It was around 10 p.m. this past Saturday when preliminary reports about Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson’s future with the football team began to seep out through social media and “breaking news” tickers. A panic shuttered through ND Nation as the fuzzy details of Golson’s dismissal from the university slowly came into focus over the holiday weekend.
Golson, a South Carolina native, led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season in 2012 and a berth in the BCS National Championship game against eventual champion Alabama. He did that as a redshirt freshman (a first-year player) on a team carried primarily by a dominating defense. Golson’s progression throughout the season, however, offered hope he would be one of college football’s elite players over the next three years.
Notre Dame officials confirmed Sunday that Golson had indeed been suspended from the University for academic reasons, but did not elaborate, citing privacy laws. In a statement released through the University, Golson wrote that the reason for his dismissal was “poor academic judgment,” and that he takes “full responsibility” for his poor choices.
Taking that responsibility likely won’t benefit the Notre Dame football program come this fall. Golson would have been an All-American candidate as a sophomore and one of the most predominant faces of the 2013 season. Now head coach Brian Kelly, in his fourth year and with spring practice behind him, must scramble to replace Golson in the starting lineup. It won’t be easy, although viable options do exist. Golson let his team down, he let Notre Dame fans down and he let himself down.
He has also accepted responsibility for whatever his mistake may have been and vowed to move forward in a positive direction. It should never matter to any school or university if a student-athlete is a third-string goalie for the lacrosse team or starting quarterback for the football team. If academic integrity is breached by a student, the consequence should be universal. That certainly appears to be the case in this matter.
Fans have the luxury of tunnel vision. Many are only concerned with their team’s success on the field. University officials must look at the broader picture and do what’s right for both the school and the individual. This is a lesson that should be taught at the University of Notre Dame, NorthWood High School, Bethany Christian or anywhere else.