Notre Dame's Kelly addresses Shembo case

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Prince Shembo’s recent admission that he was the Notre Dame football player accused in 2010 of sexual assault of a Saint Mary’s College student put the spotlight Friday on Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

Shembo, a former ND outside linebacker, made the admission last Saturday while speaking with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine and added that Kelly “told me I couldn’t talk about it.”

“I wanted to talk about it (then),” Shembo told ESPN. “I wanted to, but they had to keep everything confidential. Now that I’m out (of school), I can talk about it.”

Shembo, who was not publicly identified by the media at the time of the alleged crime because he was never charged, maintained his innocence to the media at the combine and to the purported 26 NFL teams that asked him about the reports during their own interview process.

Lizzy Seeberg had alleged the attack took place Aug. 31, 2010, in Shembo’s dorm room. She reportedly committed suicide 10 days later on Sept. 10.

Kelly acknowledged Friday that he did advise Shembo not to speak about it back in 2010, but that the suggestion was a collaborative one.

“I don’t make any decisions independent when it comes to major decisions at this university,” he said during a press conference to discuss the upcoming spring football season. “The head coach works in concert with our administration.

“We made a decision based upon the information that we had that we felt that it would be in Prince’s best interest, that this was not a matter that needed to be discussed, but that was certainly something that he could have decided to discuss.

“We didn’t threaten him with that he couldn’t play or we were going to put him on the bench or throw him out of school. It was still his decision. But in talking to his parents and talking to Prince, we felt because of the information we had in front of us that it was a matter that be left alone at the time.”

Tom Seeberg, Lizzy’s father, recently said during an interview on the “Kap and Haugh Show” on Chicago radio station The Game, 87.7 FM that he did not blame Notre Dame or Shembo for his daughter’s death, but he still has issues with the way the Notre Dame police department handled the case.

"I think the context of revealing his name maybe adds to maybe why we certainly accused Notre Dame of conducting a superficial investigation," Seeberg said in the radio interview. "In a he-said-she-said matter, you can quickly gather forensic evidence to try to determine what happened there, or you can let it linger like they did — let evidence spoil."

Kelly recently spoke about the case more broadly with Comcast SportsNet’s Pat Boyle. The interview, which will touch on a variety of topics, airs Monday at 10:30 p.m. (EDT).

“I think that our university has been thorough on what they were charged to do,” Kelly told Boyle. “I think that in all of these situations you are always looking for improvements in what you’re doing. There’s nobody involved in this very tragic situation that looks back on it and says ‘we did everything right.’ ”


Twitter: @hansenNDInsider

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Friday addressed the advice he gave to former Irish linebacker Prince Shembo regarding the Lizzy Seeberg case. (SBT Photo/GREG SWIERCZ)