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An open letter to alumnus Tom Reynolds

Michael Bryan | Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dear Tom Reynolds,

You had me fooled. For a while there, I thought there was no way that the person that paid for that billboard above the ‘Backer was actually a Notre Dame alumnus. It had to really be some USC or Michigan fan, right? I mean, there’s no way anyone smart enough to receive a degree from Notre Dame would put that up…right?

The sign, which will apparently be up for 12 weeks, reads “Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the fifth year of his college coaching internship – Linebacker Alumni.” And for a day or so, people wondered who paid for it, until you finally manned up.

But, after all, it really was you, according to the South Bend Tribune. Apparently you lettered in football in ’67 … congratulations, I guess. I Googled your name and couldn’t find anything about your career. Apparently while on the practice field you missed some real-life lessons along the way.

I tried thinking for a long while to try and imagine what you really thought you could accomplish with a billboard. I’m not by any means sold on Charlie Weis as head coach either, but really, why waste the money? They invented Twitter for random spewing like this.

It’s not like you’re the first one to say anything like this or are changing anyone’s mind. The calls for Weis’ head have been going strong since 2007, and while the colors are nice and all, the billboard isn’t swaying anyone who still supports the coach at this point.

Apparently there are also around 50 football players whose sentiments you also represent. They may agree with your disappointment regarding Charlie Weis’s performance, but they all really thought a billboard was a good idea? Those 50 players sound a lot like the millions of dollars the anti-Obama campaign so scientifically counted last spring that would no longer be donated (personally, I withheld $500,000).

I think those other players, though, probably realized that nothing good will come out of this billboard. It’s created negative publicity for the program on SportsCenter and every media outlet, and will welcome 12 weeks of recruits and their families who visit South Bend.

You see, most alumni would realize that the billboard isn’t changing anything – not public opinion, not any fans, not John Jenkins or Jack Swarbrick, and I can tell you Charlie Weis could care less.

As a former player and student, you should know there’s much better and probably more influential ways to express your feelings. Maybe write a petition with your players or a letter or … anything else really, besides some useless publicity stunt.

And the money you’ve wasted is gone. Instead of trying to get publicity and draw attention to your aimless “cause,” that money could’ve been used for so much better to support the university you supposedly “still care about”.

In an e-mail responding to the South Bend Tribune you said you don’t remember how much you paid for the billboard, but a quick look at Burkhart Advertising’s website tells me it’s around two grand for four weeks…so for 12 weeks, assuming a little discount, you dropped around $5,000? For this?

How about giving to Hannah and Friends instead, whose billboard yours currently sits right next to. Or to The Shirt charity fund, or to help create a scholarship that will help bring somebody less fortunate to Notre Dame.

Anything but a billboard that wastes money, generates a little negative publicity, and tries to bring instability to a program that probably couldn’t care less what you think.

Oh, and next time you want to take shots at someone, just sign your name instead of hiding behind a cute little alias.


Michael Bryan