Aug. 11, 2000
NEW ORLEANS -- Linebacker Noel Ellis, a senior from New Orleans, has been reinstated to the Tulane football team, Green Wave Athletic Director Rick Dickson announced Friday. Ellis was suspended from the team on March 14 prior to the start of spring practice.
"After a careful review of all aspects of his situation, Noel Ellis has been reinstated to the Tulane football program," said Dickson. "We are satisfied that the situation has been resolved, the investigation is complete and Noel's name has been cleared by the authorities. He has also resolved his problems with the campus authorities.
"We will reserve judgement on his playing status for games until the resolution of his remaining legal issues with the local municipalities."
Ellis has a court date scheduled for August 30 regarding misdemeanor traffic violations.
Ellis, a 6-1, 240-pounder from Karr High, was Tulane's leading tackler a year ago while starting all 11 games for the Green Wave. He tallied 106 stops, including 65 solo tackles and 11 tackles for loss.
"I am very pleased that Noel has responded in a mature way to this situation and has done what he needed to do to earn his way back onto the team," said TU Head Coach Chris Scelfo. "We welcome him back and are anxious to move forward."
Ellis reported to campus Friday with the remainder of the Tulane returnees. They will join the freshmen to begin two-a-day workouts Saturday at St. Paul's School in Covington. Tulane opens its season Sept. 2 at Ole Miss.
Dickson also announced that runningback Toney Converse will not be a member of the Tulane football program during the 2000 season. Converse was also suspended from the squad on March 14 and subsequently encountered legal difficulties.
"We have reviewed the status of Toney Converse in regard to the 2000 season," Dickson said. "Due to the serious nature of the charges, and the fact that the situation is ongoing, he will not be a member of the program for the 2000 season."
Converse ranks ninth on the Tulane all-time rushing chart with 2,014 yards on 382 carries for a 5.27 average. He was the Green Wave's leading ground-gainer in each of the last three seasons, including setting records for yards gained by a freshman (777 in 1997) and sophomore (871 in 1998).
"Hopefully this will give Toney the opportunity to get his life in order," Scelfo said. "We hope and pray for him. We appreciate everything he's done for our football team over the last three seasons."
"Anytime we have an athlete involved in serious allegations, his playing status and his status as a member of the athletics program is jeopardized," Dickson said. "We must protect the integrity of the athletics program and of Tulane University, but we are also going to be fair to the student-athletes and review each situation individually.
"We're satisfied with the decisions made in these cases."