene. As they stood on their front porch surveying their classmates being led onto the buses, one officer ordered them to “go inside your house.”
One student protested that he was 21 years old, and noted that he was standing on his own property.
“Do you want to go down to the station, too?” a police officer asked.
Lingering questions were answered emphatically by the 2012 team, but 2013 is an all-new season that brings all-new question marks. Brian Kelly feels fairly confident his offense is in a great position to take a step forward, but to do that, they’ll need the services of some under-the-radar players.
Notre Dame's 2012 season
Check out some of the best images from Notre Dame's 2012 season.
Meet the 2012 Irish
Take a look at some of the key contributors for Notre Dame this season
2012 Notre Dame opponents
Take a look at some of the key players the Irish will face this season
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.