By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND -- Tight end Will Yeatman is still practicing with the Notre Dame football team pending his sentencing on a charge of drunken driving and the outcome of a new charge of underage drinking at an off-campus party.
Coach Charlie Weis said if Yeatman were cleared, he could begin playing immediately.
"It's still pending," Weis said.
Weis said he couldn't say much else about Yeatman because of privacy laws. At Notre Dame, university officials, not coaches, decide what action the school will take in such cases.
The St. Joseph County prosecutor's office said Wednesday it had sent letters to the 20-year-old Yeatman and 36 others arrested at the Sept. 21 party, offering them a chance to avoid trial through diversion program.
Those who take part in the program will pay user fees and may be required to perform community service, participate in an alcohol use evaluation, and follow through with any educational program determined to be appropriate. If they choose not to participate in the diversion program, or fail to respond to the letter sent by the prosecutor's office, the reports will be referred for formal charging.
But Yeatman could face an additional penalty because of his earlier guilty plea to drunken driving and reckless driving. That plea in February was part of an agreement that required him to stay out of trouble for a year, so the Sept. 21 arrest could lead to jail time.
No date has been set for Yeatman's sentencing on the drunken driving plea.
Under Indiana sentencing statutes, he can't be sentenced on both the drunken driving and reckless driving charges because they stem from a single criminal "episode," even though he pleaded guilty to both, said Catherine Wilson, St. Joseph County prosecutor's office spokeswoman. He will be sentenced on the drunken driving charge, which carries a maximum of up to 60 days in jail. She previously had said he faced up to 180 days in jail.
Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said Wednesday that when the university receives reports of possible violations of the school's behavior policies "we will act upon it by calling a student to a hearing to gather facts to determine if such a violation occurred."
In January 2007, Irish basketball player Kyle McAlarney was suspended from school for a semester following his arrest on a marijuana possession charge. He returned to school and played for Notre Dame last season.