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  • A Bowl Full of Conflicts

    by Mike Coffey

    We’ve spent a good portion of the off-season arguing about Notre Dame’s football future. We all want to see a return to the days of on-field excellence, and I think it’s important to remember that. But I also think it’s important to note how many of our wounds are self-inflicted and how hard Notre Dame seems to work at getting in its own way, because until those things are corrected, all that arguing isn’t going to get us anywhere. An erudite poster described Notre Dame as “a bowl full of conflicts”, and I don’t think there’s a better description to the mis-applied focus at the root of all our football problems.

    Jack Swarbrick said, “Football at Notre Dame is all about promoting the University of Notre Dame.” That’s wrong. You can’t play championship-level football if your first thought is not about the on-field product. Football at Notre Dame should be all about winning with integrity. If you accomplish that goal, the promotion you seek will follow naturally, and because it is natural and not forced, it will be much more effective.

    If your goal is to win a national championship, scheduling travel halfway across the globe in a season in which you’re already traveling to the west coast is foolish. While I believe it unsportsmanlike to schedule eight home games or more the way some of our D1 brethren do, I believe it pointless to move a home game 90 miles away, talk about playing a game in China, and subject student athletes to unnecessary stresses, all in the name of “demonstrat[ing] the breadth of the scope of the academic mission at the University” … or stuffing its coffers via the “portable version of Hammes Bookstore”. The academic mission of Notre Dame shouldn’t be a mystery to anyone who is paying attention. If it is, there are plenty of venues at which it can prove its worth much more suitable than a football game.

    Nowhere is this dichotomy illustrated more starkly than at Notre Dame home games. The lack of a home field advantage has been a much-debated topic these last couple years, and everyone has their own solution. But no solution will be effective as long as we continue to impede our own progress, and to correct that, we have to reset our priorities while maintaining standards. Not easy, but doable.

    If we don’t want our Stadium to be comfortable for the visitors, we have to make it more uncomfortable. No one wants to become another Michigan or Miami or BC … we’ve all got our horror stories from those trips. But there’s a lot of space between that and the “welcome to Notre Dame” obsequiousness currently on display six Saturdays a year.

    If we want our Stadium to be loud, we need to make it louder. No one wants fights in the stands or people to feel unsafe. But there’s a lot of space between that and the deference to the “down in front” crowd that borders on fealty.

    If we don’t want the TV timeouts to drain the energy out of the stadium, we need to keep the momentum going. And I’m sorry, but nothing blows up the momentum more than a “special presentation” that has nothing to do with football. Jack Swarbrick is frustrated by the lack of attention given to honorees during the game, saying, “We ought to be calling great attention and focus to that person, and that’s hard to do in our current environment,” and driving the current video screen nonsense. I say the exact opposite — we shouldn’t call attention to them at all. There’s a reason “that’s hard to do in our current environment”: it’s not the right environment in the first place.

    When I go to a football game, I’m there to support my team loudly and energetically, with my energy most likely fueled by the judicious consumption of selected adult beverages. I’m not there to sit and listen to the accomplishments of Professor Sinjin-Smythe and his efforts to cure cancer of the genechtagazoink. I really don’t care that the University’s IT department successfully installed a new donations tracking package, or the catering staff went a whole year without poisoning anyone. And I’ll applaud the soccer or lacrosse or fencing or basketball teams in their own venues. All of those people are worthy of praise … in Notre Dame Magazine or on the front page of the UND.com website.

    Back in the day, those presentations were made during halftime. The band would perform their show, stop in their final formation while people were honored, then do the Victory March and trot off for the start of the second half. Everyone was honored, everyone watched, and it didn’t suck the life out of the crowd. Sounds like a pretty easy solution to me, especially considering it worked so well before. If there are too many honorees to make that work, consider the possibility that your standards of determining honorifics are too low.

    There is honor in following NCAA rules. There is integrity in giving student athletes just as much opportunity to succeed off the field as on. There is nothing, however, in putting the cart of promoting the University of Notre Dame in front of the football program horse other than the destruction of the latter to the detriment of the former. It’s time for a priority reset because, as the old saying goes, six billion Chinese people couldn’t care less.

    47 Responses to “A Bowl Full of Conflicts”

    1. El Kabong says:

      For the record, I’m ambivalent about recognizing other sports teams. They’re at least tangentially related to football in that it’s a sports endeavor and we’re recognizing championship-level performance or reasonable facsimile thereof. But if we’re setting a rule, we’re setting a rule.

    2. radi-skull says:

      One small thing…your third paragraph starts off with a commentbabout the Navy game which youbseem to use as an argument about SJ but unless Im super mistaken I remember seeing signs for this game at Anthony Travel back in 00-01 timeframe. I dont think that canJack can be held for this one. If this was just aimed at ND Admin in general..yeah, what were they thinking…how hard is it to do an even odd even odd 10 years out…we play them every freakin year.

      • I vaguely remember those ads as well, but I think those were “vintage” ads from the 1996 game at Croke Park.

        • No, when I was a student there from 2004-2008 there were signs at Anthony Travel the entire time promoting the game in Dublin this year. This has been in the pipeline for a long time

    3. radi-skull says:

      Sorry…f’n small touch screen..

    4. Great post. Thanks for addressing many of the things that are wrong with the ND football experience. I agree that we want it to become a football experience during the game and an ND experience before and after!

    5. I would liketo give some input, I have been a many different sports venues – for football I have been to NFL, CFL, and a few colleges.
      I love Notre Dame stadium and everthign associated with it, and I really hope that we never see advertising or a Jumbotron. Hopefully the natural grass will stay as well.

      BUT, if you want to keep the crowd in the game, how about more game related announcements. Every time you announce a first down or similar, the crowd automatically gets the cue to cheer and to stay engaged.

      I was at the game when Dayne got injured and Tommy Rees started out pretty well and I kept checking the program to see who was playing QB. But, if I heard “Rees to Floyd, 12 yard gain for a first down” it would keep the flow of the game going.
      As far as recognizing accomplishments of people at the game, this would seem like a good thing to do during commercial timeouts.
      One more thing, regarding The Shirt, change it every year, but keep the color the same so we could have a “green out” or a sea of blue, etc.

    6. A few years back even at our asperational peer, Stanford, introduced one or more of their lesser sports successful teams during a pause in an otherwise entertaining ND game, only to be met with a loud chorus of Boos from the Palo Alto home crowd – could not have agreed more – wrong place, wrong time.

    7. Agree with just about everything here.

      The ever-expanding promotion of the football team is clearly what is driving the issues causing so much angst among the “traditionalist” segment of the ND fan base. But even accepting arguendo their premise that the university as a whole is best promoted using the football team, the decisions that are being made make little sense except for Adidas. The football team is clearly the cash cow, what has brought and continues to bring fame and fortune to the university as a whole. It is also clear that the powers that be see the Shamrock Series, the foreign country road games and other changes as ways to expand the brand. If pressed, they would probably come up with some lame explanation that it is all an extension of the model that was laid out by Rockne–instead of building a national following, now we’re going to build an international one. Unfortunately, they don’t see the ways they are damaging the brand they so eagerly seek to exploit for the sake of helping Adidas sell a few more t-shirts and hats.

      I don’t whole-heartedly agree with the logic that leads to games in places like San Antonio, NYC, Chicago and even Dublin, but I do at least admit there are advantages to these modern-day barnstorming events. However, following their logic, if the idea is to expand the brand, then why aren’t you actually promoting the brand? If you want people who are otherwise unable to see the games in South Bend to be able to see the team in person (which was one of the original arguments for the ongoing nature of the Shamrock Series), why do you put them in ridiculous uniforms? Why don’t you show up in Chicago or wherever else you plan to play an off-site game with your standard uniform? Let the people in these places see the sun hitting the golden helmet in person, instead of the ridiculous thing they have to look at instead. It’s pretty clear from the public reaction that, far from the “Wow, ND is really cutting edge” reaction they were going for, the overwhelming reaction has been “Wow, ND just jumped the alternate uniform shark.” What’s next, Touchdown Jesus being “restored” with a ClimaCool polo, Irish Tricolor Cleats and a gold tunic with a navy stripe down the side? Adidas field at Notre Dame stadium, now with adiPrene cushioning? Why is there a perceived need to change what we are “selling?” We aren’t McDonald’s opening up shop in India…

      And then there’s the utter hypocrisy of the idea of playing a game in China, which to me is a larger problem than the actual wisdom of playing the game there because of that whole “integrity” thing. So we won’t sell items in the bookstore that are made in China because of the working conditions there, but we will play a game there, thereby injecting who know how much money into the economy and increasing the need for workers in the factories that have the deplorable conditions? Not to mention that, if the Olympics in 2008 told us nothing, it’s that the Chinese government will force people to attend the game to make it appear to be a sell-out. More integrity! And talk about a great atmosphere for a game! How is this even a topic of discussion? Why has nobody said to Swarbrick “Yeah….that’s not going to happen. Tell them to find another patsy for that one?” The fact nobody has done this should signal that, in the end, it’s about the money for everyone. The BoT, the CSC, the Athletic Department, and our beloved corporate partner adidas. They’ve all been possessed by the green-eyed monster (and I don’t mean field turf).

      Of course, as El Kabong if they actually won consistently (note to BK, 8-5 was a good start, but it is not a hoped-for goal around here, regardless of recent history) the brand would sell itself and they wouldn’t have to resort to garbage marketing to sell a brand that until recently was more than capable of selling itself. It is as if ND Football is, at this point, a sick patient. We seem to have people treating it who would rather try to treat the symptom than deal with the underlying cause. In my observation, that’s usually not a course of treatment that works out too well–for the patient or the doctor.

    8. ONWARD TO MEDIOCRITY says:

      At the end of all the back and forth of why ND has failed to perform the actual goal which should always be to try and win a Nat’l Championship we need to look no further then the cold hard truth. In this day and age you cannot have high academic standards and look to compete with the SEC, or in most years the USC’s, Oklahoma’s,Ohio States…etc You may have some things fall into place once in awhile where you can compete at the level …IE Stanford with Andrew Luck but that will be short lived and when it’s all said and done they didnt even play for a National Championship with arguably the best QB in the last 2 decades. I’m not suggesting we lessen our standards but I am suggesting if we really are serious about winning like some of these other programs win then we need to dedicate everything to that mission. I don’t see ND doing that. I think they love trying to be all things to all people instead of worrying about winning on the field at all (ethical) costs.

      • Avon Domer says:

        OTM: If Notre Dame drops its ethics to win a national championship on the football field as you suggest, my lifelong, 54-year love affair with Notre Dame football will end that very day. As a Notre Dame zealot who is half-Irish and 100% Catholic, the main reason I love Our Lady’s University is because of its ethics and mission to strive for excellence in EVERYTHING it undertakes whether it be in the classroom, in the community or on the athletic fields of competition. If this means we have a mediocre football team more years than not, then so be it. I want to win on the football field as much as anyone, but only doing it the Notre Dame way. GO IRISH!!!

        • That is bull. If you are not an alum then your love of ND is rooted in the football team as is every other Subway Alumni. If you have a 54 year old love affair then you were there with the success of Ara and Devine and Lou. You complained about Faust and you all but forgot the Kuharich and Devore years. If it wasnt for ND football would you really know about the University or care as a half Irish 100% catholic about the academic accomplishments. If you are an alumnus then god bless you and you are one of a lucky few. I believe we have maintained our sterling academic reputation in the past and continued to play national championship caliber football. You no more want a mediocre team than any other fan. We need to quit saying we love ND for its academics and that they do things the right way. We love ND because we grew up with the greatest football program in the country and people hated us because we won and we did do things the right way.

          • ONWARD TO MEDIOCRITY says:

            Thank you Doug! That was my point- If the stated goal which I hear so many Domers talk about is to at least compete for a Nat’l Title consistently then we have seriously failed at that. I didn’t say do anything unethical. As a matter of fact I said do things to win at all ETHICAL COSTS. For instance adopt Stanford’s model of allowing all athletes 5 years to graduate. What that will do is allow the players a chance to spread tough courses over 5 years and allow them a little more flexibility to dedicate more time to football while still concentrating and doing their very best academically. Also there is no need to “barnstorm” all around the country. Thats what scheduled road games are for. Start to actual win at home consistently and become a tough place for opponents to come too as opposed to worrying about SUBWAY ALUM. (WHICH I AM) I’ll travel to South Bend when I can and when an away game is in my area I’ll show up there as well. Also stop with blending all of the “achievements of ND University” during the games. I know ND is a fine institution and does great things locally and all around the world but during the 11 or so games a year I want to only hear about the team. Let’s not forget if ND wasn’t great for so long most of all the rest of this stuff wouldn’t/couldn’t have ever happened. A tiny CCatholic school in the middle of Indiana would be just that if not for the football team. I think too many of lost sight of that!

    9. Hey EK: Excellent article – I am a double-domer – graduated in the early 70s so I was at ND during very successful years and am now teaching at Clemson. Clemson games are what ours used to be – the focus is on the sheer excitement of the football game-day experience. Wild crowd, but very friendly and the emphasis is on the field. We do not play home night games at Clemson because our President doesn’t want the drinking and traffic issues (great majority of the fans live out of the area). We had a fan appreciation day here on Sunday and the attendance was around 20000! Our signing night party in February had over 1100 people. All recognition activities are done either before the game or during half-time. I typically wear my ND t-shirt at our games as Clemson usually plays at 12pm and I can be home to watch our ND games at 3:30pm – never have received any negative comments. People can tailgate anywhere on campus & in fact, all faculty have to move their cars out of their lots by 12 hours prior to kickoff to accommodate game-day parking. A Saturday in Death Valley is what ND Stadium used to be and can still be with some common sense.

      • ONWARD TO MEDIOCRITY says:

        With all due respect the thought of you comparing anything about Clemson football and ND football really talks to how ND has fallen. Clemson is a middle of the pack team in the below average ACC and that is not in any way what ND should be striving to be. Its great that Clemson gets nice turnouts for appreciation day and also that they wild crowds who are also friendly but any Clemson Alum or fan would be very content with winning around 8 games a year and having a shot once in a while for a BCS berth by winning the ACC. Again not what ND should be content with.

    10. Paul Kennedy says:

      I’m one of those who doesn’t want the person in front of me standing for all or most of the game. Certainly, for an exciting play or in anticipation of a crucial play (red zone or third down) I will be up.

    11. Paul Kennedy says:

      Thought I did submit a comment. Here it is.

      I’m one of those who does not want a person standing in front of me or my wife for most of the game. Certainly, for exciting plays or in anticipation of a crucial play (e.g., red zone or third down) we will be up with everyone else.

    12. El Kabong says:

      And as long as I’ve got you looking, Chicagoans, don’t forget the big dinner on October 4th featuring the members of the 1988 national championship team … along with a possible special guest.

    13. Don in LA says:

      This column is a bowl full of excuses. Just go play football. Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.

      • Agree. This writer doesnt think these kids want the “undue stress” of going to Ireland??? Who wouldnt want a free trip to Ireland? These are the kinds of things that help recruiting. Also, all kinds of excuses for the pathetic crowd we have now. Heres a thought, a big screen with some replays!

        • El Kabong says:

          This isn’t a “free trip to Ireland”. This isn’t a vacation. This is a business trip to win a game.

          If we eliminate the irrelevant presentations and work with NBC to have the same play stoppage as everyone else, then we won’t need the “big screen with some replays”, which (a) won’t be used to show replays, and (b) just caters to the ADD crowd who doesn’t know how to watch a sporting event.

          • Id love a business trip to Ireland with 3 hours of easy work being the only business! That 2008 team sure looked like they had fun on thier “business trip” to Hawaii. Based on your conclusions, these students would prefer the Ireland trip be canceled so they could save “undue stress”. I have a feeling they would stongly disagree with you.

            Caters to the same ADD crowd that you claim cant handle TV timeouts? You cant have it both ways.

            People like you nit picking ND the last ten years are half the problem. And you are wrong, not Swarbrick – Football at Notre Dame is all about promoting the University of Notre Dame. It is at every school even the LSUs and Alabamas. Thats how student athletics work. If not what are they promoting?

            • Jerrod, I don’t think you quite understood the point. When he said ‘business trip’ he meant that ND really only scheduled the game there to promote the ‘brand’ and make more money without really thinking of the toll this could take on the team. How much time or opportunity do you really think they will have to see/experience Dublin?

              Think about it…they fly in a few days before the game and have a small amount of jet lag, all the while missing a few days of classes (granted it is week one and they aren’t missing much). They spend those few days practicing, going over film, etc. They then fly all the way back, have some more jet lag, and little time to rest as they have classes and need to begin prepping for Purdue. Then they travel to a tough MSU the following weekend, them home against a tough Michigan. Not to mention later in the year they have to head all the way out to Southern California. They have a pretty difficult September and having a game all the way over in Europe for really no good reason doesn’t help. Oh, and also, the trip to Hawaii was during bowl season after classes had ended…its definitely a little different.

            • In response to Jag167 – I hope ND players arent as big of babies as you insinuate. Just what they need more excuses. They also must be pretty spolied brats to not appreciate a trip to Europe for “no good reason”. Every ND scholarship football player has a personal tutor which probably helps with the classes.

              Why does USC have no problem traveling “all the way to Nothern Indiana” everyother year and dismantling ND? Teams travel more than ever. Time to get over it. Rockne’s teams took a freaking train out to USC and won.

              If you want to say the schedule is difficult this is not disputed this year or most. But i dare you do go tell a fan of a differnt team its tough to go play NAVY in Ireland then have to come all the way back to play PURDUE. You will be laughed out of the room. Swarbrick is doing what he can to save the “brand”. Other teams have already copied ND’s 7-4-1 model. A game in Dublin is clearly generating some buzz.

            • Mike Coffey says:

              Not for nothing, but CA to IN is a three-hour time difference. IN to IRE is a six-hour time difference.

              No one is saying the players are “babies”. They’re saying there’s no reason to make a schedule that already has acceptable difficulty even more difficult for non-football reasons.

    14. Paul Tschirhart says:

      We are different. We are not the SEC, USC, or even Stanford. We are certainly not Penn State where football left virtue behind. Neither are we Harvard. No one wants to win more than I do. I am one crazed Irish fan on football Saturdays, basketball Mondays etc, and for every other ND team. But, I am really, really proud when I hear from other teams’ fans that they so valued their ND campus experience, that for the most part we do it with class and the pursuit of academic relevance. It’s a sport, not a cult or religion. Sportsmanship, however lost with so many college and pro fans, should always be one of our essential values. As Parsegian, Holtz, and so many others have repeatedly said, shake their hands, wish them well, and then block and tackle their a___es off. Winning does not trump all, but winning as good sports does. Let’s remember what it means when we loudly proclaim: “We are N.D.”

      • El Kabong says:

        What it means when we say “we are ND” has absolutely zero to do with in-game presentations. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less what visiting teams fans’ campus experience is.

      • Avon Domer says:

        Paul: I couldn’t agree with you more! Treating the opposing team’s fans well on our campus is how we all should represent the University of Notre Dame, and when that happens it has absolutely no bearing on what happens on the field. It’s the players who play, not the fans in the stands.

        I’ve been to many U$C games at Notre Dame and all the $C fans I’ve met are shocked to see how well they’re treated by ND fans. Like you, Paul, I couldn’t be prouder when I hear compliments from opposing fans!

        To the question of whether or not Notre Dame Stadium should be louder during home games, the answer is yes, without question! However, treating the opposing team’s fans rudely has no bearing on that, and has no place at Notre Dame. Let other places have savages for fans and let Notre Dame be known for its civility towards others, among other great qualities.

    15. It would help the home field advantage if so many tickets weren’t sold to opposing fans by so called loyal ND supporters. Sometimes it’s embarassing seeing so much of a foreign color in the stands

    16. This column merely mentions one serious problem, but nails a second problem for the ND game experience. TV time outs and in game presentations/announcements. Both have reached ridiculous proportions. I don’t know the ins and outs of the contract with NBC. I only know the results. The continued ruination of the experience of the game in the stadium and at home watching. There are simply too many breaks in the action and flow of the game and I am convinced it is having an adverse result on the quality of play and the “factor” and “advantage” of a home field. It takes the crowd out of the game. There is simply no question about it. I have been to ND games (several a year, every year) since the early and mid 1970′s. The “experience” today in nowhere near what it was then and in the 1980′s even factoring in the actual team records since the advent of the NBC contract. The goo Fathers and BOT are degrading the ND brand.

      The second part is the ridiculous nature of the repeated, one after another, after another, soul sapping, special presentation or citation to some alumni, student or ND organization during the game’s already miserable TV time outs. To be blunt, put it in the game day magazine and leave the rest of the game ticket holders and attendees alone to concentrate on the game and not the harangue of an announcer telling us to give applause to Simon, Timmy, Ellyn, Lt. Smith and the Notre Dame Sunflower Society. Bottom line. We don’t give a crap. Just shut up, leave us alone to yell and cheer when we are not otherwise ruminating on poor play calling, the last fumble or interception and inability to defend the chunk, corner fade pass against a cornerback who never turns to make a play on the ball. JHC, just let the boys play and, hopefully, win. And then hopefully start crushing the other side when we can pile it on without one ridiculous interruption after another.

    17. John in Chicago says:

      Another echo for El Kabong’s points. Let the football on the field wake up the echoes at the football game — it still does and will continue to do so given the chance. Restoring a good play-by-play would indeed help.

      The off campus games, however, are most clearly indicative of the problem. If the Shamrock Series is indeed intended to bring the ND football product to locations where alumni and potential students do not have the opportunities to attend home games then why is there any reason to use a specialty uniform for these games? Show these fans the same experience fans see in Notre Dame Stadium. Also, does Chicago really fit the purported rationale of the Shamrock Series? (I do admit, however, to liking the idea of the Irish returning to Soldier Field – site of some of Rockne’s greatest games back to the Cartier Field era – for a home game.)

      As for the foreign games — including Dublin: (#1.) If our players are in any measure what-so-ever STUDENT athletes why are we flying them off to Dublin and back (twice now) when they should be getting themselves on track in the early weeks of their semester? (#2.) If we really want to return our program to top flight competitiveness on the field why do we expect our student athletes to come back from a whirl-wind trip to Dublin and take on a Big 10 opponent the following Saturday.

      As for China — very good points regarding the observations of the government’s handling of / use of the Olympics and the possible influence of Adidas in this one. However, if ND is indeed in any semblance a Catholic institution, why are we even considering providing their government another chance to showcase their current society to the western world while even a very liberal United States State Department opposes its one-child policy and its well documented forced abortions?

    18. Paul Tschirhart '63 says:

      El, In game presentations are a different issue. I agree they are distracting and should be handled differently if at all. But we differ greatly as to our pride in ND as it relates to the experience of”sport” by everyone in attendance.

    19. And quit inviting the oppositions’ bands to perform in OUR Stadium, esp. the Band of the Fightin’ Trojans. The sound of any presentations whether at halftime or whenever are totally drowned out for the South end of the Stadium by those SoCal a**holes

    20. Bill Rueter says:

      Our home games average about 3 and 1/2 hours minimum. Many times it is three hours and 45 minutes. The road ganes which are televised on another network are about 3 hrs.There is the problem. The interuptions and commercials drain all the energy from the game.

    21. Steve Daday says:

      The Stadium is really like a cemetery on game days. Again I agree that we should not abuse other team’s fans, but why are they permitted to be there in the first place.

      I was appalled at the Nebraska game when I walked into our Stadium and all I could see was red. Shame on us.

      Also, the “Down in Front Crowd” should be outlawed. The best section in the stadium was the alumni standing section a few years ago. If you want to sit down stay home and watch from your living room couch.

      Until we decide that this is war and we should figuratively not take prisoners, we will not win another another national championship.

    22. Kelly Gruene says:

      Notre Dame is a business. As a business, it has expenses and revenues. It’s operating budget for 2011-12 was $1.2 billion. To maintain its status and to improve its stature, ND has to raise money, a lot of it. Football is just one part of that picture. The current ND endowment is the 14th largest in the country at $6.3 billion. Notre Dame is going to do what it can to enhance its position in every phase, one of which is football. If playing football games in China and Ireland increase awareness of the University abroad, resulting in increased sales and increased diversity in applicants, ND is going to pursue those types of games. If playing football games in San Antonio, Chicago, and Dallas will increase the pool of football recruits from talent-rich areas and at the same time increase awareness of ND in those areas, it is going to pursue those games. Personally, I’m all for it. ND is so much more than just football. Football has certainly help solidify ND’s place in the university landscape but it is not the foundation of the place. The people of ND make it special, not just the football team.

    23. Jason Thompson says:

      We can all agree on some things* and disagree on others**. But you are exactly right that the focus should be on FOOTBALL on matters dealing with the FOOTBALL team (stadium, games, scheduling, travel, etc.)

      * I admittedly know very little about the idea but the China trip is a horrible idea.

      ** We need a jumbotron that would ideally be advertising-free. If ND asked for the money, it could raise it in a day. The jumbotron would accomplish the same thing as more game-related announcements: keep the crowd focused on the game. Replays of good plays, bad calls, etc. all get the crowd excited.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        We somehow got through decades of quality crowds without a video screen. Funny how since the TV timeouts got excessively long, these non-football presentations started being made, and poor coaching lead to sub-par seasons, folks started complaining about the home field advantage. How about we fix those things before spending millions on a television set?

        • Jason Thompson says:

          All those things need to be fixed. The video screen is part of the solution, albeit a very small part. But if you want the university, boosters, alumni, etc. to stop spending money on the football program until it delivers a consistent top 10 program, then you’re asking a lot and taking away the means.

          I was agreeing with you; Notre Dame has it backwards with regards to the football program. “Football at Notre Dame should be all about winning with integrity. If you accomplish that goal, the promotion you seek will follow naturally, and because it is natural and not forced, it will be much more effective.” The promotion you were talking about was for the University. The video screen should promote the football team and the fans in the stadium and the gameday atmosphere.

          But if we don’t start winning consistently, the video screen, field turf, uniforms, etc. are all cheapened. If we do start winning, then people may say it was because ND modernized. But this modernization does not affect, one way or the other, the quality of the football team. It may, however, make the experience more enjoyable for some of the fans and that is where we differ.

    24. When I was a kid I lived over a mile east of the stadium and can remember hearing the crowd (only a little over 57K capacity) roar. As an alumnus and a season ticket holder for over 45 years, I can tell you that the stadium is a tomb compared to the “good old days”.
      No more presentations, let security take the “commercial ref” off the field for interfering, and …for those who shout “Down in front”, get up in back!
      The ADDs need something to occupy their vacuous conscienciousness every second, so let them heed IPod!
      Let’s have a great team and cheer them on as such.

    25. Mark P - ND '79 says:

      Like the mostly-nauseating display just witnessed in London, ND football has morphed from a highly-successful fall spectacle that has drawn millions of alumni and fans to the banks of the St. Joe River, into a garish marketing vehicle that sold its soul for “America’s Got Talent” promos and roller derby uniforms. Many blue-chip high schools recruits that formerly flocked to ND from across the US did so tho’ the odds be great or small — the lousy location, the lousy weather, tough academics, even the absence of the fairer sex until the 70′s — because it was an exclusive club that challenged the best to make it their own. Today, ND is just another “maybe” on a 5-star phenom’s long checklist, since the football program is steered on the path of optimal financial efficiency by suits that measure success in terms of ratings points and logo apparel sales, rather than 10-win seasons and that prehistoric creature called an ND national football championship. A classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

      It is time to return the focus to extraordinary success — without ignoring the values and ethics that have made ND football great for 125 years — and let the corporate sponsors jump on the train as enthusiastic passengers. Their time to drive should be brought to a close.

    26. Regarding paragraphs 2 & 3. I agree with the rest or the article and feel the tailgating gestapo needs to be stopped.

      Wasn’t Rockne’s whole point of playing on the West Coast to promote the University? It seems ND is trying to do that as more and more football schools look to make their schedule easier. Many teams have played in the Chik-Fil-A Classic including Georgia and Tennessee and I rarely hear their fans complain about having to travel for a home or neutral site game. Even VT went to DC.

      Now I don’t know how the negotiations with Navy work but I doubt we get final say on where Navy wants to play that “home” game. Case in point, they are getting sued for money owed and not us.

      Lastly, in 1996 we played in Ireland in November, three weeks later we played at USC. What’s the difference between doing it then and doing it now?

    27. The same can be said for NBC! They really do not do anything about ND, the football program and it’s accomplishments! No profile segment(s) on past and present ND football players. There are two announcers that aren’t even ND guys! In fact one was a USC guy who is now the AD at that school! They talk about the opposing team(s) and critize ND’s play! Painful to watch! Can’t wait for ND and NBC part ways! LET’S NOT FORGET FOOTBALL HAS MADE WHAT ND IS TODAY!!!! ALL THE OTHER SPORTS AND PROGRAMS OFFERED AT ND BENEFIT FROM THE FOOTBALL TEAM AND ITS PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS!!!!!!

    28. D'Omer 79 says:

      Funny, I thought the purpose of the football team was to represent the University and the student body. As an alum, with children who are also graduates, and a professor at a SEC university with a couple of NC in the last decade- a team dedicated only to winning NC is not representative of either the student body, or the university- it is an embarrasing collection of mercenaries (some of whom actually fire guns in dorms). Graduate in 4 years- like the other students you represent. Take a real major. Be a Notre Dame man. Win honorably- or lose that way- but don’t alter the standards to support a NC. I was there for a NC. It was amazing- but when my neighbors bark at me for the quality of the team my standard retort is- “yeah, they weren’t very good today- but I’d still rather have a degree from Notre Dame than from…”

    29. Creds: ND 61-63. Flunked out went into the Navy. I listened to the USC game in 1966 on a shortwave. 51-0. Good memory. The USC coach is reputed to have said “I’ll never lose to that Armenian SOB (Parseghian) again.” (He didn’t. The next year he showed up in SB with O.J.) Returned to ND flunked out again. I never graduated but I do love the place.

      IMO Notre Dame has become the most mercenary place imaginable. Those hideous unis for the Miami game are merely the most recent example.

      While living in Valparaiso, Indiana in 1994 I went to the annual spring game. While waiting in line outside the stadium to get a ticket I noticed the guy standing in line behind me seemed familiar. A few very prosperous looking people who seemed to be recent grads recognized him – it was Tony Rice. They gushed over him and asked to have their picture taken with him and he was very gracious in accommodating them.

      Here’s a guy who 6 years before had led the team to the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP and he has to stand in line to get tickets to see the spring game. Something to be proud of?

      I live in New England now but when I was living in Indiana around 2000 I was told that the play ‘The Vagina Monologues’, which had become an annual occasion during the winter at ND in that period, would be having the opening performance for that year at Washington Hall, and that just HAPPENED to be Ash Wednesday. Some friends of mine had some 3 1/2 x 5 cards printed up in protest and took them to Mass in the Basilica. We were told – very politely but firmly – that we could not distribute them. We went to the radio station and tried to get some air time but were refused, and the students there did not think it was any big deal anyway.

      I still love the place.

    30. I have noticed in many of the above posts the phrase ‘promoting the university’.

      IMO that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. It seems to me to be nothing more than a cover phrase for ‘bringing in as much money under any and all guises’ which is not in itself a bad thing, but let’s not overdo the righteous routine.

      please

      I still love the place

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