Blog Entry

Football, please stay on the ground

Posted on: October 28, 2010 3:09 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2010 12:00 am

Well, this is the end of filming practice from above isn't it? Right now. Better yet, five minutes ago.

It has to be the end. There is no reasonable explanation for this antiquated tradition that led to the death of Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan on Wednesday. Notre Dame did it because everyone else did it. Those essentially were ND AD Jack Swarbrick's words at Thursday's news conference.

And that begs the obvious question, why?

Why put a human (or two) up in what amounts to an unstable cherry picker to film a football practice? For decades now, teams have put the value of having an end-zone shot of a scrimmage above that of a human life. What, for a better camera angle?

Someone, at some point had to question it over the years. And I'm guessing those someones were shot down by football tradition. The same tradition that tells us that the NFL can't possibly go on unless defenders can play as wild and wreckless as they want.

Yeah, that tradition. Reading blogger Adam Jacobi's interview with an anonymous video assistant turned my stomach. When a thunderstorm forced the assistant's metal lift to come down, Jacobi reported the assistant said coaches "were not pleased" and "requested" that the video guys get back up in the air as soon as possible.

The mentality these days is that if you don't put a human 100 feet in the air with a camera, you can't possibly win. It must be impossible to evaluate a team just by, you know, watching them at field level.

If 100 feet is good, then why isn't 200 feet better? OSHA is investigating at Notre Dame. I'm sure they will find negligence somewhere. That's what we want out of cases like this. The wind was blowing in gusts up to 50 mph. Sullivan put out some chilling tweets while up in the air, finally tweeting, "Holy ----," 45 minutes before the tower came tumbling down.

But this has to be about more than Notre Dame. This has to lead to the elimination of the filming from these towers. Nationwide. Now. The NFL and American Football Coaches Association have to take the lead even if the NCAA doesn't.

It just seems silly that another person is put at risk by going up in these things, wind or no wind. I've been caught in students bum-rushing fields at the conclusion of games the past two weeks. Why was it allowed? No matter how many trespassers were arrested (Missouri) or how many were told to stay off the field (Wisconsin), it was tacitly approved.

Why? It was tradition. Schools could end these episodes tomorrow if they wanted to. Hire more security. Ring the field with police on horses. But that costs money and maybe the home team is gambling that it will lose and won't have to worry about it.

This case is simpler, and more tragic. Declan Sullivan should be the last casualty sacrificed at the altar of tradition.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: AFCA, NCAA, NFL, Notre Dame

Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:28 am

Football, please stay on the ground

Hardly ever do I agree with Dennis Dodd and I don't agree with this entire article howver, there are parts that I agree with.

There are still many things to be determined, I have seen and read so much. Was this a burst a wind that came out of no where? Even if it was there should be safe guards in place when any person, young or old, is off the ground 50 to 60 ft...heck 20 feet for that matter.

Now we have a head coach and I don't know how many assistants that were involved in practice, each with their own set of responsibilites. Which coach was responsible for this particular elelment of practice. While certainly no intent to harm anyone was there you have to know that person is hurting, this will be something that he will have to live with the rest of their lives.

In the end everything will come out and there will be punishment, punishment but never never will that family ever be the same.

Right now the only thing that needs to be taking place is lifting that family up in prayer and support for the tremendous loss they have had. Please give them at least a little time to grieve and then hopefully by the grace of God receive some type of peace.

I do think that Notre Dame should have cancelled today's game, wearing a patch or whatever they will be doing is one thing but not the right thing in this case, in my opinion. This is what disappoints in the head coach and the AD. Playing this game is their decision and one that I feel is just not right. There is nothing that makes playing this game morally right.

Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: October 29, 2010 11:25 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

I know what Dodd is trying to say but I would like to point out the Dallas Cowboys keept it on the ground last year when weather moved in and there was still a human toll. Sometimes a act of God is a act of God

Since: Jan 23, 2007
Posted on: October 29, 2010 11:02 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

You forgot Mother Nature in your culpability list...

Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: October 29, 2010 8:45 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

It is obvious that some one is to my opinion it is the coach and/or AD.....and they should surely lose their jobs, if not the criminal negligence and civil suits as the RIGHT thing ND!  

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: October 29, 2010 5:37 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

This is truly one of the dumbest articles I have ever read,to take a terrible accident that could have been avoided and now say we should stay on the ground is insane.It was poor judgement by the student and who ever  let him go up with the wind gusting as badly as it was,it's sad and i feel for the victims family....but according to Dodd now all construction workers and everyone else should stay off lifts because of one accident,so maybe we shouldn't drive because of all the accidents and deaths that occur...etc,the whole article is stupid and a waste of ink,where does CBS get these guys?

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:52 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

No, no, NO Dodd!  Please use a little common sense here rather than a knee jerk reactionary stance.  Any operator of these machines should know that they are not safe to use with over 25 miles per hour winds.  Thus, this is a tragic case of negligence and there should be compensation to the family.  Of course, that will never bring Declan back, but it is the only thing that can possibly be done to compensate the family.  Giving one penny by a way of a fine to OSHA would be a travesty.  Yeah, someone dies so lets give the government some money.  It's obvious OSHA didn't, and cannot, stop a tragedy such as this from occuring, so paying them is just another way for the government to profit off of someone's death.  Any money/fine paid to anyone should go directly to the family, and it should be enough to open people's eyes to the danger of negligently putting someone in danger.

I'll give you credit for knowing your calloege football, but please stick that.  The reactionary positions taken by so-called journalists are incredible.

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:43 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

How could you possibly blame the kid who died for this? For someone who just said that the subject of death should be treaded on lightly, it is unbelievable that you could even say that the accident was partially his fault. It was a tragic accident and the blame could be placed in many places, but please don't place any of that blame on the kid who died.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:39 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

With trepidation becuase we should all tread lightly on this subject to respect the feelings of the family of the deceased, I have to disagree with Dodd. 

When you think of "college football tradition"  do you really think of the "tradition" of filiming from siccor lifts?  Dodd's opinion is an over-reaction to an accident.  There is no history of this kind of thing happening a such a frequent basis that it deserves to be called a problem or as Dodd put it, "tradition".  It was an accident.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Like most accidents, it was preventable, and there is plenty of blame to go around.  Siccior lifts are used by the millions across the country safely to do contruction, maintiance, and yes, even film.  They not unsafe when used with a little common sense.  All football progams should very comfortable to continue using them to film, assuming they don't make the same lapse in judgement as was made in this instance.

The top authority at the practice is the one to be held most accoutable.  They were there.  They knew the weather conditions.  They had the authority to make the call to lower the lift.  The university of ND holds liability, but not responsibility.  Not without blame is the kid himself.  He wasn't FORCED to be in a dangerous situation.  Sure he would have lost his job, or been scolded had he stopped filming, but he made that choice (peer pressured?) to continue.

Its a sad story.  Its not an epidemic problem in college athletics.

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:31 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

I drove by our local regional state college just yesterday, and they were using a scissor truck to film their football practice.  With as much money as they have tied up in athletic facilities, I don't know why they can't spend a few extra dollars to construct a permanent, sturdy tower to film practices.

I just remembered.  On another part of the campus, the Army ROTC guys have constructed a permanent, sturdy tower to practice rappelling.  Maybe they could do the same kind of thing for the athletic teams.

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:22 pm

Football, please stay on the ground

I drove by our local regional state college just yesterday, and they were using a scissor truck to film their football practice.  With as much money as they have tied up in athletic facilities, I don't know why they can't spend a few extra dollars to construct a permanent, sturdy tower to film practices.

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