I’m not exactly sure where to start with this, so bear with me, as I may be a little all over the place with this article today. I know there are quite a few people who do not share my opinion, but on the flip side, I also know quite a few people who do share my opinion.
And that being said, the following is my opinion. It is not right, it is not wrong, it is merely my observation of the current state of Notre Dame football. If you look at the definition of an opinion, it cannot be right or wrong, … Opinion: (noun) a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
I would like to revisit a few of the things that have been told to me in the past 24 hours, and simply give my thoughts, comments, and opinions on them. You don’t have to agree with me. In fact, I am totally okay with you having your own opinion (as you should), with you sticking to your guns regarding said opinion, and I am also totally okay with the fact that we may never be on the same page. What a boring world it would be if we all agreed on everything!
A little about me, to possibly help you understand where I’m coming from. I am a legacy. My dad graduated from Notre Dame in 1965, and I graduated from Notre Dame in 1993. While I did not play varsity athletics at Notre Dame, I did play interhall football and softball for my dorm. My interhall football team won the championship, and I have a letter jacket that looks identical to the one for football players received in my day.
Through my (book writing) research, I have learned a lot about Notre Dame and its thoughts on athletics, academics, faith, and how all three are intertwined at the University.
A great deal of what I know about Notre Dame, football, and Notre Dame football comes from this gentleman. When you read “God, Country, Notre Dame” over the basilica doors, that’s also this gentleman. A Notre Dame man, served in the Navy, and the best dad a girl could ever have. And yes, it’s because of him that I’m ridiculously proud this 9-3 Notre Dame team, because we know that those student-athletes are playing football at Notre Dame for the 40 year decision… not the 4 year decision.
Yes, you heard me right. I am proud of this 9-3 (potentially 10-3) Notre Dame football team. I am also happy with what head coach Brian Kelly has done this year. He took a 4-8 team, made the necessary staff changes, and turned these kids into competitors. Are they “there” yet? No. Are they on their way? Yep. Are we ready to beat some of the SEC powerhouse schools yet? No. But should we fire Brian Kelly? No.
So here’s the thing with me. I love my school. I love all facets of my school. Yes, I love football, but I also love everything I learned at Notre Dame, and that includes academics and the development of my faith. Without all three of those things, my time at Notre Dame would not have been a “Notre Dame experience.” It takes all three of those pieces to make Notre Dame what it is. So when I hear some of the things that I’ve heard in the past several days, it makes me sad that people don’t know the Notre Dame that I know and love.
The following quotes are going to remain anonymous, as I don’t want to call out any individuals, but all the same I’m pretty tired of being told my opinion is wrong. Nope, I’m not a fragile flower, but honestly, it does get old.
Here we go. In response to my asking who we should hire to replace BK:
- Urban. Give him all the money he wants and please LOWER academic standards!!
- Do you know the game of football or just write books? When has 9 wins ever been okay at ND? Kelly is sub par and will never win us a title. We need kids who want to win and have the athletic ability. We miss out on so many kids because they get Cs.
- I don’t give a $h!t about academics, academics isn’t why I watch football. ND owes the fans and the University better football than this bad to mediocrity program I’ve been witnessing past 25 yrs. Ridiculous already. If it weren’t for football, the University wouldn’t be what it is. The football program deserves better. Lisa, your holier than thou demeanor is why people can’t stand ND, it’s gross and off-putting. Kid’s going to OSU and Bama etc, are still getting a college degree but also have winning/dominate football programs. Meanwhile, ND has become the laughing-stock of college football.
Okay, first let me address the above comments. In my opinion, Notre Dame will never relax academic standards to the extent that many fans want them to. They may give athletes a little more breathing room, but at the end of the day, the reason they are called student-athletes is because they are students first, and athletes second. Also, Notre Dame doesn’t owe the fans anything, however, they do owe each and every one of those kids a top-notch education; that’s what they are in college for. Football just happens to be an added bonus.
I love the comment “do you know the game of football or just write books?” The question is so ironic to me. I love Notre Dame and ND football so much, that I chose to write books about it. I may not know the Xs and Os of football as much as a coach or player does, but I do think I know a thing or two about the game of football, and I love Notre Dame football with every ounce of my being, and want nothing more than to see the program be successful. But not at the expense of academics.
Okay, here are a few more comments I’ve received as of late.
- Football put ND on the map and stirred a subway following stung by a WASP America. ND is excellence not mediocrity. It’s embarrassing to view this product. Those 40 yr kids deserve better
- The fact he had a chance after 4-8 is the problem in the first place. You people are the problem.
- Yeah b/c obviously altering academics would help. ND is ND b/c of football not academics despite what some of you think. Football drives in the money. No one is paying thousands of dollars to watch a PowerPoint. The only way to wake up the echoes is to shut up the nerds.
- Don’t bitch about academics slipping in 30 years when ND’s a $h!t hole compared to what it is now. You are literally the problem.
- Not when your opinions are wrong. They’ve been trying to do it your way for years and look where we are. People want to make the comparison to Stanford but Stanford isn’t the goal. Who wants to be like them? Aspiring to be like them is the mistake.
- 9-3 may be good to you but the loyal subway alumni, us Irish Catholics that have put up with 8-4, 9-3, 7-5, 4-8 for the last 30, yes 30 years are tired, and we make the program go. Rockne knew this. If u keep BK go to the MAC we can win there.
And now to address these comments. In my opinion, I think the 40 years that these kids are getting for their 4 years at Notre Dame will be filled with world-class opportunities. I also am very aware of the fact that very few ND football players, or college football players in general, make it in the NFL; so that paper they carry with them into life, with Notre Dame written across the top, is invaluable. I don’t think Notre Dame football is embarrassing. I don’t think that shutting up the nerds will wake up the echoes. And I don’t think Notre Dame is in a spiral of decline because Brian Kelly hasn’t won a national championship.
Now of course, these are just a small sampling of the things I’ve heard in the past few days. Yes, some of the arguments have been intelligent, and some of the conversations have been civil, and I encourage for those conversations to continue. But let’s be respectful of one another, appreciate all of the differing opinions, and keep in mind that at the end of the day, these football players are just kids.
Okay, I’ve rambled on way too long. What do you think? Am I totally off base? Can you enlighten me and tell me why I am wrong? I want to hear it. Lets keep cultivating a respectful, civil conversation, and of course … GO IRISH!
P.S. If I don’t respond to your comments right away, I’m not ignoring you … things are just crazy busy at work and I’ll respond as soon as I can!