Notre Dame football:
Fauria's Notre Dame dream overTight End expects to transfer to a Pac-10 team.
By ERIC HANSEN
Tribune Staff Writer
The teardrops pocked the release papers as Joseph Fauria signed away his dream.
"When I committed to Notre
"I never lost my love for Notre Dame, and I never will. But my lifelong dream is over. It's time to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else."
Fauria asked for his release from the school Wednesday, the same day Notre Dame announced in a somewhat cryptic, two-sentence statement that the 6-foot-7, 245-pound sophomore from Encino, Calif., was not enrolled in summer school and would not be enrolled in the fall for football season "for personal reasons."
In actuality, Fauria said, he was suspended by the university's Office of Residence Life and is not even allowed back on campus to so much as visit until after Christmas.
ND head coach Charlie
"(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.
"The people who are close to me know what it is, and they couldn't believe this is happening," he said. "I'm a good guy, a fun-loving guy. I have a 3.0 GPA. My team won Bookstore Basketball. I had moved up to No. 2 tight end. I was on Cloud 9. And then it all came apart."
Fauria said he was not allowed to appeal the suspension to the Office of Residence Life.
"They punished me without knowing who I am," he said. "And then when they said, 'No appeal.' Wow, even murderers get to appeal."
Fauria said he'll likely end up at a Pac-10 school but will have to sit out the 2009 season to satisfy NCAA transfer requirements. He'll have three years of eligibility, beginning in 2010.
Fauria was one of the biggest pleasant surprises of spring practice, jumping to No. 2 on the tight end depth chart behind incumbent starter Kyle Rudolph.
He played in three games in 2008, logging roughly 21 minutes of playing time with one special teams appearance. He caught two passes for 17 yards in the April Blue-Gold Game.
He was pressed into action, as a lithe freshman, late in the 2008 season when injuries and suspensions depleted the tight end corps.
"I got to live the dream for a short time," he said. "And I'm going to cheer Notre Dame on this year and hope they do well. And I'm telling you right now, they're going to do very well."