This weekend, Notre Dame Seniors will enter the Stadium where they never saw their team lose this season. But they won’t be cheering for just another football victory. They’ll be cheering for a far more important victory – their own graduation. Keep in mind: football is a nice touch, but our whole purpose here is the education that culminates in graduation. And that’s why more of our football players graduate here than anywhere else (and by “more” I mean very nearly every single one of them). So it is fitting that victory be laid on top of victory by conferring degrees in the 360 degree arena of triumph known as Notre Dame Stadium…until they change it…again.
I know change doesn’t go down well here. It never has. But somewhere there seems to be written a list of things that can never change because of that equally elusive value called tradition. I will now shatter a few ill-conceived, though perhaps cherished, notions about change and tradition with respect to things on this campus. Shall we start at the beginning – yes, we shall.
My Log Cabin. These days, that ramshackle old hovel where I sheltered from the blinding (literally) winter of 1842, is reverently called the Log Chapel. Sure, we made it a chapel, after we built a suitable, modern building. Believe me, there’s nothing that can’t be turned into a chapel, and no building is complete without one. But the cabin was not my creation; it came with the property…and there was a reason Steve Badin was only too happy to be rid of all of it. So every time you genuflect going by the cabin-chapel, remember that it’s an outbuilding I moved out of as soon as I could. Oh, and it’s not real. The original Log Cabin burned down, just like so many things here. What you’re looking at is a replica.
My Old College. That’s what it’s called now. When I built it is was just The College, whole, entire, and complete. It was basic, utilitarian, and constructed with absolutely no eye toward architectural beauty. And it shows. It probably should have been torn down at some point for the sake of reusing the bricks in something better. But it’s built like a brick sh outhouse, so there was no sense in getting rid of a perfectly serviceable building. Still, I’m sure the lads who live in it now would agree with the outhouse analogy on more levels than one. Its floors slope at various angles in every direction; the doorways are low and trapezoidal; and it creaks and groans like a tramp steamer hung up on a rocky shoal. Yes, our little carbuncle called Old College is what Notre Dame originally looked like. How do you feel about change now?
My Sacred Heart. Well, it’s Jesus’ Sacred Heart, but my church. Again, not the original. Check the cornerstone – it says 1871. Did you think I had no church between 1842 and 1871? And the Lady Chapel is an addition. When The BVM says She wants a place of Her own, you build it, even if you have to add it onto the back.
My Main Building. Everyone knows it’s not the original. It’s actually the third. Like it? Most people do. But it didn’t come with a Dome. That wasn’t added until three years later. And it wasn’t Golden until three years after that. Again, when The BVM says She wants a giant gold footstool, you do it. Remember, too, that the Main Building was offices, classrooms, dining hall, and dormitories all in one. Change is a blessed thing when you can move a horde of raucous and pungent college lads out of your office. Which brings me to…
My Hall. The luxuries I gave my lads! A standalone dormitory with private rooms! I had already given them electric lights – first college in the country using that exciting modern science (really, I’d do anything to get away from open flames). But My Hall, which now thinks it’s a college…fine…does not appear in its original form. The wings are later additions so we could pack more bodies in there. And the porch came even later than that. The porch was built onto the front to prevent the lads from dumping buckets of water out the upper windows and onto unsuspecting victims entering through the main doors. No joke.
The list could go on; but let’s focus on the thing at hand – the Stadium. Built in a rush (as so many of our building have been) it was elegant in its own way. But just ask my esteemed successor Ted Hesburgh and he’ll tell you the Stadium was unpopular just 30 years after its opening, by which time it was considered antiquated, undersized, and crude. Ted considered demolition and reconstruction (a fire is much cheaper), but he had priorities: First a Library, and then Ned Joyce’s sports big-top. So the Stadium survived until it was encased in a concrete shell that can never be called elegant in any way.
Onto the Stadium we now want to add offices, classrooms, dining facilities, and something called “luxury boxes” which is precisely what I called the private sleeping rooms in Sorin Hall when we built that. So it will be just like the Main Building was originally. We are returning to tradition! But traditionalists aren’t happy because at Notre Dame there is a pervasive confusion between “custom” and “tradition.”
Custom is the way things are generally done, and have been done for a while. Tradition is a collection of customs that have been handed on from generation to generation and age to age, so that they have become freighted with deep, symbolic meaning. Customs change; traditions endure. Anything that changes over time is, therefore, a custom. Something that has never changed is a tradition. And there are no such things as new or recent traditions – unless you’re talking about oxymorons.
Furthermore, we’re talking about THINGS here. Buildings are things, and things cannot be traditions. They can be old or beautiful or relatively unchanged for many years. But they’re still just things, and we do not place inordinate value in things. I was upset when my second Main Building burned – but I built a better one. And then I installed electricity. And recently, they entirely rebuilt the interior. That sort of change is called progress. This place started with someone else’s log cabin – but look at it now! Since it’s summer, we’re going to build even more buildings that I never thought of. So I suppose you could say it’s a custom at Notre Dame to preserve its older buildings; but one of our most cherished traditions is progress.
Do what you want to the Stadium. It was already changed once. And it’s just a thing. Victory is a tradition. We have preserved that tradition on Cartier Field and in Rockne’s original and into the current Stadium-within-a-stadium. But the greater victory, the tradition of graduation, we have preserved even longer…on the Main Quadrangle, in Washington Hall, in the Fieldhouse now gone, in the Stadium, on the South Quadrangle, in the Joyce Center, and back in the Stadium again. The location is just a custom; the graduation is a tradition – and a glorious achievement. Congratulations, Seniors! And be prepared: Notre Dame will have changed by the time you come back. It always does.
So let’s see how this class is doing compared to last years class at the same time. Needs for each year are different. Scholarship numbers change; however, by looking at the quantity and quality of the recruits we can get a better idea of how this class is shaping up.
So in May of 2012 where did we stand?
Well we had 12 verbal commitments. Eight 4 star recruits, and four 3 star recruits. We hit the Offensive side of the ball early, in particular the line. Five of twelve were OL, with two more being TEs. Our lone QB, 2 WRs round out the offensive side of these recruits. The only defensive recruits were a pair of defensive backs.
With the offensive line and defensive backfield being the primary concerns in 2012 most of the holes were filled early.
12 commits with a 3.67 star average, 10 Offensive, 2 Defensive.
What does May of 2013 look like?
We’ve got 9 verbal commitments. One is a 5 star recruit, five are 4 stars and three 3 stars. Again, it seems offensive early and often with a target on the line. Three lineman, a TE, RB, and a WR. Only three defensive prospects, a LB as well as two very welcome additions to our burgeoning stock of elite defensive lineman.
This year we had less holes to fill than in 2012, and no real area that is a glaring need. The areas of need include TE, OL, and maybe DL if you had to choose them. The needs again seemed to have been addressed early.
9 commits with a 3.78 star average. 6 Offensive, 3 Defensive.
There are some interesting similarities to these classes. 2012′s class ended up with 24 players, meaning half of the players were already in the fold at this time. Due to scholarship restrictions I believe this next class of 2013 may only have around 18 players, and maybe less depending on who leaves or stays with the program for various reasons. So it seems the target for the staff is to be half way home in May.
Both classes went after the offensive side of the ball early, in particular the lineman. A deep, experienced line that keeps reloading is the hallmark of a great program. This is true on both sides of the ball. It seems that this staff understands that and has addressed lack of depth on the offensive lines the past two recruiting cycles as early as possible. While in 2012 we didn’t have much on the defensive line early, we already have 2 commits for 2013. It looks like the area of emphasis early in cycles for this staff is the line, and I for one wholeheartedly support this, as games are won and lost in the trenches. (see-all of last year)
2012′s IrishMob13 demonstrated what I’d call the most visual impact of the “twitter era” on recruiting I’ve seen. I’m not sure if the coaches had much to do with this (they may have after the Tee Shepard/Deontay Greenberry debacle) but the way the previous class stuck together, as well as recruited each other seemed to be unique. As communication has become easier, it is interesting to see how this impacts recruiting. Maybe this has gone on to this extent before, only it was next to impossible to see unless you were in the all star camps.
This year’s “GoldenArmy14″ is beginning to do the same. As mentioned by Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish Elijah Hood in particular has begun to recruit. This is a good sign about the strength of his commitment as well as the ability of the staff to sell a recruit. After a few de-commitments and transfers of elite prospects in early years, the coaches seemed to have reined in all of those issues. When you convince a recruit to not only commit, but to preach his convictions to other elite kids making the same type of decision then you are doing something very well.
Last year’s recruiting class was one of the best in the country. In recent recruiting history we’ve had trouble, or been perceived to have trouble landing big defensive difference making recruits. That idea has been slowly laid to rest after we’ve consistently grabbed top tier defensive recruits, with last years class of Jaylon Smith, Max Redfield, and Eddie Vanderdoes perhaps being the most star studded defensively in a very long time.
So where do we stand? I’d say with respect to last year we stand in about exactly the same place, with slightly better talent. However, this year we’ve got less holes to fill. As we move forward in this cycle it will be interesting to see not only how many recruits we get, but the overall quality. I believe if we do well we will see an equally or more impressive class than last year. We may also strike out going after elite talent and not fill up the class. The way things have been going leads me to believe the former is more likely.
So Brady Hoke had a luncheon in Grand Rapids and decided to voice his displeasure over Notre Dame cancelling the Michigan series. More precisely, he claimed the Irish were “chickening out” of the series, much to the delight of the audience.
Hoke’s insertion of his foot into his mouth is simply begging for
analysis ridicule as is this entire article, so let’s just get to it.
Brady Hoke has long trumpeted Michigan’s three primary rivalries against Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Hoke is now entering his third season as the Skunkbears’ head coach. How does one “long trumpet” anything when they haven’t even eclipsed Ty Willingham’s tenure at ND?
If two years is a long period of time for Michigan, I think I understand why some rather obvious history is soon to be forgotten.
But now he’s losing one of them, at least for a time. And he’s clearly not happy about it.
“The Notre Dame game, that rivalry, which they’re chickening out of,” Hoke said Monday during the West Michigan Sports Commission Annual Luncheon at the J.W. Marriott in Grand Rapids.
The remark drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
Ok, fair enough, he’s angry, playing to a home crowd. Let’s see how he justifies this…
“They’re still gonna play Michigan State, they’re gonna play Purdue, but they don’t want to play Michigan”
Well, yeah, we are trying to, but that isn’t exactly certain right now.
You see, Hoke, your B1G commissioner decided to do this whole nine conference game thing that is kinda screwing up everyone’s schedule. Combine that with ND’s new ACC scheduling agreement and, surprise, there are some issues.
Want to know why we are trying to work around that with Sparty and Purdue? Some history for you, long trumpeter: Notre Dame and Michigan State have played 75 times, and only took 1995 and 1996 off since 1948. Notre Dame and Purdue have played 84 times, uninterrupted since 1946.
But Michigan? Oh, we’ll get to that in a bit.
Spoiler alert: Michigan has been a pain in the ass.
“I don’t know how they made that decision…
I don’t either, there is totally no history behind why we might decide to give Michigan the finger. NOPE, NONE AT ALL.
… I really do …
Hoke had to have done a shot mid-sentence or something. Or no one has the complete quote…you know what, I like my first idea better. Go home, Hoke, you’re drunk.
But anyway, that’s a great national rivalry game. It’s a great game.”
I’d argue it’s a regional rivalry, and really, I have a hard time saying it’s a rivalry because, let’s be honest, we both hate each other and each consider another school a bigger rival.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of just what this series means to you and why all of us under the Dome are running away scared. I’m sure your beat writer will help you out…
Michigan has played Notre Dame 40 times, including every season since 2002.
..or maybe he’ll prove my point for me.
Michigan has treated us to three separate gaps in the past. After the 1909 game, we didn’t play Michigan again until 1942. After 1943, we didn’t face off again until 1978. Finally, we had a smaller two year gap between the 1999 and 2002 contests.
That’s 70 years total of scheduling gaps if you are keeping score at home. Or, to put it another way, Michigan has avoided playing Notre Dame for 56% of our 125 year football existence.
But man, uninterrupted since 2002 after these Michigan scheduling disruptions. How dare we.
But the Irish last year cancelled their games against Michigan from 2015-17, as they make the move to a scheduling alliance with the ACC.
ND, the dastardly villain, ditching the history of the Michigan series, chickening out for their new ACC friends.
The rivalry already was scheduled to take a two-year hiatus in 2018-19.
Small addendum: Michigan did that. That brings to the total to four different occasions in which Michigan, not Notre Dame, messed with the scheduling of the series.
Here’s the kicker: all Notre Dame has done so far is cancel two games — the exact same amount that Michigan already canned. But yeah, go ahead and blame us for chickening out on the whole thing. Solid logic there.
So, Michigan will host Notre Dame for the final time — at least, for the foreseeable future…
Now we’ve entered WWE-style promotion/hyberbole: “THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN…”
“…UNTIL IT HAPPENS AGAIN!”
– in prime time this year, then conclude the series next year in South Bend.
Notre Dame: chickening out…three years in the future.
The teams had been operating under a three-year rolling contract — meaning, either program could cancel the series with three games’ notice. Notre Dame served Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon with that notice in the moments leading up to kickoff of last year’s game at Notre Dame Stadium.
You mean to tell me Swarbrick did something within the terms of the contract? Man, we are truly awful.
Michigan State and Purdue are scheduled to continue their rivalries with Notre Dame, at least for now. Although, the Big Ten’s new nine-game schedule, and Notre Dame’s ties to the ACC, could also make those games more difficult to play.
And we’ve now come full circle. The B1G and ACC scheduling restrictions could make the MSU and Purdue series difficult to continue.
But the Michigan series? NOPE NO POSSIBLE ISSUES, CHICKENING OUT.
In conclusion, to Hoke and any other Michigan fan pissed off about this:
When we shared the news of Asaph Schwapp’s death, the Notre Dame family, as expected, was asking if there was anything additional we could do. Today, thanks to the Notre Dame Football Facebook page, we have learned that there is indeed ways we can help.
Firstly, memorial services have been announced for tomorrow at the Cameron Funeral Home in Hartford Connecticut. Visitation begins at 9am with his service starting at 11am (all times ET). According to the Facebook post, the service will also be streamed online. There is also an online guestbook at the same site to share your condolences.
Donations can also be made in Ace’s honor to two different charities:
Asaph D. Schwapp Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Windsor Federal Savings
250 Broad St.
Windsor, CT 06095
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Connecticut Chapter
372 Danbury Rd. Suite 200
Wilton, CT 06897
HLS will certainty be involved in some fashion, but I am going to brainstorm a bit with the rest of our staff first. We will announce our plans soon.
Send three volleys of cheers on high for our Seniors! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hooray! As final exams end today, so begins your last week at Notre Dame. Be proud. Be gracious. Be generous. Be humble. But above all, be happy! For you have achieved something great. And you have achieved it together. When you arrived here as a herd of freshmen in 2009, did you think that in your Senior year you would see your classmates lead your football team to an undefeated season and a #1 ranking? Probably not. And so you have learned something – you have learned to believe. You see, we use football not just as a diversion, we use it as a teaching device. That’s the only way to be #1 on the field and #1 where we are now…graduation.
What, then, did you learn on the field and in the stands over the past four years? You learned that the only way to achieve victory is through very hard work, every single time. You learned that success is not instant – it is gradual and it requires both dedication and change. And you learned that to any goal which you ardently desire, you must devote your intelligence, your courage, and your strength.
In the classroom, which you have occupied far longer than the Stadium, and which you have shared not just with your classmates from the football team, but from every one of our tremendously successful teams, you have learned to think and to reason, to calculate and to deduce. In the classroom you learned to use your mind; in the stadiums and arenas, you learned to use your heart. And that is why, when you graduate, you wear a mortarboard on your head and a black robe across your chest. You are clothed in the uniform of achievement and victory.
But this cap-and-gown is really the Shamrock Series uniform of your life – it’s pretty funny looking, it’s comprised of a combination of odd colors, and you only wear it once. It also leaves out something essential…it leaves out your hands. You’ve learned to use your intelligence and your courage, your mind and your heart. But what about your strength? That’s in your hands. Hands that will write, compose, and design; hands that will care, heal, and cure; hands that will instruct, admonish, and encourage; hands that will pile up treasures and give away gifts; hands that will hold your children or be anointed with the oils of holy orders.
And it is onto your hand that is placed the most important symbol of Notre Dame graduation: The Ring. A beautiful ring that at graduation is taken off, flipped around, and put back on for the rest of your life. Our Lady’s Golden Dome on one side; Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope on the other; sprinkled throughout with the Irish symbol of blessing, the shamrock. It is not a symbol of graduation – it is a symbol of life.
Whenever you have the chance, look at the ring of an older alumnus. It is nicked and dinged, and there are chips missing here and there. So, too, will your life be marked by tests and trials, failures and losses. But these blemishes do not diminish the overall beauty of the ring; they make the ring unique to the wearer. And neither will these travails diminish the overwhelming beauty of your life; they will make it your life.
Whenever you have the chance, look at the ring of an ancient alumnus. It has been made smooth by age and years of hard wearing. All the sharp features are gone, along with all the scratches and scars, and it shines brightly all over. Let that happen to your life, too.
Make no mistake, your hands haven’t spent all of the last four years bent to work or folded in prayer. Your hands have caught footballs on the quad and held beer cans at parties. Your hands have clapped when your teams have won and when your friends have made fools of themselves in ridiculous situations. Your hands have stashed things in pockets, and executed pranks and dirty tricks. Your ring doesn’t somehow consecrate all these exploits, but it reminds you of all these good times that you’ve enjoyed under the Dome etched in its side – and in your hearts forever.
When you arrived here as a herd of freshmen in 2009, we said, “Welcome to Notre Dame!” As you graduate in 2013, we say, “Welcome to your lives!” No matter where you’re going, whether it’s across the country or around the world, you won’t be far. Because this place will always be here. And a good part of you will always be here…forever.