“Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea.”

Can someone explain how from an institutional standpoint this story is any different from what took place at Penn State?

Well, there is one difference.

Among those being congratulated for our return to gridiron glory is ND’s president, Rev. John Jenkins, who refused to meet with the Seeberg family on advice of counsel, and other school officials who’ve whispered misleadingly in many ears, mine included, in an attempt to protect the school’s brand by smearing a dead 19-year-old…

At first, officials said privacy laws prevented them from responding. But after some criticism, Jenkins told the South Bend Tribune he’d intentionally kept himself free of any in-depth knowledge of the case, yet was sure it had been handled appropriately.

See?  Somebody’s figured out the real lesson from Sanduskygate.  The odds of Notre Dame bringing in an outside party to investigate and prepare an independent report that can be turned over to Mark Emmert for some light reading are pretty slim, I’d guess.

82 Comments

Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, The NCAA

82 responses to ““Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea.”

  1. Always Someone Else's Fault

    If Notre Dame spent another decade covering up the rapist, and then, when the rapist had clearly reached the point of being a legal liability, retired said rapist with great fanfare to a position mentoring and working daily with vulnerable young women….

    I do not get and will never get the fuming over Penn State getting hammered for institutional cover-ups and facilitation. What’s your point, that Notre Dame would be more interested in doing the right thing if Penn State had received a medal of honor for finally confronting the skeletons in its closet?

    • Yeah, that’s my point. Jesus.

      Penn State getting hammered isn’t the issue, as you well know. It’s the NCAA making up the rules as it goes along. This is what results from that.

      If this is the best you can come up with, just stay out of the discussion.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        OK. My apologies. What then does this have to do with the NCAA “making up the rules as it goes along”?

        • Given the NCAA’s ad hoc response to the PSU nightmare, what’s ND’s incentive to get to the bottom of things or to create an information trail that the NCAA can demand?

          Hint: the school’s lawyers have already figured out the answer to that question.

          • HVL Dawg

            Justice?

            Go ahead and laugh at me.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            I don’t know. Doing the right thing? Isn’t that the larger lesson from the Penn State case, no matter what the NCAA’s response was/is?

            Again, if the point here is that Notre Dame would be more likely to seek justice if not for the NCAA’s handling of Penn State, then I suppose we can blame Mark Emmert for Notre Dame failing to get to the bottom of a girl’s suicide.

            But I suspect the powers that be at Notre Dame would have found their excuse to do so no matter what had happened at Penn State or if Penn State had never happened.

            Connecting the two seems weird to me and more a function of re-litigating PSU than anything else. I stand by my original point.

            • If I’m ND’s attorney, I don’t know what happens to the school or to the administration if I advise cooperation. That’s the lesson from PSU and that’s why I advise my client to stay quiet.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Correct, Senator. The lesson from PSU-Gate to college presidents is to put your head in the sand and conduct no investigation that can be used by the NCAA against you. The actions of the NCAA actually make the likelihood of collegiate institutions trying to get to the bottom of problems nil and promotes cover-up rather than encourages pursuit of truth. BTW I will go to my grave believing that the real reason the NCAA handled the PSU matter the way it did was that Mark Emmert was going on an extended trip to the London Olympics and wanted to get this done before he left town.

                • paul

                  Well, if you’re a conspiracy theorist it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe the NCAA acted the way it did precisely because they didn’t want any more in depth investigations airing out the dirty laundry for everybody to see. This way they can say “see we acted decisively” while at the same time guaranteeing it will never happen again. What I don’t understand about the ND case(s) is where are the police in all this? To heck with what the university says, rape is a criminal offense.

              • Always Someone Else's Fault

                But that’s the LEGAL lesson, and it would have been the lawyer’s advice no matter what the NCAA had or had not done at PSU.

        • JG Shellnutt

          Because the NCAA made up the rules as it went along in the Penn State debacle, institutions handle issues and cases differently now. The concern is that the new way of handling issues, while an effort to shield one’s self from NCAA punishment, may hinder the process of justice and information. Stonewalling is not conducive to the pursuit of justice.

          • Go Dawgs!

            Precisely. This university president at Notre Dame intentionally kept himself out of the loop of an investigation into the rape of one of his students. On the advice of counsel. What. The. Hell. But hey, at least this way he won’t be going to jail like Graham Spanier, right?

    • Go Dawgs!

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think the Senator is trying to say anything here about Penn State’s punishment… I think he’s asking why there’s no punishment in the offing for Notre Dame which would seem (according to this column, anyway) to have engaged in similar institutional coverup on behalf of the football players in this case.

      • JayBird

        That’s the way I read it too..this was a horrible, horrible CRIME, not a simple violation of an NCAA rule. Horrible.

        • AusDawg85

          How in the world does ND claim exclusive jurisdiction over South Bend and even state police? Freedom of religion clause…the whole campus is a sanctuary? Clever…

          • Go Dawgs!

            For what it’s worth, UGA does, too. Campuses with police departments work just like municipalities do. Railroads are also their own jurisdictions. The difference is that often these agencies work well with outside law enforcement and request assistance for major cases.

  2. JG Shellnutt

    I think the institutional cover-up is sickening, obviously.
    What disturbs me even more, though, is that the only reason we even know anything about it at all, is BECAUSE of its proximity and involvement of athletics.
    Countless young women are sexually assaulted on these campuses across our land daily. They are so often covered up and we never hear anything about them. The victim is made to defend herself, her actions, her dress, her own mental health. She fights an uphill battle the entire way, just to try to bring a felony offender to justice.
    That these 2 particular cases even have any legs in the media is squarely because of its tie to football, ND football sepcifically, which underscores again, our society’s misguided principles of importance.
    Do you think we would be discussing this had it not been a ND football player? I don’t think we would even know about it, much less be discussing it. It would have simply been another institutional cover-up that if ever discovered would not have even made the news.

  3. HVL Dawg

    I didn’t read the part where a ND assistant coach eye witnessed the rape, told his boss, who told his boss….

    By no means am I excusing ND’s responsibility, I’m just comparing it to Penn State.

    • James

      I’m hopeful we’re able to think a little less literal here — the point is sexual assault allegedly happened, and an institution who society trusts to protect its members & community regardless of their football skills failed to provide that protection. So it’s exactly like Penn State.

      And the Senator’s points, as I read it and agree with, is that the NCAA can’t make up it’s own rules in order to call what Penn State has a “culture problem,” and then turn around and do nothing here. It’s not consistent, and actually makes them part of the problem, eg an institution charged with protecting it’s members and failing.

      And even worse, the NCAA is incentivising institutions to do things that make sexual assault more likely to happen and less likely to be prosecuted when it doe. Self-investigating with transparency? NCAA punishes the hell out of you. Institutionalizing a reporting structure that doesn’t cycle through the top, and being incredibly non-transparent about the investigation? National championship.

      • And the Senator’s points, as I read it and agree with, is that the NCAA can’t make up it’s own rules in order to call what Penn State has a “culture problem,” and then turn around and do nothing here. It’s not consistent, and actually makes them part of the problem, eg an institution charged with protecting it’s members and failing.

        It’s worse than that.

        What can the NCAA do if ND doesn’t investigate?

        • Always Someone Else's Fault

          What have they EVER been able to do without outside investigations when it comes to their biggest cases? They usually piggy-back off of federal or media investigations for their most serious sanctions. That’s the way it’s always been, hasn’t it?

          • James

            Until Miami, where they said you’re guilty until proven innocent. Which is another great example of the NCAA’s current policy about not having policies.

      • HVL Dawg

        OK James. I didn’t realize we were talking about the NCAA here.

        Here’s my take on what happened at Penn State- NCAA-wise. Penn State, after being publicly exposed to rampant institutionally authorized criminal conduct over decades, needed to decide to either shut down it’s football program down or reform, pay a price and allow the program to continue. And they only had a few months before another football season started.

        So they called the NCAA and said,”Brother can you help us out. We need some big, swift punishment here or we can’t play football in a couple months- maybe ever again. We will agree to just about anything if you move fast. We’ll sign everything immediately, without board review. Please hurry. If you take too long Penn State doesn’t play football ever again.”

        • James

          That last part sounds reasonable but if you read what the current PSU president has said it’s exactly the opposite of what happened. The NCAA wanted to get in front of this and not look like they weren’t taking child rape seriously. They are the ones to move quickly, not PSU. And, to boot, they also demanded PSU accept the punishments that were done without an NCAA investigation, and demanded they not appeal, or the NCAA would give the death penalty. Very democratic of them.

        • Always Someone Else's Fault

          +1.

          PSU was heading into a two decade civil war between the pro-Paterno deniers and the anti-Paterno “clean-housers.” Instead, there was one shot fired in that war, the NCAA fired it, and the anti-Paterno crowd signed off on it – and then insisted they had no choice in the matter. But the program immediately started moving forward with a fresh start. Long-term, this was the best thing that could have happened to PSU. They will be back sooner rather than later because of it.

  4. The athletes and Univ Pres DEFENSE is they have confessed to their priest and the priest said all is forgiven and their conscience and theat of the ND fans and alums are cleared if they say three Hail Mary’s, three Our Fathers, and three Gory Be’s. They now said all the issue is now protected by confidentiality of the confession.

    • James

      Good to know there are still comedians out there fighting the good fight, adding truly hilarious religious bigotry to a comment section about sexual assault investigations. Keep up the good work, bro.

  5. Uglydawg

    You can bet there’s a lot of really ugly skeletons hidden away in a lot of school’s athletic dept. and administrative closets.
    Cover up seems to be more prudent than self disclosure.
    The NCAA makes the IRS look consistant and fair.
    Covering up terrible acts is always wrong, but there’s so much $$$$ involved, and, “The love of $$$ is the root of much evil”.

  6. Call me foolish, but I don’t really worry about this sort of thing happening at UGA. Not the sexual assault, mind you, but the cover up. I can’t see Mark Richt catching wind of something like this and only shrugging his shoulders as if it wasn’t in his purview. I mean, he kicked off Z-Mett for being drunk and handsy in a Valdosta bar. Another reason is that the UGA and ACC police are not beholden to the football program. If anything, the opposite.

    • James

      You could have written this same exact thing about Paterno last summer. An attitude like the one you have is what got PSU in trouble in the first place.

      • Some men answer to a higher power. Some men think they are the higher power. That is the difference.

      • DawgPhan

        You could have written it, but it would have been a lie. Paterno had a long history, decades worth of history, of covering up for his players and handling things “in-house”. CMR doesnt.

        • James

          That’s total nonsense. Send me multiple links of examples him covering up for his players. His reputation until just over a year ago was the most moral person in college football. Google “Grand Experiment”. PSU was one of two programs to never have an NCAA violation.

          AFTER THE FACT is when it became clear he unequivocally failed over many years in handling JS. Even now I’m not aware of him being accused of doing anything immoral in regards to covering up for players.

          (The in-house part *is* true, though. However, when Paterno was in his prime this was typical on college football teams. It only became controversial when the times changes and he didn’t in his believe about how discipline should be handled. He came of age when The Bear and others were doing the same thing.)

          • stoopnagle

            Vicky Triponey

            • James

              Right, exactly what I said in my last graph re: in-house.

              http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/15/us/triponey-paterno-penn-state/index.html

              “She clashed often with Paterno over who should discipline football players when they got into trouble.”

              I’m hopeful we can all understand the difference between denying the football players got in trouble and deciding if they should be punished by the football staff or the university’s institutional disciplinary board.

              The school leadership & Paterno failed miserably with JS for over a decade, there’s not evidence they covered up crimes of former players. Let’s at least resolve to not make things up for the purposes of reinforcing our views.

              • James

                By the way, I’m not taking Paterno’s side here. He should have let Triponey and the school do their jobs and handle player discipline. I think that’s pretty clear at this point.

              • James

                And more to the point — this all came out after the JS scandal. Fans and administration trusting Paterno and assuming the highest level or morality because there wasn’t evidence to the contrary at the time (or, exactly what you’re doing with CMR) is the absolute essence of what Penn State is being punished for.

                • AthensHomerDawg

                  That’s enough. Just put a sock it in. The halo above JoPa’s mural has been erased… the statue is gone. “At the heart of the problem, the Freeh report stated, were university leaders eager to please Paterno above all
                  else, a rubber-stamp board of trustees, a president who discouraged dissent and an administration that was preoccupied with appearances and spin.” And keep Coach Richt name outta ya mouth. Kay? Don’t mention those two names together. JoPa coudn’t hold RIcht’s jock. Thanks.

                  • James

                    Appreciate you taking the time to get the point, which I’ve stated several times, which is that sainting (fans routinely called JoePa “St. Joe”) someone based on perception and prior performance is what led to the Penn State problem because too much trust is put into one person. There’s a reason everyone “was eager to please” him, it was because fans and the community loved him after 50 years of being the football coach.

                    • I think you misconstrued what I posted originally. It’s not that I am blindingly accepting whatever Mark Richt does as holy and righteous. I just believe that Richt wouldn’t compromise his personal integrity to cover up things like were mentioned in the report and in the Sandusky fiasco… based on what Richt has done in the past with player discipline in the face of hot seat talk, etc. Also, I don’t think the Red and Black nor the local police are all that beholden to Richt & Co like they are at ND and obviously Penn State.

    • Silver Creek Dawg

      Trey, a large reason ZM was kicked off the team was not being drunk and handsy, but lying to CMR and other coaches about it when word started to leak about his night in a Valdosta bar.

      • He was facing a serious suspension, then he lied about how it went down to cover his own ass. When Richt discovered his untruthiness, he dismissed him. Is not dismissal over a lie even more shocking and against the college football grain than a dismissal due to an arrest and accusation of assault?

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Was it not the combination of the two?

          • Cojones

            I think Trey’s point about what tripped Richt’s trigger trumps the tawdry trip to trumpet town. Truth triumphs all behavior and will get your ass on the splinters quicker than anything with Richt. Zach’s inability to take responsibility for his own actions sets a high bar for team dismissal and I can’t think of another coach who has the cojones to do that. It also sets a team standard for personal responsibility and owning up to your actions that reverberates throughout the team.

  7. collegeparkdawg

    Good lord that was a sad link. I had no idea about any of that story. Never been a ND fan and was approaching the title game this year with a hope they both lose attitude. But WTH? Roll Tide Roll. I depise Saban but I can’t see him as a father with a daughter letting alleged rapists stay on the team. He’s evil but damn surely not that evil. The texts alone even w/o further criminal type proof warrant some sort of penalty on the players involved. It’s bullying at the very least.

    • Cojones

      The reason we had no idea is because they have scabbed it over. I remember a big party attended by many ND players that was broken up by South Bend town cops after neighbors called in and it was in the news for a couple of days, but no details. Have heard nothing since (no names, not squat) and that shows to go you that they are good at burying shit.

      Now I have a fan behavior question : If we were playing them in the NC game , would we be having this blog? I would like to think, Yes!

  8. DawgPhan

    Also, why not besmirch millions of people, ND is a catholic institution, they dont exactly have a great track record when it comes to be one the right side of morality.

    • The Catholic Church as a two millennia tradition of “handling things in-house.”

      • AthensHomerDawg

        ” so the reporter asks the distraught family member….just why did you leave you kid with priest as his baby sitter? Family Member responds: Michael Jackson wasn’t available.” Yikes. That was insensitive. Hope I haven’t ruffled James “JO-PA” feathers. If I have….. well damn. “Was that wrong?”

        • Cojones

          James posted well and accurately. Don’t think he was defending anyone or any behavior. You will have to answer your own question, AHD.

  9. Always Someone Else's Fault

    They didn’t exactly pull out the stops to get to the bottom of the dead body at the bottom of the crane after a guy fell off filming a practice during forecasted high winds, either – and that was prior to PSU.

    2 dead bodies connected to the football program in less than 4 years. Interesting.

    • The Lone Stranger

      The family of said deceased “settled” for a not untidy sum before the fiasco had a chance to play out in the public courts.

  10. Bryant Denny

    Name names.

  11. sniffer

    This is a recent article published in the Washington Post. Not the South Bend paper or even the Chicago Tribune. It will be interesting to see if this report grabs the attention of women’s issues advocates and gains momentum between now and the championship game. Or if ever.

    • NC Dawg

      This a column, not a news article. It’s clearly an opinion piece — the writer’s opinion. Don’t take it as unbiased reporting. There’s a danger in jumping to conclusions when the only source of information is a column. I’m not saying the information is wrong or misleading, but what are the sources?

      • Debby Balcer

        She cites her sources in the editorial. She shows professionalism by not naming the accused in her article. This is very telling about ND it reminds me of the reaction to the priests. My husband’s family is Catholic and I have seen both good and bad from the church.

        • NC Dawg

          Not trying to argue with you, but one should never mistake an op-ed piece, which gives one’s view of an issue,” with an in-depth news story. The writer clearly thinks ND is covering up a rape. But no one has been charged. She didn’t mention the name, not out of professionalism, but because the Post would have been sued and likely found liable for a massive monetary amount for publishing even somone’s else’s contention that an uncharged citizen is guilty of rape. The facts may certainly be as terrible as they appear to be. Just be careful of reaching that conclusion too quickly and easily. One side of the story is presented here.

          • Debby Balcer

            If you google it the facts she cites were posted in the Tribune. She also said she talked to the RA that took the second student to the hospital. There is no other side to the story ND was investigated by the feds and has changed how they investigate sexual assault accusations now. They didn’t’ interview either player accused until 10 days passed for the second player accused and until after the girl committed suicide which was 14 days later in the first case. ND Did not handle this correct. You are assuming that she wasn’t professional because she didn’t’ t want to be sued.

          • Uglydawg

            Technically, you’re correct NC Dawg. But there’s not many “news” stories reported without bias now-a-days. It’ getting kind of hard to tell the dif.

  12. Debby Balcer

    As a women and parent of two daughters this really saddens me. I hope the feds investigate it. I am not surprised that the victim was embarrassed. My youngest daughter was in a sorority with the girl attacked by Ben Roesthlisburger and what happened to that girl was horrible. She dropped out of school because of the harassment. I hope this article leads to justice for those victims. I don’ t believe Coach Richt would cover that up. I don’ t think Adams would either.

    • Debby Balcer

      Autocorrect changed my sentence about the victim it should have said I am not surprised the victim was harassed not embarrassed.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Being from Pittsburgh and an ardent non-fan of Roethlisberger I’ve always been convinced that the bar destroyed the security tape inside that bathroom to save his sorry ass.

  13. Scott

    Anyone know the identity of the rumored players?

  14. 69Dawg

    The Notre Dame “Fighting Rapists” has a ring to it.

  15. Ted

    SMH at you guys. I’m sure you would’ve rather the public had hanged the Duke lax players, too, without a real investigation. If you feel you can be the judge and jury of what is an is not consensual, fine.

    There are often many sides to a story like this and they can each be as far from the truth as the next.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      good point.

    • Debby Balcer

      Their wasn’t an investigation. I believe in a trial and innocent until proven guilty but I also believe that people in power get off by harassing girls to avoid being charged. You have to bring in the accused to investigate that did not happen in a timely manner in either case.

      • Debby Balcer

        Both the Duke case and this case were mishandled by the police just in different ways.

        • Silver Creek Dawg

          Maybe the police aren’t blameless, but Mike Nifong and the Durham DA’s office sure as hell deserve a large portion of that whole mess.

          After all, he did get disbarred over it.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        My older sister was 17 and came home from a post hs football game celebration with a spit lip, torn blouse and a welt above her eye. I was 13. My parents were all over her about it and after conferring with the doctor it was determined that nothing else had happened. Dad found out the details and the next week I bumped into the father of the boy who had taken my sister to the post game day celebration. HIs nose was in a splint and both eyes were black and blue. No police were ever called either time. I’m not condoning my father’s actions. Things were done differently then. That sure was an eye opener.

        • Chadwick

          Hooray for your Dad handling that “in house”. Things are certainly different today than when I was 16.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Do you know for a fact we would have wanted the Duke players hanged, or are you making assumptions based on a lot of loose talk? That seems irresponsible of you, jumping to conclusions like that.

      As Deb points out, we are talking here about the LACK of motion of the wheel of justice – not replacing the wheel itself.

      On a football blog where the stakes are zero and everything is loose talk. Actually, in this particular situation, the more people across the country who talk or type about it, the more chance of an investigation, so I am glad of the speculation.