“We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk.”

Father Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame:

Athletic competition presents another set of challenges. We believe we can, with aggressive testing, hygiene and careful monitoring, keep student-athletes safe. Indeed, keeping healthy relatively small cadres of student-athletes, coaches and support staff members is a less daunting challenge than keeping safe the several thousand other people in the campus community.

Fans in the stadium, however, are a different matter. Fighting Irish fans regularly fill Notre Dame Stadium’s 80,000 seats. I see no way currently to allow spectators unless we restrict admissions so that physical distancing is possible…

We are in our society regularly willing to take on ourselves or impose on others risks — even lethal risks — for the good of society. We send off young men and women to war to defend the security of our nation knowing that many will not return. We applaud medical professionals who risk their health to provide care to the sick and suffering.

How can you equate college football players with soldiers and medical professionals like that?  Seriously, because I got nothing.

He goes on to get this part right:  “The pivotal question for us individually and as a society is not whether we should take risks, but what risks are acceptable and why.” That is a debate worth having, and not just at his institution.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer anything more than his hope that most people won’t disagree with his choice.  I wonder if he’s going to make the effort to find out what those football players being imposed on think about it.

47 Comments

Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

47 responses to ““We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk.”

  1. The schools are starting to line up:

    1) We playin’.
    2) No, you likely aren’t going to be welcome to attend even if you’re a student who paid your athletic fee specifically for the privilege to buy football tickets.
    3) We’ll tell you sometime soon how we plan to refund your tickets, the carrot to allow us to keep your money, or the stick that will encourage you not to pursue a refund.

    I’m guessing I’ll have a lot of free time on Saturdays this fall. I really hate this for those seniors who are spending their last football season in Athens.

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    • Cojones

      Or for any unfortunates who are spending their last season on earth.

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      • Not sure what your comment is for me. At least last year’s senior class got their last football season. I bet a lot of them are glad they got that and, hopefully, get their fall graduation the off weekend before the Cocktail Party. If the football season is played with no fans, that’s not something the Class of 2021 will be able to get back.

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  2. Cojones

    Some of y’all need to look at the age of death columns due to this virus. They are readily available by state, county, and zip code.

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    • Granthams replacement

      I’m sure any football player that feels at risk will not be punished for not playing until the risk is lowered. Let them make the choice vs. dictating what happens.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Timphd

      So since it is mostly old people dying, it is okay to put people in close contact so they can get the virus and take it home to gram and grampa?

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      • Tony Barnhart

        Aren’t we able, particularly now that we’re “old hands” at this, to make personal choices THAT INCLUDE assessing WHO is in your life, who needs you from a physical presence standpoint and how that affects the choices you make ? Even in commerce, we see things like grocery stores having special hours for seniors. Can’t the guy with the grandma he interacts with make the personal choice, presumably even after consulting with grandma, about whether or not he should go to a game ? Or does it all have to be top down, one-size fits all ?

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        • spur21

          I really think if he wears a mask and washes his hands grandpa and grandma are reasonably safe.

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        • Timphd

          Do you really believe student athletes will have a choice on whether to participate? How quickly would they lose their place on the depth chart if they exercise their right to protect themselves or their families? And should they have to choose not to see family members versus putting them at risk? Seems like a shitty choice to me.

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          • Napoleon BonerFart

            Sparing someone a shitty choice by not giving them any choice at all is noble, indeed.

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      • Biggen

        Gram and grampa should tell people to stay away if they are that bothered by it.

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  3. WH

    I read the article because I could not believe that he had the gall to write what you quoted. And, in fact, he did not. There are seven paragraphs between the last two that you quoted. I think you can get to the interpretation you did from the abridged quote, but that’s not what I got from reading the full article.

    I’m not here to defend the decision, but to contend that you haven’t addressed the merits of his argument and that you’re not fairly representing Father Jenkins’ position by casting it in this light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I posted the link so you could draw your own conclusions, but the quotes are what they are.

      I’m sure Father Jenkins believes he’s acting in good faith, but if you think he’s addressed the important philosophical question I noted, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

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      • 79Dawg

        The “quotes” are selectively and deceptively edited – the paragraphs you cite aren’t consecutive (but you didn’t include any ellipses), and you left off
        the last sentence of the second paragraph.
        He never equated football players (much less fans, Hobnail) to soldiers or medical professionals. In fact, the piece begins, and is mostly devoted to, laying out the case for students – all students, not just athletes – to return in the fall.
        And in fact, he answers your “important philosophical question”, in the paragraphs immediately following the second one you quoted. Father Jenkins says:
        Indeed, the mark of a healthy society is its willingness to bear burdens and take risks for the education and well-being of its young. Also worthy of risk is the research that can enable us to deal with the challenges we do and will face.
        We have availed ourselves of the best medical advice and scientific information available and are assiduously planning a reopening that will make the campus community as safe as possible. We believe the good of educating students and continuing vital research is very much worth the remaining risk.
        It’s right there in black and white, if you read down just a little further. Moreover, he’s correct – the education of the young is important for the well-being of the young and important to us as a society and civilization so that the educated young can (hopefully) continue advancing and improving our society and civilization. As he also says in the piece, you may disagree with him as to that values-judgment, but to accuse Father Jenkins of dodging the weighty issues is dishonest.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The first two quoted paragraphs are consecutive and end in an ellipsis.

          The young can be educated without being on campus. Indeed, you could argue that his comment about “research” implies that opening up the campus is an experiment to see how the school manage exposure to the coronavirus.

          Do you really think everyone who will be affected by his decision has been fully apprised?

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      • WH

        Again, I’m not defending his decision. And, in general, I think a lot of your post on the topic are on point: College administrators (especially on the athletics side) are thinking about $$$ first and it’s embarrassing. You can even argue that Father Jenkins is just like the rest of them, but the way you quoted him and asked your “How can you even…?” question is a needless straw man.

        Saying “the quotes are what they are” is a bit glib, don’t you think? Do you not think sandwiching those quotes together (when the second one was intended in a much broader context) was a bit less than evenhanded? Consider that your post would be just as timely and thoughtful if it were only the first two quoted paragraphs and the last two you wrote.

        I’m not just attacking here. I’m trying to be fair here when I think you’re not. I’m posing the question because I think you’re generally pretty good about not misrepresenting someone else’s position.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Relax, I don’t think I’m being attacked. Who knows, maybe you’re right and I’ve misjudged Father Jenkins.

          But for someone who claims his decision is based in morality, he sure avoids addressing some important questions: What are the risks? How many sick students, faculty and staff would be acceptable? How many hospitalized? How many on ventilators? How many dead? Ultimately, I think it’s because he doesn’t know, but is willing to sacrifice the health of others to find out.

          I’ll say it again: I’d have a lot more respect for the people making these decisions with the lives and health of others if they would embed themselves with them. I doubt Father Jenkins intends to do that.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hobnail_Boot

    He’s equating hypothetical fans to soldiers and medical professional‘s. Not players, fans.

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  5. TimberRidgeDawg

    I seriously doubt the football players are scared of it. I’ve got college age kids and they’re not worried in the least. Maybe if they actually had friends or knew kids that knew kids that actually had gotten sick from it that tune might change but they don’t and they have a big network. They stay away from the older folks but other than that, they are still running around with the same circle they do at school.. We may all be in this together but we didn’t shut down the country to save a bunch of 20 year olds.

    It’s OK to be cautious but the risks are vastly different for different groups and a one size fits all policy is why we have 40M on the unemployment rolls and a tanked economy for a virus that is a non existential threat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re gonna love tomorrow’s post on the subject. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Biggen

      Pretty much this in a nutshell. If you uncomfortable, stay home and live like a hermit. Simple as that.

      Our beaches here in PCB were packed over the holiday weekend. People crawling all over one another. I can tell you with certainty people are ready to mingle. There won’t be a shortage of fans willing to attend games this fall. The only thing that will keep them from showing up will be the silly social distancing limits.

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      • Bay County is wide open minus the bars. Its almost crazy reading people saying what they say in other places. I’m thankful to live here through this

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  6. spur21

    Just read that Virginia is making mask MANDATORY since they have seen a significant spike in cases. I wonder if the spike is because testing is up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ASEF

    Notre Dame doesn’t want teams ducking out of their scheduling commitments? I would guess that is part of the equation pushing them to make a declaration in May rather than, you know, waiting for better information in order to make a more informed decision.

    Collectively, ADs and university presidents seem to always find the worst possible solutions to the sport’s largest challenges. Looking like they do their best to keep that tradition intact.

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  8. Down Island Way

    “Fighting Irish fans regularly fill Notre Dame Stadium’s 80,000 seats.”…Between you, me and touchdown Jesus, I believe Father Jenkins is still a little pissy about “Dawg Nation” visiting Chi town and then taking up half their stadium seating capacity on that fine September South Bend evening….(not too mention that nd fan base sold out…..big time)…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. PTC DAWG

    For the love of all that is Holy…let’s play some ball.

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  10. WHB209

    Father Jenkins speaks directly to God. So there can be no problem with the
    deadly virus. Of course Methodist. Presbyterians and Baptist can not speak directly to the boss, so they must talk to the Athletic Asso, and the Athletic Director and it seems to me that those two must be able to talk directly to the big Man and I see no difference in the decisions that are being made by either….

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