Scheduling a Legacy

As Jay pointed out in the Blue-Gray Sky blog, words are not matching actions in the Notre Dame Athletic Department.

“I think over time we’ve really begun to behave like a wannabe conference member,” White said. “I think it was real important for us to go back to our roots and behave more like an independent — go back to the coach Rockne barnstorming era if you will.”

But that’s not what’s happening. The new 7-4-1 mandate strikes many who follow Notre Dame football as absurd, because it begs the questions “whose mandate is it and whose interest is this mandate in?”

Is it in the interest of the fans? Decidedly no. Unless you think just getting more people in the door to watch crappy games is in the interest of fans. This is the “we’re giving more people a chance to have the Disney, I mean, Notre Dame experience” argument.

Is it in the interest of the Notre Dame legacy? Decidedly no.

Is it in the interest of the pursuit of the national championship? That’s an open question. Could help, could hurt depending upon how things unfold. It will make for less losses, but also more ridicule.

Is it in the interest of generating money? Decidedly yes.

Where exactly did this mandate originate and what went into the decision? Was it because Notre Dame negotiated away millions at the BCS bargaining table and now has to recoup those losses? They’re questions that deserve thoughtful answers before this agenda is pushed forward because the repercussions affect much more than just arranging a schedule.

Now we’re dismissing overtures from Alabama because it doesn’t fit with “the mandate?” When mandate means Notre Dame must exclude one of the few schools that carry a similar tradition, something’s wrong with the equation and it’s normal and necessary to ask questions.

Some alums think this is a battle worth going to war over with calls mounting for a campaign now directed at the AD himself.

Remember, it wasn’t too many years ago that fans were selling their tickets to anyone because there was so little interest in Notre Dame football.

At the very least what we have here is a disconnect between the fan base and the Athletic Department — which happens when unilateral mandates are installed without some sort of open communication with alumni. It’s important to know that if major changes are underway these decisions are being made for the right reasons.

It’s not that I’m assuming this is a bad idea, it’s just that no one’s explained why it’s a good idea.


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