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Challenge to the Notre Dame student body

Tim Kelley | Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Let me begin by saying that I have the greatest respect for the ND student body. They have excelled in so many ways just to be accepted to the University and they continue to distinguish themselves while attending Notre Dame. However, I was both surprised and disappointed by some things I witnessed on campus during the Stanford game weekend. Let me list them.

1. There were empty sections in the student area at the Friday evening pep rally.

2. There were no more than 100 or so students around the stairs in the student section when the players entered for the warm up session. Coach Kelly had asked students to be there as a way of supporting and bonding with the team.

3. After the players and band left the field, but while the alumni band was still on the field playing the Notre Dame Victory March, three quarters of the students were rushing to get out of the stadium.

You often hear said that the Notre Dame student body is the most loyal and energized one of its kind, especially when it comes to supporting their football team and, perhaps, other sports teams. I know that used to be the case. I saw very little that was special last weekend, nothing that compared to what it used to be or what I believe it should be.

In discussions with other alumni, I was told that maybe getting to the game an hour early to greet the players entering for the warm up period and the quick departure from the stadium while the alumni band was playing the Victory March was due to a desire to participate in pre game and post game tailgating. I don’t know if that is true for some or many, and it really doesn’t make any difference. Meeting the players before warm ups requires giving up one hour six times a year to demonstrate support for the football team. Is that asking too much, too much of a sacrifice?

To a certain degree, I believe that every student attending Notre Dame has an obligation to uphold some of the legacies of the past students, and that includes the well-documented fanatical support for their football team. Notre Dame stands for excellence in every area. The student body, as a group, has some room for improvement when it comes to the issue mentioned above. It’s either that or simply admitting that things have changed and priorities are different today than in the past.

There may be a leadership issue here. Student leaders, at every level? Student government, cheerleaders, dorm leaders, etc., should take a look at this and do something about it. Someone needs to step up. Maybe it’s a communication or education problem. The legacy of the unique support for its football team by the student body should not be allowed to diminish and fade away. Higher standards need to be set on some of those little things. People show their true worth when times are difficult, when the team is down. In years past thousands of students would meet the team when their bus returned late at night from an away game loss. That makes Notre Dame unique.

Let me close in saying that I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of students who have an undiminished passion for supporting the football team, one that they place as a high priority. You guys need to get the others on board.


Tim Kelley


Class of 1964

Sept. 27