Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fauria Flies the Coop | by Jay

Hansen's article in the SBT this morning has some bitter quotes from tight end Joseph Fauria, who is transferring to another school in lieu of serving a one-semester suspension for an undisclosed disciplinary violation.

ND head coach Charlie Weis, hamstrung from expounding on the subject by a quagmire of privacy laws and strict university policy, signed off on the transfer Friday afternoon and wished Fauria well.

"(Weis) didn't want me to leave, and I didn't want to leave, but I felt I had to," said Fauria via cell phone from California as he was driving to the beach to ponder his future.

"I didn't want to go back there (to ND) and have to be under the microscope and not be myself. I wanted to have a fresh start.

"I can't say enough about coach Weis, tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee, the guy who recruited me — coach Brian Polian — and the players, too.

"I know coach Weis can't come out and support me publicly because of protocol, but I know how he feels, and that's all that is important. It was an honor to be coached by him. I love him. I'll miss him. I still consider him a part of my family. It's sad to leave everyone, but I feel I was mistreated by the school and that the punishment didn't fit the crime."

Fauria declined to delineate publicly just what he was punished for.
Fauria said he'll likely explore a Pac-10 option in order to stay close to home (Encino, CA).

In a (premium) interview with Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, Fauria had even harsher words for how he was treated, saying it was blatantly "unfair."
"They don't take character into account. It's the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. It's a Catholic environment, but there's no Catholic spirit in the process, no spirit of Notre Dame. It's all just trying to knock somebody down. It's terrible..."

"If anyone knows me, they know I'm not some malicious person, not some predator. I'm a fun-loving guy. (Residence Life) didn't see that."
Fauria also claims he was forbidden to appeal the decision. Unlike the rest of you diligent and pious alums, I cannot quote chapter and verse from DuLac, so I paged through it this morning looking for the "appeals" guidelines. I was surprised to find that ND's disciplinary process only allows for "case reviews", not appeals, and even then only in situations where procedural defect is alleged or new information has come to light. Appealing simply on the grounds of "severity of punishment" is never considered. While this may be a crummy policy, what this tells us is that Fauria's lack of access to appeal probably wasn't out of the ordinary in the draconian world of ResLife.

I have no idea what Fauria did, and you probably don't, either. Fauria claims it was something minor (you'd laugh if you knew, he said in another interview). I will say that there seems to be a lot of rumors flying around, ranging from the merely prankish to more serious allegations. Unless Fauria himself divulges the details -- the school certainly won't -- we'll likely never know the facts in the case. Given that we don't know the details, and given the fact that ResLife has no reservoir of credibility to draw from, it's hard to know if justice was served in Fauria's suspension. (The decision to permanently transfer, of course, remains his.)

Football-wise, where does that leave us with tight ends? Pat explored this below in greater detail, when the suspension of Fauria was announced. Rudolph is still the clear #1, but now even more responsibility falls on Mike Ragone and his rickety legs to hold down #2. Walk-on Bobby Burger now moves up a notch to #3, and incoming frosh Tyle Eifert and Jake Golic just went on redshirt alert. There is some depth. As my friend Brian said, the loss of Fauria is a setback, but if everyone else stays healthy (and enrolled) it doesn't have to be a crippling one.