American Crow

The Zeros Never Lie

In Chicago Sports, Notre Dame on December 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm
Was the lecture on Mammon not in the curriculum?

Notre Dame continues to amaze with their altruistic vision of money grubbing fraud.  Seriously, if Notre Dame was my secret santa, they would gift wrap a piece of dog poo, attempt to convince me that the gift is actually something other than dog poo, then claim offense for any suggestion that they would ever gift wrap dog poo.

In my opinion, college universities with major football and basketball programs have clouded the line between themselves and their professional brethren.  The money made by the 6 major equity conferences (Atlantic Coast/ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern/SEC) and the independent Notre Dame have tainted college sports into basically creating an alternative professional sports league.

The worst offender is the University of Notre Dame.  The Catholic university with the motto “Life, Sweetness, and Hope” should add greed, arrogance, and being disingenuous.  The football team has an exclusive contract with NBC for an estimated $9 million per year through 2015.  Back in 2005, Notre Dame signed a 10 year / $60 million apparel contract with Adidas.  It has a $5.5 billion endowment, but still rose tuition 4.4% during a recession.  It now costs an undergraduate student $48,845 (including room and board) to attend Notre Dame, and that doesn’t include the additional $230 to attend the 8 home games.

I feel the university has really gone downhill since the George O’Leary debacle of 2001, where Notre Dame hired the Georgia Tech coach without fully checking his inaccurate resume, which included falsifying his academic credentials and attending a non-existent school.  Subsequently, they hire Tyrone Willingham, whose firing 3 years later represented the first time in school history that a coach was fired before their initial contract expired.  Next was Charlie Weis.  After posting a 5-2 record in his first half of his first year, Notre Dame officials extended his contract to 10-years, which was to be worth a reported $30–40 million through 2015.  The extension was a horrible deal as Weis was fired this year.  No wonder tuition is going up, they have to pay Charlie Weis for the next 6 years to do nothing.

Obviously, the Willingham and Weis hires were bad calls.  Oddly enough, both Willingham and Weis had books written about them touting a “return/rise to glory.”:

I was surprised to find these listed under non-fiction.  I guess these books are slightly less presumptuous than the Tribune book “This is The Year” touting the Cubs 2008 season just before losing to the Dodgers in the playoffs.  Seriously, we need a special place in the Dewey Decimal System for books that jump the gun, which would be right next to books on Global Warming.

Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick hired Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly to be the next head football coach at Notre Dame.  Kelly just won the Big East conference with an undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats squad (which in another example of NCAA fraud will not be given an opportunity to play for a national championship) and whose team will play in the Sugar Bowl against Florida on January 1st.  Notre Dame’s ego was on full display as they hired Kelly on December 11th thereby preventing him from coaching his undefeated squad in their bowl game.  Hey ND, way to think about Cincinnati’s students.  Even the NFL prevents interviews for any coaches or assistant coaches with teams still in the playoffs.  But then again, this is Notre Dame, who unapologetically writes their own rules.  Couldn’t Notre Dame have waited one month before beginning their coaching search?  Couldn’t they come to a verbal agreement and announce the hiring after the bowl game?  Couldn’t the NCAA write a rule preventing interviews between the regular and bowl season?  This situation is completely set up to the advantage of the money makers, in this example the university and coaches.

Did Kelly express remorse?

“Transition is very difficult…Those situations are extremely emotional. I handled myself in a way that was up front and honest. I’m forever grateful for the players at the University of Cincinnati, for what they gave me. They gave me this opportunity at Notre Dame.”

What a jackass.  Transition is difficult…but not difficult enough when you get millions.  Glad you feel you were up front and honest even though your old players don’t agree.  Way to pat yourself on the back.  You get to go off and make millions.  Players have to commit to the university, get paid nothing, and have no head coach for their bowl game.

For a more realistic perspective, ask Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard how he feels:

“I heard everything I needed to know: ‘I accepted the Notre Dame job.’  He went for the money. I’m fairly disgusted with the situation, that they let it last this long.  I don’t like it…I feel there was a little lying in the thing. I feel like he’d known this the whole time. Everybody knows Notre Dame’s got the money. I kind of had a gut feeling he was going to stay just because he told me he was going to be here…Just blindsided by the fact that it’s a business.  People lose sight of that. At the end of the day, NCAA football is a business. People have got to make business decisions.”

During a news conference announcing the Weis firing, Swarbrick patronized Weis by discussing his national championship…in academics:

“You know, Charlie did win a National Championship; he won a National Championship when his football program finished first in graduation success rate this year, and that is an important contribution and one which we value very highly.”

Weis’ players were not just good classroom performers but the best performers in the country as he won a National Championship…in academics.  Apparently, winning an academic national championship is still not good enough to keep a job.  Imagine if the opposite were true.  Could anyone imagine Notre Dame firing Weis after winning a National Championship in football but only graduating 1/3 of the team (à la Bob Huggins)?  I guess if you are looking for excellence, its more economically feasible to have it on the field then in the classroom.

So much for high standards.  Notre Dame likes to publicize its standards when financially to their advantage.  They put a contract renewal with Taco Bell on hold due to their lack of disclosure regarding labor standards.  While Adidas has the same problems (which came under fire at Michigan and Wisconsin back in 2007), there is no talk about ending that contract.  The difference here is the Taco Bell’s contract is for hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the Adidas deal is worth millions.

Notre Dame has transitioned into exactly what they professed they would never be…just like everyone else.  They are no different from Alabama, Oklahoma, or USC.  Well, slightly different.  They still can’t win games.

It’s gotten so bad that even Jesus doesn’t want to coach there.


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