By TOM COYNE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Everett Golson is out for at least the fall semester at Notre Dame, saying he has been suspended by the university for what he called poor academic judgment.
“I take full responsibility for my poor choices and will do all that is asked of me to regain the trust of my family, friends, teammates, coaches and the entire Notre Dame community,” he wrote in a letter released Sunday by the university.
Golson was officially no longer enrolled at Notre Dame as of Friday, university spokesman Dennis Brown said Saturday night.
Golson helped the Irish go 12-0 during the regular season last year, regain the No. 1 ranking for the first time in nearly two decades and get to the national title game against Alabama in January. Coach Brian Kelly was counting on him to play an even bigger role in 2013 after his play steadily improved throughout last season.
Golson did not specify what he did to get suspended, and wrote that he understands his integrity could be in question.
“But I want to reassure my supporters that through this experience I will return a better student athlete as well as a better individual,” he said.
He thanked the university for the opportunity to retain his eligibility in January.
Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick declined to elaborate on Golson’s situation earlier in the day. Brown said the university would have nothing to add to Golson’s statement.
Golson’s abrupt exit leaves the Irish unsettled at a position they were hoping would be a strength in 2013. The most likely replacement is Tommy Rees, the 2011 starter who played key roles in four victories last season when Golson either struggled or was injured.
Golson completed 58.8 percent of his passes last year for 2,405 yards with 12 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He also ran for 298 yards and team-high six touchdowns.
Notre Dame also has Andrew Hendrix, a senior with no starts, and freshman Malik Zaire at quarterback.
So now quarterback is question mark for the Irish and Golson’s future with Notre Dame is uncertain.
One thing is clear: The good feelings in South Bend produced by the best Notre Dame football season in more than two decades have been muted by everything that has come after 12-0.
It started with an embarrassing 42-14 loss against Alabama in the BCS title game, when the Crimson Tide scored on their first three possessions and jumped to a 35-0 lead.
That was quickly followed by news Kelly had interviewed for the vacant Philadelphia Eagles job the day after the BCS game.
Then the bizarre.
Part Manti Te’o’s inspirational story turned out to be the result of an elaborate hoax. The dead girlfriend that supposedly inspired throughout his Heisman Trophy run did not exist. He had been duped and embarrassed.
Since then, it’s been a series of smaller setbacks.
In March, Kelly announced Gunner Kiel, one of the top-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school a year ago, was leaving before even trying to challenge Golson for the starter’s job during spring practice. Kiel transferred to Cincinnati.
NCAA rules would permit Kiel to return, but texted “I’m a Bearcat” to The (Cincinnati) Enquirer.
Then came reports that standout defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes from Auburn, Calif., a five-star recruit who signed a letter of intent in February with Notre Dame, was having second thoughts about playing for the Irish.
Though none of those problems will affect the Irish this season like not having Golson.