Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame…
With the Catholic Church looking ever more like it might need to hire John Rocker’s publicist, I was hoping that the Notre Dame football team might be able to give the denomination some positive vibes this fall.
It appears I was wrong.
The latest controversy surrounding the embattled program resulted in the University’s expulsion of free safety Donald Dykes and strong safety Abram Elam, as well as receiver Lorenzo Crawford, for sexual misconduct.
Although criminal charges have not yet been filed, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Chris Toth said that he would decide by May 15 whether to file charges.
I’ll bet NBC takes a closer look at the football players or teams they spotlight in the future. First they hire former NFL player O.J. Simpson and now they sign for the rights to broadcast Irish football.
The sad truth is since Lou Holtz resigned, Notre Dame football has taken a turn for the worse. I’m not sure if 10 showings per day of Rudy could help this latest debacle.
Here is some of the litany…

Bob Davie, who took over after Holtz left, was fired in early December of 2001 for not winning enough football games.
Oddly enough, Notre Dame gave Davie a contract extension in 2000 because they believed he could deliver the Fighting Irish another championship. But after an 0-3 start in the 2001 campaign, Davie was finished as coach.
His replacement, George O’Leary, resigned less than a week after accepting the position.
He admitted he lied about playing the game in college in his personal biography.
“Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans,” O’Leary said in a statement release by the school.
It turns out O’Leary never earned a letter playing football at New Hampshire even though his biography said he earned three. In fact, he never played in a game.
“The integrity and credibility of Notre Dame is impeccable, and with that in mind, I will resign my position as head football coach effective Dec. 24, 2001.”
In addition, O’Leary had falsified his academic achievements as well. I guess he was covering all bases.
On Dec. 17. 1999, Notre Dame was placed on probation for the first time in school history.
The violations found by the NCAA committee were:
On numerous occasions from June 1995 through January 1998, a representative of the institution’s athletics interests provided extra benefits to several football student-athletes and their friends that were contrary to NCAA extra-benefits legislation.
During the fall of 1998 and summer of 1999, a university employee provided extra benefits to seven student-athletes.
During the 1998 football season, a football student-athlete provided his girlfriend, who was a university employee, and her friend, complimentary admissions to three football games to repay a loan.
On one occasion, a student-athlete paid a university employee to prepare an academic paper for a course in which the student-athlete was enrolled.
A secondary violation resulting from the use of long distance telephone services by student-athletes while at a bowl game.
The penalties imposed by the NCAA were:
The maximum number of athletically related financial aid awards in football will be reduced by one each during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 academic years. The institution will have a total of 84 scholarships available each of those years.
But that was overshadowed by the schools first seven-loss season in 36 years.
Long gone are the days Knute Rockne and Ara Parseghian.
Rockne led Notre Dame to undefeated seasons in 1919 and 1920, but it wasn’t until 1924 that Rockne won his first consensus National Championship. It was the 1924 team that included the Four Horseman backfield of QB Harry Stuhldreher, HB Jim Crowley, HB Don Miller and FB Elmer Layden.
Rockne was also known for being a great motivator whose pre-game speeches and quotes have become legendary. His most famous speech was his “Win One fir the Gipper” half time pep talk that motivated the Irish to an upset victory against Army in 1928.
In 1929 and 1930, Rockne’s Irish finished with back-to-back undefeated National Championship seasons. The Notre Dame dynasty appeared to be unstoppable.
But in the spring of 1931, tragedy struck as Rockne died in a plane crash over Bazaar, Kansas.
Parseghian delivered his first national title to Notre Dame in 1966. The Irish won the championship with a 9-0-1 season.
While Parseghian continued to have success over the next few seasons, his 1966 title was criticized due to the tie against Michigan State. In 1973, Parseghian silenced his critics with an undefeated National Championship season, which he capped off in the Sugar Bowl with a 24-23 victory against previously unbeaten Alabama.
Current coach Tyrone Willingham must start his own dynasty. Though his tenure is off to a rocky start, perhaps he could start by taking a page from the Notre Dame Victory March.
“What thou’ the odds be great or small, old Notre Dame will win over all.”

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