Hey Jack, Brian and even you, Fr. John:
It’s not yours.
Notre Dame is not yours to do with what you please. Jack, it’s not yours to remake into Stanford (although, sadly, I envy their football team). Brian, it’s not yours to remake into Cincinnati or Assumption College or Oregon or Michigan. Fr. John, you actually seem to get this, although following in the footsteps of a feckless president who wanted to turn Notre Dame into a mid-level Ivy would make anybody look good in comparison. And if my supposition is correct, it’s up to you to rid the place of people who fail to understand this.
And although you should meet the appropriate needs of your students and consider respectfully their wishes, it’s not theirs, either.
I’ll readily concede that current students, and in this particular context, current student-athletes, have a greater stake than us old farts. But it must be remembered that their greater stake is fleeting. Soon, too soon for most of them, that stake will be the same as those who came before them and those who will come after. By analogy, nobody would stand for George W. Bush putting longhorns on the front gate of the White House, or Barack Obama hanging a Chicago Bulls banner from the North Portico.
What many of the players fail to appreciate yet — and many of the knuckleheads on NDNation and elsewhere fail to recognize — is that one of the strongest threads in a legacy is common experiences shared over many years.
Please don’t mistake this for a Luddite mindset against all advances and improvements. Indeed, as the need for new facilities and other changes increases, all the more important to identify and preserve those things which can be preserved without harming the program or chances of success.
As Chuck has pointed out so well today (and previously) — this is a unique place with a unique history. Nobody else can lay claim to it.
It’s not yours to squander. It belongs to all of us.