Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:40 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Big 12 right now, not the least of which is who will be the conference's next commissioner. Chuck Neinas, who was brought on to replace Dan Beebe, has no interest in removing the word "acting" from his title, and the conference has put a search committee together to find a replacement.
Although his school isn't even an official member of the conference yet, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck's name has been brought up as a potential candidate for the job, though it doesn't sound like he's all that interested in taking it. Luck told the Charleston Gazette that it's not really in his plans.
"I'd rather be on the search committee," Luck told the paper.
"No, I'm very happy with what I'm doing. We have lots to do here yet. I'm happy being on [school president] Jim Clements' team."
Others brought up as potential candidates include Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, and NCAA interim vice president of championships and alliances Greg Shaheen.
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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:47 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that it had exercised the option on Brian Kelly's contract that extended his deal through the 2016 season.
"While Coach Kelly and I are focused on the additional work that must be done to reach our goals, I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the past twoyears.” said athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement.
"Our football team’s performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community reflect Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a program that will be able to sustain success in the long run, and to doing so in a manner consistent with Notre Dame’s values and tradition."
Kelly's first two seasons in South Bend haven't brought the return to national prominence that the school and fans had been hoping for, as the Irish have gone 16-10. Along with consecutive 8-5 seasons, the Irish also find themselves in the same boat as they did last offseason, getting ready to head into spring practice without a starter at quarterback as Tommy Rees is expected to compete with Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson in the offseason following the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas.
Kelly has also seen three of his assistants leave to take jobs elsewhere, though the school also announced two-year deals for all the assistants that remain on his staff.
On the positive side of things, Notre Dame has seen a lot of improvement on the defensive side of ball thanks to the recruits that Kelly and his staff have brought in. The real question, however, is if Kelly will be around through the end of his contract and if Notre Dame will finally start living up to the lofty expectations routinely placed on the team.
Eight-win seasons will only keep the peace for so long.
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Posted on: October 13, 2011 3:05 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 3:06 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
I've seen a game inside Notre Dame Stadium, and if you're a fan of college football, it's truly a wonderful place to see a game. The tradition of the sport is evident everywhere you look. That being said, it's not exactly the loudest stadium in the country, as the crowd is a bit more reserved than most.
The last time I was there I was about 15 feet away from the student section, and those kids may as well have been studying.
Well, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has noticed this too, and he wants to do something about it. The Irish are off this weekend, but will be hosting rival USC next Saturday, so Swarbrick took some time out to ask Notre Dame students to yell and scream like they never have before.
"We have a really important football game the Saturday you return from fall break," Swarbrick told a dining room full of students on Wednesday afternoon. "I need two things from you to make that night successful. I need your passion. I travel around with our team, and our stadium is the quietest place we play. I want you guys on that Saturday night at least once to make USC have a false start penalty."
"We haven't had a night game here in a long time because people are concerned about having a game that late and the consequences it will have on our conduct. You can solve that problem. So help us on that Saturday night to make the loudest, most raucous, but safe environment in college football."
My suggestion would be to spike the hot chocolate, but I think we all know that's not likely to happen.
I think the biggest problem here is that Notre Dame Stadium is a bowl shape. The acoustics of stadiums shaped like that don't really keep the sound inside the stadium like they do in the multi-tiered stadiums. So even if fans scream bloody murder all night long, I'm not sure they can have that large of an impact on the game.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 7:01 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Big 12 has thrown out some big names for potential replacements, with perhaps none being bigger than the old conference expansion standby, Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the Big 12, if Notre Dame is the conference's Plan A for replacing Texas A&M, then it's already time to move on to Plan B.
In a talk with the American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick repeated the same party line he's been repeating for years now. Notre Dame isn't interested in your conference.
“Our priority — and our clear priority — is maintaining our football independence and continuing to build our relationship with the Big East with our other sports,” said Swarbrick.
Sorry, Big 12, but it's not going to happen, and if you ever felt otherwise, you were just being foolish.
If Notre Dame was to ever decide that it wanted to join a conference, the Big Ten would be it's first destination. Not only has the Big Ten invited the school numerous times, but tradition wise, it just makes a lot more sense. The school has longstanding rivalries against three Big Ten schools already in Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, so the transition wouldn't be that difficult to make.
Plus, even if Notre Dame wanted to join the Big 12, would it even make sense for the Big 12 to want Notre Dame in the fold? Think about it, one of the main reasons there is such unrest in the Big 12 in the first place is the preferential treatment many in the conference feel Texas gets, particularly with the new arrival of the Longhorn Network.
Well guess what Notre Dame has hopes of launching in the future? That's right, it's own network. So how would adding a second school that gets to play by its own rules help matters any?
Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Q: We spoke a few months ago about Texas’ network deal. What about a Notre Dame Network? What’s the reality of that? What are some of the ideas that are being brainstormed about with that right now?
It does make sense for Notre Dame to pursue this option, as having its own network would be another revenue source. Plus, as Swarbrick himself states, Notre Dame is a national program. While Texas may have some fans around the country, the majority of the school's fan base can be found within Texas' borders. That's simply not the case for Notre Dame, where fans range from New York to Florida to Chicago and to California. This is thanks in large part due to the school's landmark deal with NBC back in 1991, and now it seems that Notre Dame would like to keep all that revenue to itself. Of course, when the school plans on launching the network remains to be seen, as its current deal with NBC runs through 2015.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 6:21 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
In an e-mail released to Notre Dame students and faculty this afternoon, Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins took responsibility for Declan Sullivan's death on behalf of the school.
While Jenkins's e-mail stands in slight contrast to the more deposition-like statement of athletic director Jack Swarbrick from last week, it does appear that Jenkins is standing behind football coach Brian Kelly for the long term.
In particular, Jenkins praises Kelly's "character and values," calling them in line with Notre Dame's highest standards but at the same time failing to reconcile them with the Sullivan accident in any way. Indeed, it's telling that the only voice to come out of Notre Dame with any acknowledgment of responsibility in the accident isn't coming from the athletic department. If Kelly and Swarbrick follow suit in the coming days, however, then Jenkins' statement about Kelly's values will be vindicated, even at great financial cost to Notre Dame. But that's a small price to pay given the situation, isn't it?
Here's the full text of the e-mail:
Dear Notre Dame students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends,
The tragic accident that took Declan Sullivan's life just over a week ago, the Mass of Remembrance in the Basilica, and his family's faith-filled funeral for him this week have given each of us the chance to grieve, remember and pray. Declan was a bright and energetic young man who lived his life with passion. We will miss him, and we believe that he is in the loving embrace of our Lord.
Over this past week, I have had the great privilege of meeting with and trying to provide some measure of support to Declan's parents, sister, brother and other members of his family. Many Notre Dame faculty, staff and students also have reached out to offer their assistance. Yet the Sullivan family, through their incredible grace and courage, has given us support and an example of how to respond. They ministered to us as we tried to minister to them.
There is no greater sadness for a university community than the death of one of its students under any circumstances. Yet this loss is more devastating, for Declan died in a tragic accident while in our care. For that, I am profoundly sorry. We are conducting an investigation and we must be careful not to pre-judge its results, but I will say this: Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe. We at Notre Dame - and ultimately I, as President - are responsible. Words cannot express our sorrow to the Sullivan family and to all involved.
I am committed to determining why this accident happened and to ensuring the safety of our students. We have been conducting an internal investigation to examine this accident from every possible perspective and to draw conclusions and formulate recommendations for the future. In order to ensure that our inquiry has been thorough, unbiased and accurate, I have asked Dr. Peter Likins, former President of the University of Arizona, to provide an external review of our inquiry, and he has graciously accepted.
In selecting someone to review our investigation, I sought an individual experienced in higher education, with an impeccable reputation for integrity, intellect and independence. In Dr. Likins, we are fortunate to have just such a man. He brings numerous credentials to this assignment: as a world-renowned engineer; as a university administrator who served as provost at Columbia and president at Lehigh and Arizona; as a highly regarded member of numerous NCAA committees; and as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
Investigations and external reviews such as this take time, but I assure you that, when complete, we will issue a public report on the outcome, including information on the events of the afternoon of Oct. 27, any institutional ramifications, and recommendations for safety policies in the future.
Finally, in light of what I believe to be unfounded and unfair commentary and speculation, I want to say something about Coach Brian Kelly. Coach Kelly was hired not only because of his football expertise, but because we believed his character and values accord with the highest standards of Notre Dame. All we have seen since he came to Notre Dame, and everything we have learned in our investigation to date, have confirmed that belief. For those reasons I am confident that Coach Kelly has a bright future leading our football program.
Thank you for your concern, and your prayers. At the darkest moments, the love, and care, and faith of the Notre Dame family shines most brightly.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 12:26 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 12:27 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's been a week since Declan Sullivan died while filming a Notre Dame practice from atop a scissor-lift on an extremely windy day in South Bend and throughout the midwest. Since Sullivan's death many people have spent their time trying to find somebody to blame for the death, while the school has begun its own investigation into it.
While nothing has been decided yet, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick made it clear that he won't be resigning, nor will he ask head coach Brian Kelly to resign because of the tragedy that took place in an interview with USA Today columnist Christine Brennan.
"The fact that Declan died in this tragic accident means we didn't do all we can," Swarbrick said. "There's no attempt or no interest in moving away from the fact that we should have, we must have, been able to do something to protect Declan. We'll think about that the rest of our lives."
The odds that any investigation that the school conducts will conclude that any one person, be it Brian Kelly or any other member of the Notre Dame staff, is at fault are somewhere between slim and none. Still, the fact that Swarbrick says that the school should have done more does indicate that the school knows it carries some of the blame, but it's not going to cost anybody their job as much as it is going to cost the school a lot of money should Sullivan's family decide to file a lawsuit.