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FOOTBALL:Notre Dame Stadium will host USC pre-game pep rally

Pat Leonard | Thursday, October 6, 2005

The thousands of fans turned away from the Notre Dame-Michigan State pep rally will be calling for clear skies on Oct. 14.

Weather permitting, the Friday pep rally on the eve of the Notre Dame-USC football game will be held in Notre Dame Stadium, assistant athletic director John Heisler announced in a press release Wednesday.

Weis and athletic officials made the decision because of the failure to accommodate fans at the first home game rally and the fanfare that a No. 1 Southern Cal team attracts to South Bend, according to the press release.

Pep rallies normally occur in the basketball arena of the Joyce Center, which seats 11,418 fans.

But upwards of 30,000 people have attended pep rallies in the Stadium (Georgia Tech 1997, Nebraska 2000) in the past.

The upcoming USC rally would be the fourth football pep rally ever held in Notre Dame Stadium.

The last Stadium rally also was held before the Irish played a No. 1 team, when Notre Dame hosted Nebraska in a 27-24 overtime loss in 2000.

Pep rallies were held in the Stadium prior to games against Georgia Tech in 1997 (dedication of renovated Stadium) and Michigan State that same year.

The 1997 Michigan State rally ultimately was moved to the Stadium concourses due to rain.

In case of rain or other inclement weather on Oct. 14, the rally will move back to its normal site at the Joyce Center basketball arena, with access to the facility for students at 5 p.m. and for the general public at 5:45 p.m., according to the press release.

Otherwise, the rally will take place in Notre Dame Stadium, and gates will open at 5 p.m. for all spectators.

The pep rally will begin at approximately 6 p.m. Weis and the team will enter the Stadium at 6:30 p.m., and the Irish will sit facing the west side of the Stadium.

The Notre Dame athletic department requests that the general public enter through Gates C and D of the Stadium.

Students will have seating sections reserved and should enter at Gate E.