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File photo
Tommy Rees

2 Irish football players arrested

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees faces four misdemeanor charges after a confrontation with police officers, who were breaking up a house party early Thursday morning.

Rees was originally arrested on felony charge of battery on a police officer and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, minor consumption and public intoxication, South Bend Capt. Phil Trent said.

Rees was held until late afternoon Thursday before prosecutors formally charged the 19-year-old with minor consumption, two counts of resisting law enforcement and battery, all misdemeanors, according to reports from the South Bend Tribune and Chicago Tribune. Rees was released on bond, according to the reports.

The reduction of the felony charge to a misdemeanor would appear to save Rees from immediate dismissal from Notre Dame.

The university's student handbook states: "If a student is charged with a felony, the University, through the Office of Student Affairs or the Office of Residence Life, reserves the right to take summary action and temporarily dismiss the student. Similarly, the University may take summary action to temporarily or permanently dismiss any student convicted of a felony."

Linebacker Carlo Calabrese, 21, was also arrested. He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication after he tried to intervene during Rees' arrest, Trent said.

Calabrese was released on $150 bond, Trent said. He has a preliminary court date set for May 17, according to the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office.

Rees registered a 0.11 blood-alcohol content, and Calabrese registered a 0.12 blood-alcohol content, Trent said. In Indiana, the limit considered legally intoxicated is 0.08 percent.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement that he was aware of the incident involving Rees and Calabrese.

"I am of course very concerned given the nature of the allegations, but I am still gathering information," Kelly said. "I'll withhold judgment until I can collect all the facts and speak with both Carlo and Tommy."

Around 12:30 a.m., police were called to the party in a subdivision near campus that has both family residents and student housing, Trent said.

When police arrived, Rees was part of a group of five people who tried to run away. When police caught up with Rees, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback struck an officer in the midsection with his knee, knocking the wind out of the officer, Trent said.

Rees and the officer fell to the ground and Rees was pepper-sprayed.

"While they are on the ground and Rees is flailing around, Rees is pepper-sprayed for a brief bit," Trent said.

Calabrese became involved in the incident when Rees was being arrested, and at one time, he told a sergeant, "My people will get you," according to Trent.

"When he finds out he is not going to be successful, that's when he pops out with that comment," Trent said. "We took it as a threat, but we have no idea what that means."

The Notre Dame players were the only ones arrested from the party, Trent said.

Rees, who will be a junior, started 12 of 13 games for an Irish team that went 8-5 last season. He is competing for the starting quarterback spot this year with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and Gunner Kiel.

Calabrese, who will be a senior, played in every game last season as a backup inside linebacker after starting eight games in 2010.

"The university is aware of this incident and is confident that it will be handled in a prompt and professional manner through the criminal justice system," Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement. "Internal discipline is handled privately, in accord with our own policies and federal law."