SOUTH BEND – Demetrius Jones will have to pay his own way to Northern Illinois this year.
The former Notre Dame quarterback will not be released from his scholarship, the school announced Tuesday.
“We don’t believe that Demetrius’ departure was handled appropriately,” Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White said.
Jones made his decision known by not traveling with Notre Dame to Michigan. Instead he attended Northern Illinois’ game against Eastern Michigan in DeKalb, Ill., on Saturday.
Jones told the South Bend Tribune he started classes Monday. Jones spoke to Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis late Monday evening.
“It was a cordial conversation,” Weis said. “I wouldn’t say (we) aired it out, but we cleared up what was going on, and he said he’s moved on and that’s about it.”
Weis said he wasn’t involved in whether Jones was released from his scholarship. The decision is usually made between institutions and athletic directors.
According to NCAA transfer rules, Jones will have to wait one year and pay one year’s worth of tuition at Northern Illinois before the Huskies are allowed to place him on scholarship. The school’s Web site lists tuition and room and board at $14,530.
Northern Illinois sports information director Donna Turner said the Huskies are at their scholarship limit for the 2007 season and that Jones hasn’t been cleared to practice as he is going through university processing on his transfer.
“He could still talk to our coaches and participate in practices,” Turner said. “Just as a walk-on.”
As far as Notre Dame’s decision not to release Jones from his scholarship, Turner said that is “between Notre Dame and Demetrius. We have nothing to do with that.”
Jones started Notre Dame’s season-opener against Georgia Tech, but he was pulled after less than a half. He completed 1 of 3 passes for 4 yards and rushed 12 times for 28 yards. He had initially beaten junior Evan Sharpley and freshman Jimmy Clausen for the job. After the Georgia Tech game, Weis named Clausen the starter.
Weis’ decision set Jones’ transfer in motion.
“The way I left was pretty immature,” Jones told the South Bend Tribune. “I’ve heard people say that, and they’re right. I should have handled it better.”
Notre Dame’s decision could lead to struggles in persuading future Chicago Public League recruits to attend the South Bend school.
“The coaches (of the CPL) are a tight-knit group so if one of them feels slighted, it could have an effect down the road,” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree said. “Notre Dame could say that it is our policy and how we do it with all our kids.
“… It’ll be all right but maybe will turn one or two guys off or some coaches off against them, it might. But it is left to be determined what will happen.”
Weis said Jones’ departure will not change how he recruits quarterbacks. He also said if he does look at a second quarterback in a class, he will have it be a person who would also be willing to play another position.
Starting right guard Dan Wenger was injured during the second half of Notre Dame’s 38-0 loss to Michigan on Saturday and missed the media portion of practice on Tuesday.
“I’d say iffy for a while,” Weis said.
Junior nose tackle Derrell Hand saw his suspension lifted, and Weis said he expects the Philadelphia native to play this week.
Hand was suspended indefinitely after being arrested in August for soliciting a prostitute.