Doing It the Right Way

By now, most Fighting Irish fans are familiar with a certain kind of article about Notre Dame football. You know, the kind that serve mostly as click-bait to drive up the pageviews, coming in two flavors: “irrelevant” and “Notre Dame has sold it’s soul for football”. They, and their target audiences, simply can’t reconcile that any school, much less Notre Dame, can achieve success in football by “doing it the right way” off the field as well. ND’s current success simply must be a product of some kind of compromise of standards and they will gladly try to tell the world why until we face off against Alabama next month.

Let me make one thing abundantly clear: Notre Dame is far from perfect.

Take a break, go back to the last sentence and re-read the bold over and over again before you continue. Realize this is a post written by an Irish football fan, former student manager, and proud alum, but also a person that has been severely disappointed by the way in which his alma mater has handled certain situations.

For instance, the Declan Sullivan tragedy, usually a must-mention in any anti-ND story, was completely avoidable. I wrote about this at length in my pre-HLS days after it happened. As a former manager, it frustrated me to no end that simple precautions were ignored. Sure, Notre Dame was fined and took action to prevent it from ever happening again, but it was all reactionary. Notre Dame shouldn’t have needed a death to figure out that high winds and lifts were a dangerous combination.

However, this tragedy being used as evidence that ND shows cracks in the “doing it right” foundation is a bit of a stretch, especially since the Sullivan family is at peace with the incident and holds no ill-will toward ND.

But what of the Lizzy Seeberg case, the go-to argument these days to show ND’s failings? After all, the alleged assailant is still on the football team and, unlike the Sullivan family, the Seebergs are far from happy as to how the investigation of their daughter’s reported sexual assault was handled.

I honestly can’t blame the Seeberg family for being angry. The timeline of events leaves quite a bit to be desired, especially in terms of how long it took to interview the accused. Further, while I understand the reasons Fr. Jenkins refused to meet with the family (as he wanted to remain impartial should he need to serve as a final disciplinary appeal), I think that refusal did a lot more harm than good, especially when juxtaposed with his dealings with the Sullivan family (and yes, I realize those are two very different cases).

In the end, the evidence wasn’t sufficient enough for any further legal action and the same decision was made on the disciplinary side. As far as football was concerned, it would be rather hard for Brian Kelly to suspend a player after two different entities withheld punishment. Further, doing so would have exposed the identity of the player publicly which is a whole other can of worms.

Unfortunately, these events are warped and sensationalized into a conspiracy that Notre Dame was protecting the football program at all costs. This misguided focus made Notre Dame football the story, cheapening the tragic events of two years ago. Upon each new mention of the Seeberg case, that same misguided focus remains, which completely ignores the fact that Notre Dame has revamped the way all sexual assault cases are handled in the summer of 2011, a move that the Seebergs hope will help young women in the future.

Much like in the Declan Sullivan case, I wish these new procedures weren’t reactionary. Considering that one in four college-aged women nation-wide are victims of rape or attempted rape (source), any policy revamp such as the one Notre Dame did is always a step in the right direction, but that’s not where the focus is. Instead of being lauded for attempting to prevent future tragedies, Notre Dame will continue to be vilified in print for the one they failed to prevent.

Some articles though go further than just the Sullivan and Seeberg tragedies. They wish to suggest that there has been a major institutional change at Notre Dame to aid the football program, citing the stepping down of Fr. Mark Poorman from the position of Vice President of Student Affairs, ND’s disciplinary wing, in 2009. Also often mentioned along with this change was a quote from a then recently fired Charlie Weis when asked what the biggest problem at ND was:

Oh, it’s Residence Life (the disciplinary arm of the office of Student Affairs), it’s not even close for second.

AHA! There’s the proof! A fired coach said ResLife was the problem, so ND removed it for Brian Kelly!

How else can you explain light punishments for Michael Floyd’s DUI (suspended for spring, zero games), Tommy Rees’ arrest (one game), Carlo Calbrese “my people will get you”-ing a cop (one game), and Cierre Wood smoking some weed (two games)? And then compare that to someone like Will Yeatman in 2008, who found himself suspended for the whole year, after blowing a .02 at a party (he was underage at the time) on the heels of being charged with a DUI (in a golf cart, supposedly) the previous spring.

Smoking “ND has sold its soul gun” found?! Not so much…

While there is definitely a start contrast, as usual with such pieces, that isn’t the whole story. First, let’s take a look a Weis’ entire quote about ResLife:

Oh, it’s Residence Life (the disciplinary arm of the office of Student Affairs), it’s not even close for second…I didn’t even know Residence Life existed when I went to school…I think if you took a poll of the students at Notre Dame on what’s the biggest negative issue, I would bet at least 50 per cent of them would say Residence Life…Without getting into the names of people who work at Residence Life…I just think that, not understanding all the principles of du Lac (student conduct manual) and everything else: I just think that these are college kids and college kids do what college kids do…Let’s say a kid has been too loud because he had some alcohol, why wouldn’t you just tell him to go to bed ? Why would that be something that ends up in the hands of Residence Life…? I’m just saying that boys will be boys and I’m just defending them; we as parents know what we interpret with our own kids what is out of line, and we all wish the best but we know our kids are going to be in trouble in their lifetime — but there are so many things that I think border on petty.

Much different in context, no?

Weis wasn’t just referring to ResLife from a football perspective, but from a student perspective as well.

I was a student during the start of Weis’ tenure and his assessment of ResLife would be 100% dead-on for that time. Punishments bordered on Draconian. Some rules seem like they were from another era in time. My favorite: no hard liquor on campus even if you were 21 or older. Hard liquor, by the way, was defined as 14% ABV, making some wines illegal contraband.

The other issue was that ResLife wanted to make examples out of athletes that got in trouble. It was a completely different standard from what normal students would experience. Considering part of the Notre Dame “doing it the right way” includes treating students and student athletes the same, this made no sense.

For instance, let’s take a time in which yours truly had a run in with a duLac violation my sophomore year. I got busted while drinking in a friend’s room. By the letter of the law I could’ve been sent to ResLife for not just the white Russian in my hand (hard liquor violation), but also for underaged drinking as I was 19 at the time.

I wasn’t even sent to ResLife. I was fined $50 and that was that.

As Weis said, “college kids do what college kids do” and our rector knew it. Sure, he could’ve sent me to ResLife if he wanted, but he didn’t feel that punishment fit the crime. In fact, most punishments in our dorm were handled in-house as most issues were minor offenses. Of course, if something more serious went down, ResLife would be brought into play; however, our rector still had the power to decide which direction to take the case. Weis simply wanted the ability to do the same without ResLife trumping him no matter what.

In other words, Weis wanted the football team to be treated just like every other student and, really, when every Notre Dame fan talks about how ND “does it right”, this is what we mean. Notre Dame doesn’t just pay lip-service to the “student” part of student-athlete. It is a part of the culture of Notre Dame and striving for, and obtaining, excellence on and off the field is what separates us from the rest of the college football world.

For years, Notre Dame fans have been told that the old days of college football was done. You simply can’t expect excellence in the classroom and on the field. As an example, take a look at what Pat Forde had to say about Notre Dame in the wake of firing Ty Willingham:

Notre Dame, football factory, fired its coach Tuesday.

The athletic director stressed that the football coach has done wonderful, inspirational work off the field. The academic performance has never been better, he said. The coach is a man of unassailable character who has recruited players of similar ilk.

“In a lot of ways,” the athletic director said, “this program hasn’t been this healthy in a long time.”

Except for one way. The wins-and-losses way. Which is what truly matters at all football factories.

Tyrone Willingham committed the fireable offense of going 21-15 in three years. As AD Kevin White said, Willingham did great work Monday through Friday.

“We just were not meeting those competitive expectations on Saturday,” White said.

Athletic directors, presidents and alums everywhere want the big lie: they want Harvard during the week and Oklahoma on the weekends. Clearly, the Fighting Irish weren’t getting enough Boomer Sooner when needed.

This move makes one thing clear: the Golden Dome might as well be located in Auburn, Ala., or Lincoln, Neb., or Tallahassee, Fla. All the things Notre Dame used to hold dear — the class-and-dignity stuff, the special-institution stuff — is officially of secondary importance.

Hilariously enough, here’s what Forde had to say yesterday about ND:

But in many ways Notre Dame remains a major-college athletic anomaly. The world’s most famous Catholic university aspires to win like a football factory while educating like an elite institution, and it largely succeeds.

The school ranks No. 1 in the NCAA’s most recent Graduation Success Rate. It is the smallest (in enrollment) and most academically prestigious (in national rankings) school to play for a championship in the BCS era (1998-present). It also is the only religiously affiliated school in that time to compete in the title game.

After decades of declining football returns, this season is the return to glory. And it’s been accomplished with players who are still part of the fabric of everyday campus life.

For too long, the powers in college football have perpetuated the “big lie” that Forde refers to as Notre Dame faltered in the win column.

We’ve talked a bit about GSR all season, and celebrated when we became the first school to hit #1 in both the BCS and GSR rankings. Notre Dame hasn’t just excelled in overall GSR, but also in graduating black male student-athletes in which they rank second at 81%, just two percentage points behind Northwestern (source).

And in comparison to the rest of the BCS top 10 — it’s a complete joke:

School GSR Black Male Student-Athlete Graduation Rate
Notre Dame 97% 81%
Alabama 75% 56%
Florida 75% 34%
Oregon 64% 58%
Kansas State 58% 48%
Stanford 90% 68%
Georgia 69% 53%
LSU 77% 41%
Texas A&M 69% 38%
South Carolina 78% 40%

Then again, when you have schools like Alabama participating in oversigning, it’s rather clear that the only math that matters is how to trim the total number of scholarships on the roster to 85. What’s even sadder is that many media outlets don’t seem to care.

In fact, here’s a piece on ESPN about the nine scholarship seniors on the 2012 Alabama roster. Four of those are redshirt seniors, one senior is a JUCO transfer, and one walk-on was awarded a scholarship, leaving three as true seniors from the recruiting class of 2009, which had 27 members sign a LOI according to Rivals (and yes, that’s already two over the annual limit of 25).

Two members of that same class went to the NFL and eleven more are currently on the roster as redshirt juniors. One more is listed as a sophomore, making him a “grayshirt”, that is, a player that enrolls in the second semester instead of the first. This allows the player’s scholarship to count against the following year’s count of 25 instead of the current year, which is how Alabama can do things like sign 27 players in a single recruiting year.

To recap the math there: 2 (NFL) + 3 (seniors) + 11 (redshirt juniors) + 1 (grayshirt sophomore) = 17 scholarship players still on the roster. That’s a full 10 less than the 27 listed by Rivals or 63% of the class still retained and 10 less kids that found their paid education taken away from them.

Notre Dame doesn’t play this scholarship shell game. Unlike most schools, who treat scholarships as a renewable single year agreement, when a player is awarded a scholarship at ND, it is good for all four years. The only way a scholarship is pulled before that time is if the player decides to leave ND due to the NFL draft or to transfer to another school. For the Irish, a scholarship isn’t just a spot on a roster, but a commitment to the student-athlete that extends to the classroom, a commitment to their future.

And that commitment is the heart of ND “doing it the right way.” It isn’t about Notre Dame being perfect — it never can be. Notre Dame will fail in striving for perfection both on and off the field. People will gleefully write about it, convinced that they have finally proven that ND has indeed finally fallen completely into irrelevance or that they’ve finally sold their soul for football glory.

However, ND will continue to learn from mistakes made, continue to strive to prevent future ones, and above all else, keep that same commitment, the eye on that same prize, that excellence on and off the field isn’t just some big lie.

Former Irish and current Vikings safety Harrison Smith summed it up perfectly:

You’re expected to go to class and not just be a football player. That’s real. It’s going to be hard academically, just like it’s hard academically at a lot of schools. But we’re all just college kids, we’re all playing football, and we’re all going to make mistakes. Notre Dame is not some golden perfect place. It’s a place that tries to do the right thing.

  • Brad

    I am surprised you did not pointedly take a stab at the ridiculous article on Huffington Post by an ND alum who ‘cited’ and ‘quoted’ multiple anonymous sources claiming that another girl was raped. It was a sad, ridiculous article which fits all the categories you mentioned. Its sad to see an ND alum write such a piece of garbage to get some attention for her career.

    I should note that my criticism of that writer is not based upon her believes or views. Its perfectly legitimate for someone to take issues or have a view that ND did not handle some of these situations appropriately. It is especially legitimate for a female alum to have issues with the handling of those affairs. But to do it by writing a hatchet piece citing multiple anonymous sources, friends, and using the general “my friends neighbor totally talked to a guy who knows exactly what went down and he told me all about it” type of argument is intellectually lazy, dishonest, and can only be described as a way for a writer from ND to drum up some cheap webclicks with a lazy article taking advantage of ND’s football success by being a contrarian.

    • NDtex

      I don’t have any particular interest in attacking a certain piece or a writer.

      I am aware though of the author and pieces in question and, of all the problems that I have with them, her reporting of another alleged rape isn’t one of them. If she had enough sources tell her the same story, she has more than enough right to run it.

      Also, be aware that victims of sex crimes are usually kept anonymous. This means that any and all identifying information is kept out of the news and that can definitely include names of people associated with the victim.

  • Blammm

    “ResLife wanted to make examples out of athletes that got in trouble.”

    That might have been the way in the past but certainly isn’t the way it works now. I know of a non-athlete student that was accused of the same thing as the football player. Same fact pattern as the Seeberg case (minus the suicide and football backstory) – drunken consensual kissing goes overboard and the male student touches the chest of the female student above the shirt “without consent.” There was even an eyewitness to the interaction (due to an unexpected walk-in to the dorm room). His ResLife hearing was the typical he said-she said “sexual assault” case before the kangaroo court. In my opinion as an attorney, there was an insufficient case to satisfy even a mere preponderance of the evidence standard. The student was suspended for the remainder of the school year (with the possibility of reinstatement). Nothing happened to the football player (as far as we are aware).

    That’s not to say that I agree with the prescribed punishment. It is clearly disproportionate to the offense. The law’s definition of “sexual assault” as inclusive of almost everything of a non-consensual sexual nature, including groping a breast above the shirt without getting a signed and notarized waiver during a makeout session, does a real disservice to the accused’s right to a fair hearing and a just punishment. The confusing term has led many news outlets to report the event as “rape,” even though the behavior wouldn’t qualify for such a charge if Seeberg’s account was 100% true. It is this immediate branding of the activity as one of the most heinous acts possible that leads to a hesitancy to brings charges in the first place. The law needs to disaggregate “sexual assault” offenses into various, more descriptive offenses to avoid putting the “rapist” stigma on the accused (even though such conduct is well suited for punishment).

    My real issue is with the Seeberg family. They are trying to litigate this in the media and slander the university as much as possible. I’m sure that they know that the player won’t sign a FERPA waiver to discuss the matter because he wants to keep his identity private. Since that won’t happen, the university has to continue to take the beating from the family without the ability to defend itself on even the most basic level. The Seebergs lost before the prosecutor. They lost before ResLife. They know that they can’t prove assault in a civil court due to the hearsay rule and evidentiary standards. They needed an output for their frustration and chose this route. The Sullivans achieved much more progress on making prospective changes by encouraging a dialogue with the university and avoiding the blame game.

    • NDtex

      I’m not really sure how you can blame the Seeberg family for taking the only recourse left to them and, to be quite frank, I think the last time they even spoke to the media for anything significant was the SI piece and that was really superficial at best.

      They didn’t have the benefit of the University truly engaging them in a dialogue like the Sullivan family did, especially in direct contact with Fr. Jenkins. If you read their public statements, that’s really the biggest issue they had with the whole thing.

      In regards to your first example, be aware that the standards of law and the standards of Notre Dame are two different things. Insufficient in a court of law doesn’t mean insufficient for ND. I’m not going to comment further on that case nor am I going to compare it to Seeberg because I’m not aware of all the facts nor who even testified in the hearing and what was said.

      • Blammm

        I didn’t mean to use the legal standard in that sense.

        I don’t think any ND student should be subject to punishment unless it is more likely than not that they are guilty of what they were accused. Otherwise, you run the risk of vindictive or exploitative people creating charges for a whole slew of inappropriate reasons.

        [Mod Edit: I'm removing this part of the comment, see reason below ~ Tex]

        If ResLife wants to lower the standard to something below a preponderance of evidence standard, then they might as well not bother with the hearings because the accuser’s side will always win out every time.

        In regards to the critique of the Seebergs’ handling of the affair, I don’t really know how things could have been done any other way. The ResLife staff isn’t exactly biased in favor of football. They’ve been know to make examples of the players from time to time. Furthermore, the majority of their staff (at least when I was there a short while ago) was female, reducing any concern that these matters weren’t handled with an appreciation of womenhood. Jenkins (a guy who I strongly disagree with more often than not) was right to recuse himself, given the manner in which the case might come before him as the final arbiter of discipline in the university. The remedies imposed by the Feds (a trained resource coordinator, the elimination of a confrontation right, the victim’s right to appeal any decision reached by a campus disciplinary board, and an immediate Title IX investigation to determine whether sexual harassment occurred) probably would not have made a difference here. I think the fact that Seeberg committed suicide changes the gravity of the whole situation and leads people to think with pure emotion as opposed to reason. That fact is irrelevant as to the issue of what punishment should be dispensed to the student athlete. The media was wrong to make this a front page story for the whole nation. If Seeberg’s story was proven true, then the player should have been punished. A review by both the university and the state failed to adequately corroborate that story. There’s no reason why the Seebergs couldn’t have civilly approached this in a productive manner. There was no battle to be won in the media. It was just a smear campaign.

        • .

          “I think the fact that Seeberg committed suicide changes the gravity of the whole situation and leads people to think with pure emotion as opposed to reason.”

          Her death is also the ultimate reason why no resolution can truly come to this case. From my understanding of her accusation, the assault was in the form of touching, which may have been extremely traumatic for her, but doesn’t leave physical evidence. This case essentially then comes down to he said/she said, and those cases are notoriously difficult and rife with gray areas. Then upon her death, the prosecution lost the she said – they lost the ability to have a complaining witness. Since her death was at her own hand, not that of the accused, and since she had never been sworn in to testify, her words legally could not be used in court. Without being able to prove the player’s guilt, the courts – and ND – cannot and should not punish him. Not as long as we ascribe to Blackstone’s formulation: “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

          I understand that the Seeburgs are in pain and that many individuals feel a strong visceral reaction by this case. How could they not? But there was just really nothing else that could have been done after her death. (Now, how things were handled before her death is a separate issue, but one it appears ND is trying to ameliorate.)

          And I say this as a woman who has been through the lovely experience of rape, so I’ve thought about this tragedy with great care and am not simply trying to jingoistically defend my alma mater.

          • Blammm

            Well said! Although I personally haven’t had to deal with that kind of trauma, I have known of three friends who have gone through it (two of which I counseled through the experience and the third of which I didn’t find out about until years later). I treat these matters seriously and with an open mind. I just don’t see how yelling to the media has helped in any way, shape, or form.

            Also, I am not a jingoistic defender of ND either. I still think Kelly should have been fired for the Sullivan tragedy (as I know its the head coach’s call) and a winning record doesn’t change my views on that.

        • NDtex

          Regarding your comment edit: I’m not going to allow anecdotal stories of what happened to a third party based on hearsay to appear on this site, especially when it contains a very sensitive subject matter.

          You are welcome to disagree with me, but please use logical arguments not based in “I heard this happened before”. Your first comment toed that line and your second one went past it. Watch your step, please.

          That being said, I completely disagree with your assessment. I’m not saying ND should ignore the need for evidence, but that the standard of proof isn’t as stringent as a legal proceeding.

          As far as Jenkins recusing himself, I said in the post that I understand why he did, but feel he should’ve realized the pain of a part of the Notre Dame family was worth at least having a sit-down, especially when the father publicly stated that he didn’t expect the DA or disciplinary hearings to go any different than they did.

          And I’m really not sure how you are so certain it was Kelly’s call to send Declan up the lift. In fact, I’ve watched that video team function and they do so practically independent of the coaching staff much like the managers and trainers operate autonomously as well. You can blame him for failing to suggest he come down, but a no doubt “the buck stops here”? I don’t think so.

          • Blammm

            I was much more involved in ND football than you are aware so don’t immediately discredit my knowledge of the inner workings of ND football. Although I never worked with Kelly, I know pretty much all the support staff that were holdovers from the Weis era and I assume that they follow the same procedure for making practice decisions. These employees don’t think in an independent manner. They do as they are told in order to keep their jobs. Coaches did regularly dress down the video crew for not taping at the right vertical and horizontal angle. Just because you didn’t see the coaches instructing the staff on the field at practice doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. There is a regularly executed, albeit informal procedure for making a decision about whether to practice indoors in the event of bad weather. Given that the head coach always makes the call in these situations, I am confident that Kelly instructed them to practice outside. Do you really think no one recognized the threat? I remember that storm vividly. I cancelled my planned run because the headwinds were so strong that I knew that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. If someone, say Klunder or Collins, did recognize the threat, do you think that they would second guess Kelly’s decision? Furthermore, I find the fact that no one took the fall for the decision to have the video crew go up and stay up there in high winds to be a rather candid admission of who is directly responsible.

          • NDtex

            @Blammm

            “…and I assume that they follow the same procedure for making practice decisions.”

            So you state you are making assumptions and then spend the rest of your comment talking as if it is a fact. The coaching staff dresses people down all the time, that’s normal. That doesn’t mean they are in charge of every group.

            If I screwed up continuously as a manager, the coaching staff would surely complain, but it wouldn’t be their decision to dismiss me. That would come from the staff within the manager group. Sure, such a decision can be influenced by the coaching staff, but it isn’t their call.

            By the way, Klunder and Collins work directly under Kelly, using them as an example of how every other group works is very poor.

            The issue in the Declan case was two-fold: there was no official chain of command between each group and as, Terry pointed out below, there wasn’t a safety rep in place to specifically have authority to overrule anyone.

            So what you are left with is several autonomous groups trying to work together as best they can to run everything smoothly and assist the coaching staff. That is a very, VERY poor way to run anything and was easily the biggest issue I had during my time as a student manager.

            For someone that started out commenting here that ResLife was using a poor standard of evidence, I find it hilarious that you have been able to basically determine that Kelly was guilty purely by the same standard. And for someone that is a lawyer, I find it doubly hilarious that you don’t see that anyone being forced to fall on a sword would’ve had immediate grounds for a lawsuit. You can’t fire someone who had no specific outlined responsibility for safety whether it’s Kelly or the guy in charge of the AV team.

            Now had, say either Declan had refused to go up in the lift or had his supervisor refused to allow him to AND THEN Kelly demanded he get up there, yeah, can his ass. But that didn’t happen.

            No one, and I repeat, NO ONE took the time to consider “hey this is dangerous, we should reconsider this plan of action.” While I credited Weis in the post I linked for making sure the manager staff got jackets while we were freezing our asses off, nearly half the practice passed before he did anything about it. And this is while we were actively complaining! Say, I contracted pneumonia before I got the jacket and I had complications with my asthma and died — would Weis be to blame for not noticing sooner? I don’t think so.

            Declan’s death was an institutional failing by the ENTIRE University for having zero safety net planning for staff during practices, leading to everyone ignoring the potential danger and just going about their business. And let’s not forget, an independent organization came to that very same conclusion (hey look, EVIDENCE!). Looking for a specific person to be fired is simply looking for a scapegoat.

    • Mark G.

      The law’s definition of sexual assault in Indiana is an unwanted touching made for sexual gratification involoving the use of force or threat of force. Under this definition and unwanted sexual touching is not, in and of itself, a crime. Without the use of force or threat of force, it is not sexual assault. It may be something else – like civil assualt – and it may be crude and rude, but it is not the serious crime of sexual assault.

      This is one reason Dvorak cited for not bringing criminal charges. Ms. Seeburg’s statements on their face, even if true, did not state a crime. She did not allege the use of force or threat of force. Being scared does not mean that there was force or threat of force.

      Of course, Res Life has its own standards, which do not look to criminal standards. Right or wrong, they can (and have) applied lower standards to impose punishments.

  • Terry

    All in all a good piece.

    The Declan Sullivan case. I worked as a union laborer for 36 years and 3 of them were spent in South Bend. I spent some time on scissor-lifts both in South Bend and other places, so I know they are scary and I can only imagine how scary they are when you’re 35 or 40 feet up. As for how scary they can be when you’re 40 feet up and the wind is blowing – I never found that out for the simple reason that if those were the conditions outside and the lifts were to be used outside – I would NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO GO UP. There was always a safety man on the job and there was my craft steward, either of whom had the authority to say that. Plus I could simply refuse and they would be there to back me up.

    Declan Sullivan had no such safety net.

    Notre Dame stated in its report that there was no one person who could be held responsible for the tragedy. Correct as far as it goes, but what it does NOT say is this – There was no one person who had the authority to say – “It’s too dangerous. No one goes up today.” When you are dealing with 20 year old kids who think they’re going to live forever and who also realize that they need to work to help their folks pay their tuition they are not likely to refuse to go up. I am NOT stating that he was threatened, but I AM saying that there should have been someone there with the authority to say “It’s ok kid – it’s too dangerous to go up today. Don’t worry about your job.” The fact that there was NOT such a person there is to me the crux of the matter. I believe that the University’s lawyers would agree with me, but of course that is just my opinion.

  • http://www.ndnation.com irishize

    Notre Dame’s Principles And Urban Meyer

    Sometimes it is said that ND blew the Urban Meyer hire; however, the opposite is true. By all accounts, when Meyer interviewed for the ND job after Willingham’s departure, the dealbreaker was that ND wouldn’t go along with Meyer’s request for more leniency in admitting recruits. The failure of the hire was on Meyer because ND stuck to their policy of “doing it the right way.”
    Meyer went to Florida where he knew recruiting would have fewer barriers. In addition, he became the greatest poacher of verbally committed recruits to ND. One thing is indisputable–Meyer is a great coach. So without the recruiting obstacles and ResLife discipline that he would have had at ND, Meyer went into orbit, winning two national championships and having a Heisman winner to boot.
    After this success had occurred, Meyer made a great mistake in an interview–he told the truth. He admitted that ND was his “dream job.” How funny it was to see him realize that he “goofed” and go into the damage control mode. He swore his love for Florida and promised that he would be there for many years. A year later he left Florida complaining of mental stress and depression. Is it Urban Meyer or Urbane Liar we are talking about?
    Apparently, he was miraculously healed after he spent a year in the broadcasting booth, but it was still the same old Urban, hooking up with a new rogue football factory that was on suspension. But give the devil his due–the guy can coach. 12-0 in the first season isn’t bad.
    Finally, Urban must view ND’s recent success with great ambivalence. Kelly could do it, certainly he could have, too. Because the fact is that ND is really Urban’s dream job, but he just didn’t want to do it the right way–ND’s way. If ND agreed to Meyer’s original requests and hired him, we would have several national championships by now, but ND would truly have sold its soul for football success.