Why Notre Dame Doesn’t Deserve a National Championship

You may not like sports.

You may be tired of hearing coworkers and friends talk about the BCS National Championship Game, where the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

But there are a few reasons you should care about Notre Dame not winning the national championship this year, reasons that should make you despise this school and everything it stands for as it makes a mockery out of the values it claims to hold dear.

While a fantastic academic organization, Notre Dame is among the universities suing the Obama administration over the birth control mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act. They are so against their employees being able to make healthcare decisions for themselves that they are willing to sue the government (while getting federal money for research and from students attending their school) to stop the insurance companies from paying for birth control for employees.

Not surprisingly, the school itself is no ally to the secular community. But, beyond that, the football program and athletics department have been complacent in abuses committed by both staff and student athletes, resulting in two tragic student deaths that could have been avoided.

In October of 2010, the Midwest was being buffeted by winds exceeding 50 mph. Most sports teams that practice outdoors — including football — took their practices to inside facilities or canceled them outright. Notre Dame, too, did that on a Tuesday. On Thursday, though, under the same conditions (sustained winds about 40 mph and gusts up to 53 mph), Notre Dame’s head football coach Brian Kelly decided that his team couldn’t bear to practice inside. His team was too tough for that, so outside they went.

This all would have been fine, except Kelly’s staff also told a student assistant, Declan Sullivan, to go up on a scissor lift to film practice as usual. Scissor lifts are devices built to withstand no more than 25 mph winds and say so all over them. Sullivan knew the conditions didn’t feel right and sent out two ominous tweets that afternoon:

Less than an hour later, the lift blew over and crashed into the street. Sullivan was taken to the hospital, where he soon died. Meanwhile, Coach Kelly kept practice going 25 minutes after the lift had crashed. Because when practice is important enough to put a student’s life at risk, you can be damn well sure it isn’t important enough to stop it when that student is seriously injured. No one was ever charged in Declan’s death and a civil suit was settled out of court. Kelly is still Notre Dame’s head football coach.

That isn’t the worst disservice done to Notre Dame’s students, though.

In August of 2010, Lizzy Seeberg, a student at Notre Dame’s sister school, St. Mary’s, accused a Notre Dame football player of sexually assaulting her.

Ten days later, no one in the administration seemed to be taking her accusation seriously: Notre Dame hadn’t even investigated the player and had only talked with her the day before, nine days after reporting the assault. She was receiving threatening text messages from the player’s friends, warning her, “Don’t do anything you would regret. Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea.”

Lizzy committed suicide that day.

The football player, who was never charged with assault, never missed a practice or a down of football, and never had his name released to the public, will be lining up with a chance to win a national championship on January 7th.

This is not an uncommon occurrence on Notre Dame’s campus. Another student accused a Notre Dame player of raping her in February of 2011. She didn’t report it immediately because of what had happened in Lizzy’s case: if no one cared then, why would they care now? This student also received threatening text messages from the player’s friends. Read the whole story here about the systematic dismissal of rape culture, especially by athletes, on Notre Dame’s campus and what Lizzy went through.

Like I said, Notre Dame may be a good academic institution, but the culture of placing athletics, prestige, and reputation above truth and justice is a toxic one. It is in many ways similar to the Catholic Church itself, exalting tradition, the reputation of the church, and the infallibility of its leaders above all else.

This is why you should care about this game.

Yes, the University of Alabama probably focuses too much of its time and resources on its football program and that’s a separate discussion altogether. I’m not a fan of Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, either. But Alabama doesn’t tolerate rape and abuse from its football players and Saban doesn’t put his student staff’s lives at risk.

So even if football’s not your thing or you think college sports are a waste of resources, this outcome is worth caring about. With a victory, Notre Dame’s sins will be pushed even further out of the spotlight. All the donors, alumni, fans, and students will see is a big, shiny crystal trophy and proof that the way their athletic department is run works. They can forget about Declan and Lizzie and the consequences of an organization with too much power. If Notre Dame loses, maybe — just maybe — people will think about the sins of the program and recognize that this program needs to change.

If you know someone supporting Notre Dame football, ask them if they know about these cases. Ask them how they can support an institution that allows an athletic department to come before the lives of students. Think about what it says about them.

***Edit***: Portions of this piece have been changed since the original posting.

About jkmiami89

Jessica Kirsner is the Development Associate with the Secular Student Alliance. She graduated in the Spring of 2012 from the University of Miami with a BA in biology.

  • baal

    The family of the guy who died on the scissor lift should sue. That strikes me as a clear case of negligence or similar.

    The two stories also under line the problem of authority and authoritarians. You’d hope that clearer minds would have pushed for reconsideration of these management level decisions and the management would have listened. Even if you think the school was ok in its choices, the mere fact of deaths means the school needs to evaluate what would be the least amount of change that would have prevented those deaths or reduced their chances of happening. It’s what moral folks do.

    • matt in memphis

      As for the scissor lift situation, the family and university settled out of court, meaning that the school agreed to give the family a large sum of money and the family agreed not to formally file a lawsuit. But yes, had it gone to trial, the family would have almost certainly been able to prove negligence.and obtained a great deal of money.

      • baal

        Thanks for the update.

  • Gus Snarp

    Holy crap. How did I not hear these stories? How are these not major headline news? How they hell is a football coach not summarily dismissed when a student dies because of his negligence? Up until now I have disliked Notre Dame because it’s a Catholic school, and for purely shallow reasons because Brian Kelly screwed over my Alma Mater, but this is beyond the pale. This man should not be responsible for students any more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Scoggin/100000044792747 Aaron Scoggin

      I also never heard of any of this. I’m pretty good about reading the goings-on of things, but wow.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I have always wanted to attend a football bowl game in order to wave a banner proclaiming: MATT 6:-56.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      I think you’re missing a number or two there…

    • Greg Gay

      There’s no verse negative 56 nor even a positive 56 in Matthew 6. I bet you mean Matthew 6:5-6 about not praying in public. Don’t forget to wear a rainbow wig.

  • DZ

    First, get the coach’s name spelled correctly, if you’re going to write an aggressive piece like this and rely on things like, you know, facts. Second, can you produce evidence that Kelly “forced” Sullivan to go up in the lift? If you can’t, that’s a pretty strong accusation to make. And pretty irresponsible, as well.

    You can not like Notre Dame and not like Catholics, but falsely claiming that Kelly forced Sullivan up there is irresponsible and lazy at best, and libel at worse. But of course the coach has more important things to do right now than to sue you.

    • http://twitter.com/jkmiami89 Jessica Kirsner

      I have been around a major college football program at the University of Miami. I was in the band, attended several practices (that were NOT public procatices) and had met the coaches. Both Coach Al Golden and Randy Shannon before him knew EVERYTHING that was happening at a practice, and it was all planned out by them. I was working off of that assumption.

      Regardless, a football coach is like a CEO: he (or she) is responsible for everything that happens at the program. That includes students being put in risky positions. There is a reason that the school settled with the family: they did wrong.

      I am sorry for the misspelling: that was an unacceptable oversight and has been fixed.

      • DZ

        Thanks for replying. I read this blog often, so it’s not like I’m coming from a hostile place. But “I’ve been around a major college football program, played in the band and attended some practices” is way different than “I know for a fact that Brian Kelly forced Declan Sullivan up in that lift.”

        Furthermore, it seems like your first and second paragraphs contradict. So a football coach is a CEO, and he is ultimately responsible. But what CEO knows everything that happens in an office on a given day (or, in this case, at a practice)?

        But that previous paragraph is mostly a distraction. You still haven’t backed up the claim: Brian Kelly forced Declan Sullivan up in the lift. You have that claim hyperlinked, but there is no evidence of that in the linked article.

        If you can’t back it up, I would change the language. It’s best to swallow your pride and make an edit when you realize you’re wrong than to keep something that is not only wrong, but also a source of immense pain, no doubt, for everyone involved – coach, family, etc.

    • DZ

      Oh good – the name was finally spelled correctly. How about producing evidence that Kelly forced the student up there? Care to back that one up?

    • Gus Snarp

      “Forced” may or may not be an accurate word, but he decided to practice in high winds, and he’s responsible for every student involved in that practice. Even if he only “allowed” the student to go up in that lift, he’s responsible and he should have stopped it.

      But even if he didn’t directly order it, if you’re the student responsible for getting practice footage from the lift at a big time college football program, and the coach says a regular practice is going ahead, and has not exempted you from getting that footage, do you really think you’re in a position to decide on your own not to go up?

      • DZ

        I think the first phrase of your first sentence makes my point: He may or may not have forced him up there, but it fits with the extreme anger this writer has for Notre Dame, so let’s just go with it and see if it sticks, shall we?

        I have a lot of problems with Catholics, but from my understanding of this situation, the people in positions of authority – the head coach, the assistant coaches, the student manager responsible for the film crew taping practices – were heartbroken about this. I’m sure many people have regretted since that day not having more common sense.

        But to take that as some kind of evidence for a “win-at-all-costs-no-matter-how-many-students-need-to-die-for-us-to-get-back-on-top” mentality is just a bridge too far. It was dumb. It was a tragic mistake. Adults should have known better. But what? He was killed because they want to win too much? She should have stopped earlier.

        • Gus Snarp

          That they were heartbroken doesn’t imply that there isn’t a win at all costs mentality. I don’t think they’re truly callous after the fact, but football was placed before safety. This student shouldn’t have been up in the lift, period, and Kelly is ultimately responsible, but I have found more details (which I’m going to post in a separate, top level comment), and they seem to conveniently let him off the hook, since there is another adult outside of Kelly’s command chain who was responsible for lift operation, who would appear to be the most responsible individual, and the one who, as far as I can tell from the report, put in place inadequate safety precautions.

        • http://twitter.com/jkmiami89 Jessica Kirsner

          Brian Kelly continued practice for 25 minutes after the lift fell. That implies a lack of compassion from him.

          • DZ

            Could be. I don’t know him. I’ll bet if he knew a student died or was hurt, he would have stopped practice. Maybe he should have stopped practice to at least check. I wasn’t there. But clearly you have made up your mind that he is going to win the championship, dammit, no matter how many students need to die, so there may be no profit in debating his character.

            I just wish your post was better researched and less vindictive. Life is more complicated, and often more painful, than some anti-Christian fantasy about how awful all of those people are. These are real lives, not merely characters for you to use to make a point.

            • SphericalBunny

              I too, have no clue about the facts surrounding the Kelly/Sullivan situation. Would you like to comment on the facts surrounding the rest of the piece (rape and sexual assault apparently being a common enough occurrence on campus that it even worries long-term supporters such as Ann Therese Palmer). How about pontificating on the idea that, say, Lizzy Seeberg, was just mental; and lived in a world so saturated with slut/virgin mentality that she couldn’t stand living in a world were she transgressed these ‘morals’?* How about a comment on the linked article that claims a “theology professor Jean Porter sees it, “Most of my colleagues and almost all of my students tend to be very protective of the institution and our image, and they’re not eager to look too closely at anything that might raise questions.”” and “”I’ve asked a number of young women, ‘What are your thoughts about the Lizzy Seeberg case?’ ” said Holy Cross Fr. Wilson D. Miscamble, who teaches diplomatic history, ‘and I’m struck by the, I don’t want to say lack of charity, but their reaction is, ‘She was so foolish to go to his room.’” I hope you’ve read the quote by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, but I’m also hoping he’s retired.

              I think you’re correct in questioning the factual aspects of this report; but please don’t get bogged down by inconsistencies when there are humongous disturbances to comment on.

              *Sorry people, but it’s a hypothetical that still makes a point

              • DZ

                Sorry, but I’m not sure what you mean. What do you want me to comment on? The blogger is suggesting that the head football coach killed a student. Seems like this claim needs a little nuance.

                ND’s campus definitely has a strange sexual culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if the football players get special treatment. I would be even less surprised if this were the case at nearly every school with big-time sports in the country. Does that make it okay? Of course not. Is this writer unfairly picking on Notre Dame because it’s Catholic. Duh.

          • Gus Snarp

            Unfortunately, the deadspin article appears to be the only source for that 25 minutes. Their source link is dead, and the Notre Dame report doesn’t support that. It asserts that Kelly was one of the first people on the scene after the lift toppled, and that he then gathered the players, informed them of what happened, said a prayer, and ended practice early. The report may leave out a twenty-five minute attempt to continue practice, I don’t know, but I don’t find a reliable source for that. It seems unlikely, in fact, that if a lift fell through the fence surrounding the practice field, and into the street, that anyone in their right mind would attempt to continue practice.

            I am less fond, apparently, of Notre Dame, and collegiate athletics in general, than DZ, and I think the underlying thesis of this piece is sound, but there seem to be at least two hasty and unsupported assertions here.

            • http://twitter.com/jkmiami89 Jessica Kirsner

              The 25 minutes was widely reported at the time. Here is a Washington Post article (or blog post: i am not sure which) that refer to “Football practice reportedly continued for about another 30 minutes.”

              http://voices.washingtonpost.com/early-lead/2010/10/investigation_begins_in_death.html

              Even if that isn’t true, I think a coach is responsible for everything that occurs in his program, including this incident. If Brian Kelly is the one that decided practice should be held outside, all other coaches would assume it meant business as usual, including whoever ordered Declan Sullivan to go up on the scissor lift.

        • Gus Snarp

          But you have a point on the wording. It isn’t supported. The article would be improved by changing that language.

  • DZ

    Did my previous comment get deleted? If so, why?

    • http://twitter.com/jkmiami89 Jessica Kirsner

      I still see it.

      • DZ

        I do too, now – thanks!

  • Gus Snarp

    Here, by the way, is a full report from Notre Dame on the lift incident: http://nd.edu/assets/files/notre-dame-investigation-report.pdf

    I expect it’s a bit sanitized (note the organizational chart that puts Kelly completely out of the chain of command in charge of the lifts – sorry, no one involved in the football program is outside the head coach’s chain of command), but I expect it’s got a lot of the facts straight. As someone who has operated lifts, I find the safety protocols inadequate, particularly the part where students were told not to go higher than they felt comfortable when winds were high, that’s not a choice you place on the operator, particularly a student, they should have the choice to never go higher than they feel comfortable, but for windy conditions the supervisor should make a decision to keep the lifts down.

    • DZ

      Thanks for sharing that. You clearly have experience with this and I’m sure the people involved with this situation would agree with your caution.

      I guess two things bother me about this post: #1, you have now done more research on this topic, apparently, than Jessica Kirsner.

      #2: Again, I have problems with Notre Dame and the Catholic Church etc. etc. etc. But when rational people point out how angry atheism hurts the cause, it’s stuff like this – half-baked crap that’s just tossed up in some diatribe. And the truth about this situation is that while it’s obviously terrible and tragic, it DIDN’T end up in an ugly, drawn-out legal fight. The cynics will just claim that ND shut the family up by giving them a settlement, but read this article: They love the university. One of their kids still goes there. Another might enroll next year. They aren’t angry with Coach Kelly, it appears, but thankfully there are people like Jessica Kirsner out there who will be angry on their behalf.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/lopresti/2012/11/12/lopresti-notre-dame-declan-sullivan/1701367/

      Maybe it’s just the holiday spirit that has me, but the USA Today story is such a positive one. This blog post hopes to find the worst in everyone so the author can slam religious people.

      • http://twitter.com/jkmiami89 Jessica Kirsner

        You seem to be completely ignoring my other main argument against supporting Notre Dame: the dismissal of rape on their campus. I am not trying to slam religious people in this post: I am slamming an institution that happens to be a religious one. If these incidents had occurred at a secular private school, or at a public school, I would say the same things I said here. A football coach is responsible for everything that happens at a program, the good and the bad. Brian Kelly is clearly a good coach on the field: his team has played well this year. But that doesn’t mean he is a good coach or that Notre Dame is a good institution and that has nothing to do with religion.

        • DZ

          Wait – I pointed out that you made an unsubstantiated claim: That Brian Kelly forced Declan Sullivan up into the lift. So far, you have produced no evidence supporting this, and one of the commenters presented evidence AGAINST this accusation (doing more research than you did, it appears). And still, you have yet to update the post to remove this false accusation.

          Why is it that if I point that out, I also must defend the university of the “dismissal of rape” on the campus? What does the rape accusation have to do with forcing Sullivan up into the lift? Why can’t I quibble with one, and concede the other? There is no reason I can’t. You are suggesting this because you know you are wrong on the Sullivan issue, but you’re reaching for something else to say “well, if not that accusation, then what about rape? That makes ND bad.”

          But, if you want me to pick on that argument too, then here goes:

          Lizzy Seeberg said that the player in question reached his hand up her shirt. So the rape incident you’re talking about, I can only assume, is the one anonymous person linked in that article. But did you even read that article? Once again, this is way more complex than you want to acknowledge. Lizzy Seeberg was a very troubled person. Was the incident with the football player related to her suicide? Quite possibly. Was it the cause? If it was, you have to question what else could have been the final straw for a person who would commit suicide after a man reached his hand under her shirt. Is the player blameless? No. But what are you suggesting should be done to him? Should he be arrested? Should he be suspended? For what – reaching his hand up a girl’s shirt? If so, get ready – almost every football player in America is going to be suspended. You’re playing pundit with stuff that you know nothing about and fitting the narrative to reach the conclusion you hoped to reach.

          Next: “Alabama doesn’t tolerate rape.” First, it doesn’t sound like ND does either, if you read the article you linked. But second, Google “D.J. Johnson” and count how many times it took for him to be accused of rape before Alabama pulled its scholarship offer. I’ll give you a hint: It’s more than one. (And if you think Alabama somehow runs a cleaner program than ND and is less prone to sacrificing the integrity of educating student-athletes at the altar of winning games, then I have an investment opportunity I’d like to run by you. You may have been drum major of the marching band, but apparently you haven’t been following big-time college football.)

          Finally, let’s look at the silliness of your second-last paragraph. Do you honestly think that if ND wins, all of this will disappear, but if ND loses, people will say, “you know, gee, after losing this game, I really think we should look in the mirror and examine “the sins of the program’”? Maybe we should re-examine our use of scissor lifts (again), or the sexual culture on campus?” What planet do you live on? If ND loses, people will complain about the refs and talk about the next recruiting class. This is like reading commentary on football and culture written by a foreign exchange student who is new to the country.

          You didn’t ask for my advice, but here it is: You’re punching above your weight on this blog, which is a respected blog with smart commenters who can pick apart lazy and dumb writing. So here’s the advice: Make the argument you have. If you think ND is dumb for its stance on Obamacare (which it is), say so. But stop with what you actually KNOW you have. Don’t accuse people of killing other people unless you have really good evidence. If you’re going to draw a straight line between a football player fondling a girl who committed suicide, you better have a really good pen to color in that line.

          Otherwise, to the point I made earlier today, you are using real people’s lives as pawns in your political diatribes. Who are you to get all self-righteous about Declan Sullivan, when his own family disagrees with you? Shame on you. Think about what you’re doing. You don’t have to sink to that level. Stick with the argument you have and stop reaching. Smart people read this blog.

          Are you going to correct the accusation about Brian Kelly?

          • Roy Gamsgrø

            “But what are you suggesting should be done to him? Should he be arrested? Should he be suspended? For what – reaching his hand up a girl’s shirt?”

            Yes. Or is sexual assault okay with you? It sure seems that way…

            “Was it the cause? If it was, you have to question what else could have been the final straw for a person who would commit suicide after a man reached his hand under her shirt.”

            Yeah, who in their right mind would commit suicide after being sexually assaulted, being threatened by her fellow students, and being ignored by the school administration?

            You make me sick.

            • DZ

              It’s pretty easy to play armchair quarterback with other people’s lives, isn’t it, Roy Gamsgro. It’s so clear what needs to be done here!!! The player obviously assaulted the girl, and it makes total sense this directly led to her suicide. Ergo, he is at fault and needs to be punished.

              Tell me, how would you investigate this? The player says it was consensual – the type of thing that happens in every dorm on every Friday night across the country. The girl obviously cannot be interviewed.

              You’re really, really smart, so meting out punishment is really easy for a person like you. But for people who have actual responsibility with people’s lives, and who have to deal with things like evidence and provable facts, maybe it’s not so simple.

              But don’t let that stop you from pontificating in blog comment sections.

              • Roy Gamsgrø

                Hmm… It’s pretty easy to play armchair quarterback with other people’s lives, isn’t it, DZ. It is clear that nothing wrong happened here. The player obviously didn’t assault this girl, and her claim, that she was threatened and that the school ignored her had nothing to do with her suicide.

                “Tell me, how would you investigate this?”

                I would have called the police and started an investigation immediately. I would have suspended every one that sent threats. While the police investigation was under way, yes, I would have suspended the player as well.
                The problem is that nothing happened. Another problem is that people like you are insinuating that nothing wrong happened, that the girl was obviously at fault.

                Sure, it’s easy to say that something should have happened. At least I take a stand and say that something should have happened…

                • DZ

                  Please, point to exactly where I said nothing wrong happened.

                  No? You can’t?

                  That’s because you must put words in my mouth and create a straw man because your own argument lacks, you know, facts. Or evidence.

                  I said the player was not blameless. I did not blame the girl. I did not insinuate that nothing wrong happened. I said it would be hard to punish the player based on the publicly available evidence. It’s hard to have a he-said-she-said when she is (tragically) no longer with us.

                  If you’d like to make a real argument, stop making straw men.

                • Roy Gamsgrø

                  DZ: Please, point to exactly where I said nothing wrong happened.”
                  “The player obviously assaulted the girl, and it makes total sense this directly led to her suicide. Ergo, he is at fault and needs to be
                  punished.”
                  - Please, point to exactly where I said that.
                  I reckon I put as many words in your mouth as you did in mine…

                  DZ: “Lizzy Seeberg said that the player in question reached his hand up her shirt.”
                  - “He started sucking my neck and I started crying harder,” Lizzy wrote. “He pulled down my tank top by the straps. He slipped them down my shoulders and proceeded to suck and lick my right breast while holding me down on his lap by the arms. I felt his hands start to move down towards my shorts as if he was trying to unbutton them or pull them off. I was still crying at this point and felt so scared that I couldn’t move.”
                  Slight mismatch there, researcher of facts?

                  DZ:” Lizzy Seeberg was a very troubled person.”
                  - Quote, please.

                  DZ: “Was the incident with the football player related to her suicide? Quite possibly. Was it the cause? If it was, you have to question what else could have been the final straw for a person who would commit suicide after a man reached his hand under her shirt.”
                  - According to Lizzy, he did much more than that. Add the threats. Add that the school did nothing. Still you claim that she was so mentally unstable that it couldn’t have been something as ‘harmless’ as someone sexually assaulting her that pushed her over the edge. Or are you insinuating that anything could have pushed her over the edge? This reads as if she was already so unstable that anything could have made her commit suicide.

                  DZ: “For what – reaching his hand up a girl’s shirt?”
                  - Again, according to Lizzy, he did much more than that, and when it comes to allegations as serious as those, don’t you agree that some preventive measurements should be taken, such as the school starting an investigation and that the accused should be held back from being a representative for the school while being investigated?

                  DZ: ” If so, get ready – almost every football player in America is going to be suspended.”
                  - And this reads as if you mean that we should just ignore cases like this because it happens so often.

                  Yes, every football player that does something like this should be suspended; investigating, preventing and punishing sexual assault is infinitely more important that protecting football players.

                  DZ:”You’re playing pundit with stuff that you know nothing about and fitting the narrative to reach the conclusion you hoped to reach.”
                  - Pot. Kettle. Black.

          • http://twitter.com/jkmiami89 Jessica Kirsner

            I stand by my claim that Brain Kelly, by having practice outside that day, is at least partially responsible for the death of Declan Sullivan. He created an atmosphere in which, in a dangerous situation, someone felt they had to send him up there.

            I never said that the assault caused Lizzie’s suicide, It was the way no one was taking her claim seriously, the way the school didn’t seem to be investigating at all, and the threats she was receiving from the player’s friend. And this is a problem all over at Notre Dame. It isn’t a friendly place for young women, depressed or not. As an Alumna of Notre Dame said, they treat it as “If this happens to you, then you’re the one who is wrong.”

            That is not the sort of school I think anyone should be supporting.

            • DZ

              This would be so funny if it were not so sad. You started with “Brian Kelly forced him into the lift.” You have backtracked all the way to “Brian Kelly is at least partially responsible.” Oh, right – because you were in the band or something, you know this.

              You’re SOCLOSE to doing the right thing and avoiding libel in your post. Oh, pride. It clouds the judgment of us all.

              I love that you read one article and decided that “this is a problem all over at Notre Dame” and “it isn’t a friendly place for young women.”

              I doubt you have ever stepped foot on the campus. For those of us who know it far better than you, yes, it has its flaws, but sexual activity – and sexual assault – is reported there at a far lower rate than at most schools.

              But, as you have with the rest of your post, don’t let facts get in the way of a good self-righteous rant. It will serve you well in case you want to be a TV pundit.

              Just remember the Sullivan family this Christmas, and their forgiving, wise way of looking at life. You’re very young and you have time to grow up. I would start by looking at what you publish on Hemant’s blog and examine your motives for doing so.

              • Roy Gamsgrø

                Since you keep harping on about Jessica not producing any evidence that the coach forced him into the lift…

                “is reported there at a far lower rate than at most schools.”
                Please show me those numbers?

                • DZ

                  Gladly.

                  In a six-year period, ND students reported 34 sex crimes.

                  http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2011/jun/17/in-campus-sex-assault-cases-few-arrests-fewer/?print

                  This comes out to 5.6 complaints per year. With about 5,000 female students, this comes out to about 1 in 900 per female students per year.

                  I’m quoting from this next link: http://www.rainn.org/public-policy/campus-safety

                  “The December 2000 National Institute of Justice report states that over the course of a college career (which now lasts five years on average), the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions might climb to between 20% and 25%.”

                  “a college with 10,000 students could experience as many as 350 rapes per year.”

                  Two caveats: Obviously, most women who are raped don’t report it. So it is likely that some women are assaulted (raped or otherwise) at ND, and aren’t part of the 5.6 complaints per year. However, there is still a wide gulf between 5.6 and 20/25%.

                  Second caveat; The second set of stats is about rape. The ND stats are about broader sexual assault. It’s likely that of the 5.6 per year at ND, fewer than that are rape accusations. So the actual reported rape number at ND is likely lower than the 5.6 per year.

                  That, Jessica Kirsner, is called research.

                • Roy Gamsgrø

                  From the AAUW:

                  “3% of college women nationally have experienced rape or attempted rape during the academic year.”

                  From the report you linked:
                  “During any given academic year, 2.8 percent of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape.”

                  I still wish to see the source that sexual assaults at Notre Dame “is reported there at a far lower rate than at most schools”.

                • DZ

                  Sorry, I don’t understand – do you want me to help you understand if 1 in 900 or larger or smaller than 3 percent? If so, there are probably good math tutorials available on the web for you and Jessica.

                  Alas, arguing with you is very boring. We’re talking about something neither of us knows enough about to make a judgment, yet I’m the only one to acknowledge this. The only thing worth arguing about in this article is the author’s insistence on libeling a public figure, against all evidence that she is wrong. But then you and your righteous anger showed up, which was tiresome and it was my mistake to waste part of my day with it. I have no interest in debating a he-said-she-said with you, although no doubt this is like sport for you.

                  I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince you that you may not be the person in the best position to decide “what should have been done” from your basement on a blog comment thread. And I have no doubt you have unlimited time for this today. Meanwhile, I’m off to try to make a positive impact on the world. Merry Christmas and enjoy the Internet today.

                • Roy Gamsgrø

                  Since you claim that Notre Dame has a much lower incident rate than the average for sexual assaults, I would like to see those numbers. Not something from a single article concerning 6 schools, but from a larger study where we can get a view of Notre Dame compared to a larger number of schools?

                  Likewise, where is the evidence that Rebecca was wrong? The coach may not have put a gun to the student’s head and forced him into the scissor lift, but when an authority figure tells you to do something, is that not considered forcing someone, especially when we take a look at those tweets? Sure, the coach may not even have but much pressure on him, but he was, without a doubt, responsible for that student’s death.

                  Accusing me of trolling as well? And “righteous anger”? I am angry, yes, because sexual assault is being taken as “just some fun”, and that there should be no repercussions for anyone ever accused of sexual assault unless there are 50 witnesses and a bucket of DNA evidence.

                  In my basement there is my woodworking room, a storage room and my laundry room; no computers there, so what was the point of telling me I’m in my basement? I also have other things to do today, so I don’t have unlimited time, no.

                  Hmm… Arguing is sport for me, I live in a basement, and I have unlimited time to argue on a blog? You harp on about Rebecca having to post evidence, and when I ask you about the same, you start ad hominems? Well done. Very adult.

                  “I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince you that you may not be
                  the person in the best position to decide “what should have been done””
                  Sure, I may not be the best person to say what should have been done in every situation, but as a human being, I know that what SHOULD BE DONE when someone reports a sexual assault is to investigate it, and to protect the victim, which is what I’ve been arguing. Do you honestly disagree with this?

        • DZ

          Oh, and I forgot to say, I’m so glad you would have written the same post if it were a state school. I can’t wait to read your next post. Which school will you start with? Will you be covering all schools with football players accused of rape? Or will you group them by conference, for fewer posts? Because there’s going to be lots and lots of them. Heck, start with your alma mater. There’s a guy named Jeffrey Brown you should write about.

          Or…will that post not be forthcoming? Why not?

          Of course this is going after a Catholic school. For you to pretend otherwise is funny.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Imagine if we were all Afootballists, doing our part to keep football and state separate, standing up for the rights of “other” sports. We would be lower than those evil atheists, we would be the most hated and mistrusted people in the United States.

    From AYFL all the way to the NFL, the “Win!” is all that matters. The win supersedes even their gawd. Sacrifices will be made (to Athena for Heroics, Zeus for Athletics and Nike well because they make great shoes) so that others may win. The adherents will vehemently deny this truth and many will attack this criticism. American football is a cult that stands above reproach.

    Who ever shall question the Football Gawds shall be for ever cursed to march in a straight leg drill for all eternity.

  • The Other Weirdo

    For the love of the FSM! On the one hand, you’ve got one idiot coach and one idiot student assistant(who unfortunately had to pay for his stupidity with his life) for not telling said coach to go fuck himself(or better yet go up there himself). On the other hand, you’ve got a much bigger problem. This issue will continue until the society treats atheletes, especially school athletes, like some sorts of gods, and the coaches as though they’ve got a divine revelation flowing from their mouths. Until everybody realizes that it’s just a bunch of overgrown and wildly immature children with self-control issues and too high an opinion of themselves, you’ll just have to live with the consequences.

  • SeekerLancer

    Not to be a jerk or anything but all of these Division 1 schools are huge, corrupt corporations with loads of un-aired dirty laundry.


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