When the NCAA bracket was released Sunday night, one of the more prominent story lines involved Terps junior attackman Will Yeatman returning to seventh-seeded Notre Dame, where he began his collegiate career in both lacrosse and football.
With various media outlets here and in South Bend, Indiana, requesting interviews with Yeatman, Maryland coach Dave Cottle has elected to keep Yeatman out of the spotlight by making him off-limits to reporters this week.
"Some of by best friends in life are on the Notre Dame lacrosse team and I have tremendous respect for the coaches and staff at Notre Dame," Yeatman said in a written statement released by the school. "So, to treat all parties with the proper respect, I will not be conducting interviews this week."
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Yeatman led the Fighting Irish in scoring with 46 points on 21 goals and 25 assists as a freshman in 2007. Yeatman served a season-long suspension last spring after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of drunken driving and criminal recklessness stemming from a Jan. 28 arrest. Yeatman, who also was a tight end for the football team, encountered more legal problems and another suspension in September after being arrested on a charge of underage drinking at an off-campus party.
In February, Yeatman talked to me about leaving Notre Dame, and he made it clear that he still harbored a lot of affection for his former school.
"It was a very difficult situation mainly because when you’re at a college for 2½ years, you make so many bonds with so many great people and it’s hard to leave them," Yeatman said. "People have criticized me for saying this, but I was very unhappy, and I live my life to be a happy person. And I feel like if I’m unhappy, then there’s something wrong. I felt like at this time in my life, I needed a change, and I’m really happy I made the change to come to Maryland.
"I could have stayed at Notre Dame," he said a little later. "[But] I needed a fresh start in my life because I was pretty unhappy. I left a lot of people at Notre Dame that I generally do love, and it was hard for me to do that. But so far, I’ve been very happy that I made the change."
Yeatman ranks fourth on the Terps with 26 points on 13 goals and 13 assists. He is still recovering from a sprained right ankle that forced him to miss three games, but he is expected to play against the 15-0 Fighting Irish.
Earlier in the week, Cottle commented on Yeatman’s return to South Bend, saying, "I think it is going to be a weird, unusual feeling. I think the thing to remember is that Will Yeatman cares a great deal about the Notre Dame friends that he has made over the years that he was there. He just happens to play for a different team, and he’s going over to play a lacrosse game. When the game is over, he’s got his friends from Notre Dame and he’s got his friends from Maryland. It’s probably going to be a very eerie feeling for him, but on the same end, he hasn’t stopped communicating with or caring about those guys. He’s just got a new set of friends, too. This game is not going to be about Will. It’s going to be about Maryland and Notre Dame. Both teams are going to prepare hard and play hard and we’ll see who wins."