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How do you like those sanctions?

Sean Mullen | Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Adam,

I guess it’s hard to defy your upbringing, but your overall poor taste in college football teams necessitates a response. In reply to “Trojan Love” (April 11), I intend to expose USC football for what it really is.

Notre Dame and USC have been playing since 1926. It has become the greatest rivalry in college football with both teams capturing their share of glory and championships. But while Notre Dame has maintained a tradition of excellence and class extending from its Catholic character, USC has taken a much different path extending from O.J. Simpson to O.J. Mayo.

To be honest, it’s hard to respect an athletic institution that proudly displays the Heisman trophy of a double murderer in its trophy case. An institution that hardly graduates half of its players and condones rampant cheating and NCAA violations. An institution that allows eligibility of a returning Heisman-winner who takes ballroom dancing as his sole academic course. Notre Dame on the other hand has athletes like Tim Abromitis, an MBA student, and Chris Stewart, a law student.

You could say that much of my dislike for the Trojans extends from growing up a Notre Dame fan and being present at the 2005 game. Yes, I was there that day, and I will never forget a single detail. Notre Dame Stadium had never been more electric and the animosity for an opposing team had never been more immense. You couldn’t hear yourself shout when Zbikowski ran his punt back, when Quinn reached out to score the go-ahead touchdown, or when Leinart was sacked with 1:50 left. In an otherwise incredible game, USC had one of the luckiest and most dishonorable wins in the history of sports. They were the benefactor of PAC-10 officials who turned a blind eye to the illegal game winning play while adding extra time and favorable field position to USC in the final seconds. Obviously Matt Leinart’s foxtrot attempt across the goal-line never would have worked without being illegally pushed from behind by Reggie Bush, who was not even an eligible NCAA athlete.

The NCAA justly came down hard on USC last summer imposing massive sanctions; ironically I was in Los Angeles the day it happened. It was refreshing to see USC get punished for its continued cheating under the Pete Carroll era. While it’s true that USC has gotten on the right track with athletic director Pat Hayden, the institutional problems and overall lack of class from that institution will take years to correct. Until that happens, I look forward to Notre Dame assuming the supremacy of the rivalry.

“Win one for the Gipper” is a lot more inspiring than “Win one for O.J.”

Sean Mullen


Keough Hall

April 12