First, Do No Harm

An Athletic Director at Notre Dame must, above all else, protect the legacy he represents. His first job is “Don’t Screw It Up.” Notre Dame football is as healthy as it’s ever been. In fact, it’s the easiest of legacies to maintain. Hire a good coach, support him athletically and academically and schedule a diverse and competitive slate that ensures Notre Dame plays in high profile games across the country. The rest magically falls into place. All of this talk about a Jumbotron (White is still forcefully pushing for this) and re-engineering the schedule is about treating symptoms for a self-induced illness that doesn’t exist when Notre Dame football is healthy.

Here’s what happened: For lack of an understanding of tradition, we hired two bad coaches. For lack of a good coach, a team suffered. For lack of a good team, Notre Dame football suffered on the field. For lack of performance, Notre Dame lost perceived bargaining power. For lack of perceived bargaining power, Notre Dame negotiated the last BCS deal as if we were lucky to just be apart of it. For lack of future BCS money (and understandable alumni fallout) our AD starts thinking about how to “generate other revenue.”

Notre Dame doesn’t need to “maximize revenue,” it needs to not hurt what it already has and the rest will come. Maximizing revenue strategies are short-sighted.

Notre Dame is not for padding a strategic business resume, it’s about protecting the legacy you’ve been entrusted to protect. CJC wrote:

“Holding the job should not immunize somebody from criticism from his
constituents. In fact, being athletic director (or University president) is not
really a job, it’s a trust. And anyone who thinks he doesn’t or shouldn’t answer
to Notre Dame alumni is not fit to hold that trust.”

Here’s Andy Cross’s take on scheduling:

“It’s the second most important job and ND AD has to do, apart from hiring the football coach. It is, at its essence, the stewardship of ND’s hard-earned legacy.

People of good faith can debate how difficult the schedule should be. I tend to think 4 marquee games is a challenge worthy of ND. Others think 3 should suffice. Let’s table that argument. All likely agree that the schedule needs to be better balanced and sequenced. Let’s table those issues too.

I suggest that we should address other issues, about which there should be universal agreement, and regarding which White has proven to be an unworthy and misguided steward.

White’s problem is that he views the schedule as a tool to maximize revenue.

To further this end, he:

(1) is moving to limit away games (defined as playing at another school’s campus) to four out of twelve;

(2) is refusing to entertain home and home offers from marquee programs and
other programs from power conferences (defined as any conference besides the
Big East, UNR’s conference, and the MAC), and giving them a take it or leave
it “play at ND only and like it”; and

(3) ruining a good “barnstorming” idea by limiting it to teams who suck. I can only imagine the shiteous matchups to which we can look forward. Tulane in New Orleans. Connecticut in Boston. Villanova in Pittsburgh. Perhaps there will be no geographic or logical connection between the opponent, and we will play, say, Baylor in Chicago.

This revenue whoring as a scheduling principle will inevitably diminish ND’s football program. It also should offend in ND alumni a basic sense of fair play. It’s one thing to have our own TV contract because we can. It’s another thing to play only 4 away games when most will play 5 or 6. If it offends me, it will offend the media and our peers. I don’t give a shit whether OSU or other teams do the same thing. We’re above that.

Plainly and simply, White can’t be trusted with the schedule. ND alumni need to challenge him on these issues before he inks MAC teams because teams from power conferences refuse his take it or leave it demands for home-only games.

The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstates, nor can the immediacy of the threat. I suggest finding consensus on the following:

1. We should alternate between playing six and 7 games at ND every year. Where we play 6, we should play a game at a neutral site against quality competition.

2. We should play at least 5 games at the stadium of our oppenents every year. This promotes a level playing field and is simply equitable.

3. We should not play MAC or directional teams. Ever. No exceptions. Ad

4. There should never be another November like this November, when we
play 4 cupcakes in a row to finish the season. This was done because White
slotted Duke instead of a quality opponent, likley because they were the only
ones who would accept a one-off game.

5. We should advise MSU and P-U that if they wish the respective series to continue, they will need to show some flexibility in the timing of those games.

6. We should tell the Big Least commissioner that we will commit only to playing a minimum of 2 games against Big East teams per year, with an occasional third game if we can work it out. We should reserve the right to determine which Big Least team we will play.

7. We should strive to play games as often as possible against at least one power conference’s member every year aside from the Pac 10 and Big 10. The SEC, Big 12 and to a lesser extent the ACC should be on our schedule every year. “

And ndoldtown’s take on why alumni should be heard and not dismissed by those who have another agenda:

“When people cringe that their alma mater might put up a jumbotron in Notre Dame Stadium because the AD says it will promote more “revenue streams”, I’ll be there. When people weep at the extension of the contract of a coach like Bob Davie, I’ll be there. When ND is poorer and hungrier after an incompetent AD negotiates away millions in BCS money because he didnt have any guts, I’ll be there. When ND gets beaten and bloodied by the press and silence emanates from the people responsible for setting the record straight, I’ll be there. When the responsible officer has no succession plan or idea in place upon the firing of a coach who he knew he was going to fire for three months, I’ll be there. When real members of the Notre Dame family sit stunned at the athletic administration’s “moment of silence” in the Stadium built by Knute Rockne, for one of the most foul and bigotted Notre Dame haters since Fielding Yost, while at the same time ignoring the death of one of its own students, I’ll be there. Because I’m the people, Bill – the Notre Dame people.

The people who went to Notre Dame, who care about Notre Dame, who pay money to Notre Dame because we care. And while our demanding and uncompromising presence might jar you, make you uncomfortable and otherwise ruin the pale, anemic, lace curtain Irish tea party you and your ilk think Notre Dame should be, you’ll just have to put up with us saying when mercenary clowns like White are wrong and putting the actual interests of the University ahead of your desire that we all get along and defer to whatever rube is in an adminsitrative position, like a bunch of real estate salesman-blazer-wearing phonies such as your hero White.

Because we’re not going anywhere. And we will be here long after White has gone on to his next athletic bureaucratic job at some land-grant monstrosity or mega-conference, confiding to his friends how difficult Notre Dame people were. “


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: