Enough

LSU graduates less than half of the “students” who go to school there and play football, yet we celebrate them as champions.

Michigan graduates less than half of the African Americans who enroll as “students” and play football, yet this is supposedly a program that serves as a beacon for others?

USC
graduates just barely over half of the “students” who go to school there and play football and Pete Carroll plays jokester while Trojans implode in the NFL due to character issues, yet this is held up as a model program?

That we continue to celebrate teams who use and discard student athletes is the real tragedy of college football.

Not only do many student athletes at “football schools” fail to graduate, but even for those that do graduate, many have been railroaded into majors that leave them with few options if their NFL ambitions fail (as happens for even for most 5-Star recruits.) So this is simple: If you’re graduating less than half of your players in any segment and they’re not being given a chance to pursue a meaningful major (see Michigan) then you’re far, far worse than “arrogant”… you’re an institution that legitimizes exploitation.

While all this plays out in the background (literally thousands of kids used by schools who dangle the possibility of college stardom and the NFL in front of them in exchange for their pledge to win one for the ripper) writers and talking heads stick their pens, computers and heads in the sand, ignore the obvious injustice and instead fruitlessly and mistakenly waste their time on perceived Notre Dame “arrogance.”

The reality is this: Notre Dame graduates its players at an almost unprecedented rate for a top program. Notre Dame makes allowances for great athletes, but it also immerses those athletes in a culture that breeds success. Other schools wall off their best athletes and treat them like zoo attractions, living in special dorms, making them eat at “football only” cafeterias and unburdening them with high level classes.

While the majority of Michigan’s players are forced into “football majors” that lead to nowhere, an examination of Notre Dame players shows that they’re being “herded” into the 3rd best undergraduate business school in the country… and even players who were considered marginal students when they arrived in South Bend are succeeding because they’re finally being taught how to succeed.

Here’s what’s different: At Notre Dame, these athletes are surrounded by competitive students AND great football players. At other schools they’re treated so differently they never develop the skills necessary to compete in the real world. This isn’t to say football players don’t get special assistance, they do, but they’re given it with the expectation that it will make them better… and it works.

The irony of the attacks of the masses on Notre Dame is that most of the attacks come from educated professionals who absolutely know better, but still can’t help themselves. When Charlie Weis says he’s not going to recruit thugs, part of that is just blunt talking Charlie prone to a touch of hyperbole, but part of that is fact. I won’t name names, but there are kids playing in South Central who would be considered thugs by normal society; they have arrest records for assault that were known before they were recruited. They’re what normal society considers thugs.

Is that arrogance to state you’re not going to recruit thugs…

or is it sanity?

He’s mirroring Bill Parcell’s comments last year: “I don’t want thugs and hoodlums on the team,” Parcells said of the types of players he’ll try to acquire. “I really don’t. I don’t want bad-character guys. I don’t want problem children.” – Bill Parcells

Notre Dame’s won the CFA award more than any other major college football program. It’s also won more national championships. It also graduates almost 100% of the student athletes who enroll there and stay for four years and it does that by supporting them and immersing them in a culture that’s “inclusionary” rather than exclusionary. The team GPA has set records under Weis because he makes players become students. Notre Dame isn’t the only school having success here, either.

How anyone with an ounce of empathy for the kids who are being used by big time programs can point at this as anything other than a positive boggles the senses. Look, Mario Manningham scored a 6 on the Wonderlic, not a 16, a 6. A 20 equals an IQ of a 100. Of 5 players scoring over 30 that were released, 3 were from Notre Dame.

The other day a New York Times writer of little note (yes that’s the dork from Jersey on the left) decried the fact that Notre Dame wanted to play Rutgers’ home games in a big time venue (and wrote that column with the tone and maturity of a jilted school girl) yet made no mention of the fact that other schools such as Ohio State aren’t even giving any home games to some of their opposition. None. Zero. You play us and thank us for the privilege. He also failed to mention that Notre Dame’s Big East affiliation helped saved the Big East from falling into oblivion and is the reason it’s able to negotiate secondary bowl deals. What Notre Dame is doing is what’s happening all over college football. Big schools are padding their schedules, moving to play more games at home and just aren’t agreeing to home and homes. The rules are changing. That’s the story and it’s not hard to figure out.

Look at who the Buckeyes played out of conference last year:

Youngstown State (Alumni Band) Columbus, Ohio
Akron (Hall of Fame) Columbus, Ohio
Washington at Seattle, Wash.
Kent State Columbus, Ohio

And Youngstown State doesn’t even get a home game out of the deal. It’s an away and an away. They play in Columbus next year as well. Neither does Akron. Of course that’s more money, but what about the spirit of the game? I can hear you snickering. The havenots have to play Ohio State on Columbus turf. The Buckeyes won’t set foot in Akron, Youngstown or Troy all of whom are on the OSU schedule. They don’t have to because they know the payday is worth it to the havenots. So Ohio Sate can schedule these teams pretty much as they want with no notion of a fair trade. The Gators are are doing the same thing. They play(ed) Western Kentucky, Troy and Florida Atlantic all in Gainesville. None will entertain the Gators for a home game.

Now, I’m not saying Notre Dame is right here (I don’t agree with it)… but the lack of professional perspective by a New York Times writer is… uh… never mind. The reality is that it’s happening all over the country, but this “balanced writer” would rather focus on ND “arrogance,” ignore perspective and the serious problems underpinning college football which are these:

  • Players are being paid rather blatantly across the country. Want an easy story, just show up in the parking lot of any big time school or show up at their off campus apartment. No one in the media cares.
  • Players don’t graduate and don’t make the NFL. No one in the media cares.
  • Players graduate with useless majors. No one in the media cares.
  • Teams over recruit players (this is you Nick Saban) knowing they’re going to have to kick some players to the curb. No one in the media cares.
  • Teams win while violating almost every ethical standard surrounding student-athletes. No one in the media cares.
  • Schools are scheduling cupcakes to increase their chances of making the BCS. No one in the media cares.
  • The conference superpowers engineer fictitious conference games for extra revenue, while killing the idea of a playoff. No one in the media cares.

Enough of this posing, then hiding and accusing of the Irish by the media to get attention. Enough. If you can’t confront the elephant sitting on your lap swilling Bud with you on Saturday, the elephant that tells you schools are using and abusing kids, don’t suddenly act as if you’re now the conscience of football and vent at a school who hasn’t sunk close to that level of exploitation. You should jump up on your soap box and proclaim that Notre Dame, Duke and even, yes, BC are doing things the right way instead of looking for reasons to tear them down into the gutter with the rest of college football.

In short, show some guts you collection of vapid, attention seeking hypocrites.

Recognize what’s impossible to miss and embrace the good that’s going on around you, because if you don’t your profession (presumably your life’s work) is worth exactly what a fleeting moment of air time or day of Internet hits is worth, just a small inconsequential blip on the corporate bottom line.

Aim to be something greater than a media “hair puller” looking for a reaction.

Enough of the bullshit.

Enough.

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63 Responses to “Enough”

  1. Rob Says:

    Amen.

  2. Bill Says:

    Excellent post. Too bad that it’s written in an intelligent manner…something the talking heads won’t be able to understand and will dismiss as easily as they overlook the infractions mentioned. Great article Rock

  3. Cole M. Says:

    I’ll second that wholeheartedly.

  4. Anthony Says:

    Well said,
    The media only cares and therfore focuses on the flash and wins, while ignoring the crimes taht are going on behind the scenes. They don’t care about GPA, graduation rates or chances of success away from the game. They only care about 40 times and NFL contracts. It is a shame and a crime.

  5. sairish Says:

    One of your best efforts Scot,
    I hope you get picked up by someone
    with courage in the national media.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    God, Country, Notre Dame. The three priniciples that Our Lady has stood for over a hundred years. Academics are important and if you don’t think so look for a job in our rotten economy and you will realize that. This is a contradiction that ND faces with more than just football. I have a brother who had a dozen baseball scholarship offers from MAC and B10 schools but turned them down for a chance to follow in our family’s third generation of ND. He knew that the hard work and financial aid would benefit in the long run. Not some Kineoseology major where you can’t do anything right out of college. He will complete Med school next spring and probably be set for life. I think that ND really takes care of the kids who take pride in her. Great Job Rock, Go Irish!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Outstanding! I wish everyone could read this – even though only 10% of them would care.

    Very well written – great job!

  8. PJC Says:

    Weis was channeling Parcells when he made the thug comment.

    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/12/27/bill-parcells-on-building-dolphins-roster-i-dont-want-thugs-a/

  9. Kate Says:

    What is LSU’s graduation rate for all freshman that enroll at the school?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Agree with everything in this entire post. Let’s not be blind. The bad, while a minority, can happen at ND as well. Senior year I sat in a class with Bercich and at the final he somehow had the test answers prior to the start and was offering them out.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Why do we play these teams? I know money is involved with the NCAA so they don’t care.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Sadly, while all of this is true, its not college football’s fault. This is the direction our country is going. No one teaches their kids values, morals, how to develop self-respect for one’s self. How about truth and taking responsibility. Some people are worried about our global role (terrorism, war, etc.), the economy (gas prices, foreign competition, etc.), but we can survive all of that if we teach and enforce REAL values in kids. That starts with today’s adults. And it ain’t happenin’ much these days. The results of this are emerging in places like college football. Eventually this trend will erode everything else we hold dear as Americans. This is why I love Notre Dame: we don’t back down and we don’t take shortcuts. Its not about religion – its about integrity. God bless America. And God bless Notre Dame.

  13. kevin Says:

    for the anonymous poster who started with God, country, notre dame:

    As someone who went to a MAC school (Ohio University) and is now a doctor doing very well for himself, i kind of take offense at you comment. hard work can be done at many institutions around the country and you can get to the same goal. they use the same textbooks all around the country.

    now, i love notre dame and my 1996 acceptance letter is still hanging on my wall. but i went to OU because i got a scholarship there and i couldn’t afford notre dame.

    i have several good friends who went to notre dame and i love those guys. but they do make you feel that you are a step below if you just root for the irish and didn’t actually go there.

    i think that is where a lot of the national vitriol comes from. it’s statements like yours that make it seem to “outsiders” like you are insisting you can’t succeed in life “properly” if you went to lowly Ohio University. i know that was not your intent, but sometimes your statements come damn close to elitism.

    i respectfully look forward to your response and thanks for listening.

  14. YodaDame Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    However, it’s not only the media. I’d say >95% of sports fans and hometown yokels don’t care about any of these problems either. They just want to see wins and entertainment.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    My family and I sat with Rashon McNeil at the breakfast before the B/G game. We were stunned that this soft spoken humble kid was a football player. The typical football player usually seems to be borderline illiterate, but when my wife asked Rashon why he chose ND he said because it offered the whole package. Education is very important to him and football won’t last forever. Good answer Rashon your parents (and you) should be proud.
    At the autograph session each player was polite and friendly and looked my kids in the eye as they signed things. I was never more proud to be from Notre Dame!!!

  16. R. O. Gant '95 Says:

    weis’ hoodlum comment was about as much of a non-story as it gets, but people didn’t report on it because they saw it as arrogance. it was covered because our shitty media is singularly focused on tabloidy controversies (good luck seeing the score of a game on the espn crawl, it is too busy saying roger clemens had an affair over and over. see how long you can watch tv without hearing the name jeremiah wright)

    people don’t think we’re arrogant because of a comment off of the top of weis’ head; they think we’re arrogant because we respond by trashing the academic reputation of schools with better football programs than ours.

  17. Irishraj Says:

    The best college football rant ever!

  18. Ted Says:

    This is an echo, but Scot what you have written is so true. Why hasn’t Jesse Jackson hasn’t taken aim at big time schools who are using young black men and then when finished with them treat them like garbage?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I am also a physician from a MAC school Kevin, and I lived in South Bend for the better part of 4 years. I trained there as well. I did not go to Notre Dame, nor did I even apply, but have been a fan since I was a child. To answer your comments, not once in the four years I was there did any student portray any kind of elitist personality towards me. They would enquire where my school was at, and like any other person from any other school, would subconsciously realize that, obviously, I did do something with my life. That is what was respected. And the fact that I loved Notre Dame only made me all the more better of a person in their eyes.
    Sometimes the elitist personality that you “see” in ND students/alumni is really only in your own head.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Where does this author get their statistics about graduation at ND and other universities?

  21. Anonymous Says:

    College football is all about making money and ND does as good of a job of doing that as any other university. This author needs to forget about the way things used to be and focus on reality.

  22. Rory '06 Says:

    Kevin,
    Reread the post you refer to. It does not say that you cannot succeed at other schools. It reemphasizes the point that many universities do not prepare their athletes for life after college. I’m not sure how you took the post so personally- of course their are doctors/lawyers/professionals from other schools. ND is not unique in this respect, it is unique in the emphasis it places on academics for athletes.

  23. Don Says:

    To Kate I ask, why is the use of the word “thug” considered racist? Could it be that when you (and much of white society in general) hear the word “thug” you think African American? When I was in grad school (an SEC school), a friend of mine was assaulted by a football player in a bar after confronting the football player about overt attempts to hit on my friend’s girlfriend. In the blink of an eye, my friend had a beer bottle broken across his head and was pummeled to the ground. When the police arrived, he was ushered out a back door by friends and bar staff alike and escaped capture, while my friend was left to lick his wounds at a nearby hospital. Would this kind of behavior be tolerated at Notre Dame or by Charlie Weis? Would this kind of “character guy” be recruited by any athletic team at Notre Dame? The football player to whom I refer was white and a clearly would be included in any group of people which Charlie Weis refers to as thugs.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Why was Ty Willingham fired after three seasons? Because not enough of his players graduated with business degrees or because he did not win enough football games?

  25. kevin Says:

    Thanks for the return comments guys.

    Points taken, acknowledged, and appreciated.

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on the tone of the original post to which I responded.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Here are two quotes from Fr. Hesburgh that seem appropriate in this discussion:

    “Some things never change at ND, one is ND’s commitment to excellence. The other is criticism for having the “arrogance” to strive for it.” -Hesburgh

    “There is no academic virtue in playing mediocre football and no academic vice in winning a game that by all odds one should lose….. . There has been a surrender at Notre Dame, but it is a surrender to excellence on all fronts, and in this we hope to rise above ourselves with the help of God. “ -Hesburgh

  27. Anonymous Says:

    I am a professor at a major university. I often confront fellow profs at other institutions — like Michigan, Ohio State, etc.– about their graduation rates for football players. I ask why their faculty and university presidents aren’t embarrassed by these graduation rates. They mumble, avert their eyes, claim it’s not their business, and change the subject. But this is yet another group of adults who are abdicating responsibility. Pathetic.

  28. Mike Says:

    What you said is true but ultimately futile. I don’t know why you would expect the population at large to care about graduation rates, education and so forth. The bottom line is that most people care about football not classes. The day when 100,000 people pay $60to go watch someone take a test is the day that these issues will be “important”.

  29. Gerry Says:

    Anonymous –

    Willingham was fired for losing games and losing them badly. If you are alluding that coaches are still dismissed for W-L records rather than athletes’ academic success, you have missed the point of this rant.

    The emphasis on academics for student-athletes is a system-wide one, and it is encouraged by the current (and prior) coaching staff.

    Should there be a precipitous drop in academic achievement on the Notre Dame football team, you better believe the coaches would hear about it from above. The author of this post is pointing out that from top to bottom too many institutions with mighty football programs have no regard for academic achievement among their athletes.

    If you cannot see the difference between what you have alluded to and this point, then you need to think harder about the issue.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is long past due for the mainstream sports media to grow a spine and stand up for these kids who are being exploited by just about every non-ND school in the country. The graduation rates and academic standard at schools like Michigan would be an absolute joke if they were’nt so tragic.

  31. dtfennell Says:

    Willingham was fired for being an incompetent coach.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    I have been preaching this for years and even louder when our football team was going well a couple of years ago. Very well written and i’ve already directed your site to many friends and colleagues. Kudos, my friend, kudos to an intelligent, objective, well written commentary. Go Irish!

  33. Anonymous Says:

    An excellent post, ND graduates it players in difficult classes, with real majors that will help them find a job, if they do not make it into a professional sporting league. In regards to Kate’s post, last I checked anyone that is violating the laws of society,is a thug, and whether they are white, black whatever makes no difference. So please quit playing the race-card. Another person posted that these big football factory schools professors most likely do put their heads in the sand. A prime example of this is Maurice Clarett at Ohio State and his oral final exam. This was laughable if it not plain sad, to a regular college student if I asked for an oral exam I would be laughed out of the classroom. Unfortunately this probably occurs at many of those types of schools. I think it is sad though that there isn’t some sort of penalty for programs that don’t graduate a certain percentage of players. That is the whole point of going to college to earn an undergraduate degree that will either A. set you up to go find a job after you graduate or B. enable you to go on and pursue a higher level of education either a Master’s degree or a Doctorate and become a productive non-criminal member of society. Kudos to ND for setting standards and expecting players to meet those standards, something that is lacking in todays fast-food society.

  34. Joseph Says:

    As a tutor for student-athletes at ND, I understand what you are saying completely. ND does a remarkable job of integrating its student-athletes into an intellectual environment. The focus here is not on skirting requirements or pursuing easy majors. Most if not all of the athletes have the intellectual capacity to succeed at a university, but many come in as freshman woefully unprepared from the local primary and secondary schools. I believe the same is true for many top programs across the country. The difference is that ND has always held its athletes to the highest standards inside the classroom, on the field, and in their personal lives. The difference shows. Excellent article!

    p.s. Anonymous- The particular oral exam to which you are referring may have been a joke, but if you have ever taken an oral exam in the liberal studies program here at ND you might change your mind that all oral exams are jokes.

  35. Mike Says:

    nice post and true. I like the Ohio State facts. Being from Columbus i hear OSU hype daily. I love the ex-QB who just won the National title for OSU. he majored in bio-chem/ molecular engineering and other “smart kid” subjects…well…. he sells Nissans at a local auto- dealerships in Columbus burbs. What a joke. nothing against car sales employees… but they made such a big deal about this kid taking tough classes on TV and now he has the same job as someone who didnt go to college. Ohio State is a joke of a school/ football program.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Mike – That simply is not true.

  37. Matt '09 Says:

    I talked with one of the Arts/Letters deans at ND earlier this semester. The topic of grade inflation came up, and she mentioned that since she took the job 25 years ago, ND has made great strides in making sure that varsity athletes cannot hide in easy majors. That’s probably the saddest (most encouraging for ND faithful) part of the whole story: While other schools have been slipping further into this mass exploitation of athletes in the “money sports”, ND is not only holding course, but continuing to improve academic quality for varsity athletes!

  38. Anonymous Says:

    In response to Kevin, I never meant any harm or ill will towards anyone who did not graduate from Notre Dame. I myself am a MAC grad (Central Mich)as is my dad who turned down a scholarship from ND to go to CMU and stay close to home. The point of my response to the article was to say that ND is special place for the people who treat it that way. I have been around ND & St. Mary’s grads who look back at their ND experience with resentment and look down on others as not being up to par with ND grads. I was the only sibling in my family who did not go to ND or SMC, but I was always embraced by the people I met at ND and not felt like I was second class. I was just echoing the values that were ingrained into my makeup at an early age. I am proud to be both Irish and Catholic and have fond memories of being in South Bend. I hate the term “subway Alumni” but it pertains to me as not having a degree from ND.

  39. grantland Says:

    For goodness sakes, please send that to the NYTimes.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Think “plantations” and you will have a better picture of what has evolved here…but NO ONE is willing to say it or broach the subject…Read Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and you will see the parallelisms.

    The plantation sytem in the deep south (pre-Civil War) used uneducated blacks to make thousands of white families rich. Those black workers were provided with room and board (dorm room, meal plan…) but paid no wages; could not leave the plantation unless the owner said so (can’t transfer from college to college without permission of AD); worked unreasonably long hours (3 hours of practice, 3 more of film, 2 in weight room, classes); held out hope that they would earn enough to buy their freedom, while only a miniscule percentage ever did (athletes hold out hope of getting drafted and making millions); OR they hope that their work will be recognized by the owner and then gain freedom (hard work translates to a good degree).

    Anyone who does not see the parallel here is blind, deaf or dumb. Black athletes make up the overwhelming majority (this is not even debateable) of the two revenue-producing college team sports: football and basketball. As Mr. Rock Report stated, a huge majority of these athletes are set up to fail, one way or the other: they don’t graduate, or graduate with a BS degree like Cultural Studies, General Studies, Underwater Basket Weaving, etc.

    But they make MILLIONS for Universities (run overwhelmingly by white males and females); for coaches (overwhelmingly white males); for the NCAA (overwhelmingly white males and females); for television networks (run overwhelmingly by white males); and fully fund all the non-revenue sports like tennis, wrestling, swimming, soccer, softball, track, lacrosse etc. (again…overwhelmingly populated by white athletes).

    These are facts and indisputeable. The ONLY comeback anyone ever has is that these athletes are getting a CHANCE to get a free education. As Rock stated, that is irrefutably false. I am a college professor, and thus can’t leave my name. But I have had more than my share of 2nd team cornerbacks and forwards who, as juniors still thing they are going to the show, and really have no need to do more than just stay eligible.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    if only Mario Manningham could read this…

  42. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with your point, but I think you unfairly focus on the media. I don’t think it is the media that doesn’t care, but the fans. The media runs all the stories about arrests, but do you ever see the school, boosters or alumni of those schools do anything? Are any of the Alabama fans outraged by what Saban is doing? I haven’t heard them. In fact the media guy call attention to it and got shot down by Saban. Do fewer people attend those games after the evidence comes out? The answer is “No”. Fewer people show up when they lose, and that is why everyone will continue to look the other way.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    I emailed Harvey Araton who wrote that scathing article about ND v Rutgers. I used the same sarcasam and cynicism he used and he emailed me back and called me anti-semetic and a bigot. Talk about hatred for ND. That article spewed venom.

  44. Ted Says:

    This Rock Report must get greater coverage. As I read it once again, and followed that by reading the comments, I am taken by the depth of thought shared by so many.

    Scot, you have touched a nerve with many people, and we can only hope that some day the NCAA will finally step forward and take the steps to have every university meeting stronger academic requirements.

    Will the NCAA do that? I doubt it unless some other higher authority gets involved or public pressure is applied. In reality, most of the institutions are tax supported…maybe tax payers will eventually demand more from institutions of higher learning.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    This was probably your best post ever (not a left-handed compliment). Well written and thought out. Thanks for the read.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    Hoorah, hoorah!! Gimmie an N, gimmie a D–I love it when you say real loud what needs to be said !

  47. 2ndstringqb Says:

    This article opens up a can of worms the size of which the NCAA cannot ignore. What we’d love to see are a few more ‘where are they now’ stories from the mainstream media.
    If only the football gods would notice this and smile upon ND in 2008!

  48. ocmj Says:

    The next time someone accuses Notre Dame of racism for prematurely firing the “molder of men” (and there will be a next time), they will become a recipient of this “rant”. Well done.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    I completely, totally, and utterly agree with your post. That said, I think some (few) other schools deserve credit for following similar protocol. Maybe we could form some sort of all-responsible consortium?

    There is another thing I would like discussed: APR. (This is as opposed to GSR.) Unless I completely misunderstand how it is calculated, it seems to favor schools that promote easy majors and are slow to discipline those who are actually making no (real) progress towards getting an (actual) degree.

  50. ocmj Says:

    APR is discussed in the following article regarding Purdue possibly losing scholarships in both football and basketball.

    http://www.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080502/NEWS09/80502024

  51. Anonymous Says:

    Similar article here: http://media.www.ndsmcobserver.com/media/storage/paper660/news/2008/04/09/Viewpoint/Respect.Without.Admiration-3310810.shtml

  52. Anonymous Says:

    This is a big time article.Big time.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    Kevin,

    Like you, I’ve been a Notre Dame football fan my entire life… however, my experience with Domers has been somewhat different.

    Upon moving into Colorado Springs some 14 years ago, I mentioned to a co worker that I was a fan, and she was not only non-arrogant, she invited me to join the local ND club, attend gamewatches, etc. None of the folks I met were in any way arrogant, nor did they ever intimate that their education was better than mine.

    As the years unfolded, my son grew into a fine student, and naturally, I encouraged him to apply to ND, which he did. (He graduates in 2 weeks, and will go on to a top 10 med school this fall.) In the years I’ve been a member of the “Notre Dame family,” I’ve never encountered any form of arrogance, although I’ve read countless claims of such. In fact, what we’ve found is that everyone we’ve met thru our ND connections would better be typified another way: with humility.

    Sorry you have not experience the same.

  54. Terence Merritt Says:

    great response

  55. Anonymous Says:

    Charlie Weis using the word “thug” arguably isn’t racist. However, assuming that the word refers to some kid from “South Central,” as this post does, almost certainly is racist. I’m going to assume the author was referring to South Central Los Angeles (as opposed to say, South Central South Bend), the population of which is predominantly black and latino.

    To the author – what makes you think that it was appropriate to single out student-athletes that come from “South Central” as examples of the “thugs” that Coach Weis was referring to?

  56. The Rock Says:

    There’s nothing racial about it. It’s a derogatory way to refer to USC. South Central isn’t considered a great neighborhood.

  57. NDslovene Says:

    Amen. Too bad the people who most need to read this probably don’t read. This is a long-term consequence of a society which lives for immediate gratification and cannot seem to understand the benefits of honest, hard work and perseverance. It’s not just the media who is the villain; it’s the parents who don’t demand their child be educated; it’s the administrators and institutions willing to dilute their reputations. People–athletes included–rise to their level of expectation. ND expects more, and if others are jealous, so be it.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    Why is it that there always seems to be some ND alum who seemingly has an insatiable desire to play the “We ND graduates are never elitist, but rather, only concerned with charity and doing good in the community” card? Cmon…give me a break. I’m an ’01 ND graduate and ’06 Harvard Law grad. In being honest, although I love ND, I’ve experienced more ignorantlly conservative, plaid short wearing, parent’s credit card type students at ND than at a place like Harvard. What really cracks me up is the fact that ND thinks its such a renowned and presitigou academic insitution, when in fact, it doesn’t even compare to the likes of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. ND is full of a bunch of white rich kids who are bright enough to know that it is important to get good grades, but still more interested in socializing and going to football games. Always keep in mind ND, there is always some school that is better…

  59. Anonymous Says:

    When you say that other schools schedule cupcakes to bolster their BCS chances, are you referring to the Georgia Techs, Penn States, Michigans, Michigan States, Purdues, Boston Colleges, USCs, Navy and Air Forces of college football that had the nerve to schedule the 3-9 cupcake from a certain hole in the ground in Indiana?

  60. Ryan Says:

    A well written piece. I disagree with your final point though in which your article takes a turn from poor kids to poor Notre Dame. There is a big difference between refusing to play at Rutgers (or UConn which I hear is another deal ND is trying to pull off) and refusing to play at Youngstown St. (not even a D-1A program) or even Akron. Rutgers and UConn are both BCS school and your so called “Big East affiliates.” And while they might not be football superpowers, they are both miles ahead of Youngstown State and Akron. And before you attempt to rebut by appealing to the pride of these lesser (at least in football) institutions, keep in mind that some of these smaller schools need big paydays to keep their Athletic Departments afloat. I’m sure Ohio State pays a lot more for a single home game than they do a home and home series. I am not an Ohio State apologist (rather a Michigan State apologist) and I find Notre Dame’s historical policy of playing home and home series with even lowly programs such as Army and Airforce (although some would make the argument that playing at a military institution carries some pride) admirable. However, your attempt at defending a possible home and neutral series with Rutgers is absurd. Even worse, hiding behind a “what about the kids?” excuse is shameful. If you’re going to write about the exploitation of college athletes, at least write it because you care about them.

  61. somebodytogobackintimewith Says:

    I think what Bill Parcells meant to say was he doesn’t want thugs on his team unless they’re as big and fast as Lawrence Taylor.

  62. solrebel Says:

    Well said. I am not an alum, my grade were never good enough. But I have always loved the University of Notre Dame for this exact reason; we stand for something a little higher. Even though I graduated from elsewhere, to the Notre Dame Club I am a member of this family. I have always been impressed at the level of service to our country and our community that stands for much more than the output of these “football factories”. It is my hope that Charlie, who gets “it”, is able to lead our boys to victory this year and show people that it really can be done and still be classy and dignified AND provide an excellent education.

  63. Anonymous Says:

    Perhaps I am biased; I probably am, but this is a very balanced article because it recognizes that ND does give special treatment to its athletes. Nevertheless, there just needs to be a “Camelot” or what is the use of striving?
    When I was nine years old, sixty years ago, I realized there was a team, Catholic and Irish; as I am, that played great football in a realm of legend. That’s all I knew and all I needed to know. I have never lost the fun of reflected glory in the legend.
    The fact that the school (I am also a college professor) delivers the fundamental “goods”, that is, an excellent education, to its players is the “Camelot” to which I refer.
    Thanks for a balanced and excellent column.

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