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What we know about Demetrius Jones' high-profile departure from Notre Dame:

• Demetrius Jones entered the offseason with an ostensibly fair opportunity to win the starting quarterback job, and was a finalist for the position.

• Jones was named the starter internally the week before the opener with Georgia Tech, as word leaked on the Web and was confirmed by Jones' presence in the starting lineup that weekend.

• To some extent, Charlie Weis scrapped his pro-style, pocket-passing system in practice to take advantage of Jones' athleticism in a de rigeur read option attack from the shotgun, as seen in the first few possessions Jones played against the Jackets.

• Jones was quickly benched and the system designed to his talents scrapped after roughly one miserable quarter.

• Jimmy Clausen was subsequently named the starter, as Weis suggested he would have been from the beginning if not for an elbow injury that limited his throwing ability at the start of fall practice. Jones' time at the front of the order looks like an experiment conceived from the outset with the goal of keeping Clausen's spot warm, and possibly to a lesser extent to catch Georgia Tech by surprise, until defenses catch on and Jimmy ascends to his destiny.

Demetrius gets while the gettin's good.
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• Jones failed to board the bus to Ann Arbor for the Irish's game at Michigan last week and pops up in the Northern Illinois student directory. This week, Jones said he bailed on Weis for being misled about his real chances of becoming the full-time quarterback - while insisting he did inform the team before it left for Michigan - and the university refused to release Jones from his scholarship.

So an about-face Thursday, of sorts:

According to a statement from athletics director Kevin White Thursday, Notre Dame will release quarterback Demetrius Jones from his scholarship as long as the school is not on ND's future football schedule -- and it's not Northern Illinois.

"Since learning of the situation surrounding the departure of Demetrius Jones on Friday, Sept. 14, the University of Notre Dame has been gathering facts to better assess his interest in transferring," White said in his statement. "Today, without formal confirmation of Demetrius' status, we reached out to him to assist him and his family in ascertaining his athletic and academic future plans.

"We are helping Demetrius compile a list of prospective schools that are not on our immediate future football schedules. We will grant him a release to those schools, and we will assist him in settling at another institution as best we can."
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The university's position - "without formal confirmation of Demetrius' status..." - is that it had no idea Jones was leaving, which Jones himself disputes, but either way, it makes some cynical sense that it doesn't want to play ball on his transfer if it's going to benefit an imminent opponent. But after cynically stringing him along with apparently no intention to fulfill the promised opportunity, to deny Jones his wish to move to Northern Illinois - close to where he grew up in Chicago, where he will not play against Notre Dame or likely ever have to enter its collective consciousness again - seems the height of petty vindictiveness. And if petty vindictiveness is not at the root of kiboshing a scholarship at a MAC school many Domers likely can't nor will ever be required to locate on a map, what is?

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At the South Bend Tribune, Jason Kelly has the same reaction: "Jones has the excuse of being 19 years old. Notre Dame has no justifiable explanation -- except spite."