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Football home opener marred by arrests

Kristen Durbin | Tuesday, September 11, 2012

As the Fighting Irish started their home football season on the right foot with a win over Purdue Saturday, the fan experience went smoothly to begin the 125th season of Notre Dame football, director of Game Day Operations Mike Seamon said.

“We thought the weekend was a huge success,” he said. “Compared to the South Florida game a year ago, it was night and day. It was remarkably better.”
Saturday’s unseasonably cool weather was a major factor in the success of the 2012 home opener, Seamon said.

Saturday’s unseasonably cool weather was a major factor in the success of the 2012 home opener, Seamon said.

“Last year was a really uncomfortable weekend,” he said. “We had excessive heat leading up to the storms. This year was the exact opposite. The weather cooperated. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t raining, so that was a pleasant surprise.”

Seamon said the 125th anniversary pep rally, held Friday evening in front of the Knute Rockne Memorial Gymnasium, started the weekend’s festivities on a high note, with an estimated 15,000 attendees.

“Everyone we spoke with, including students, fans, the team and football administrators, liked having it in front of the Rock,” he said. “There was a great energy, and we got it in just before the rain started. It was also good because we got to kick off our 125th year in front of the building named after the man responsible for the birth of the Notre Dame football tradition.”

In addition to the nearly 3,000 visitors to the stadium tunnel on Friday afternoon, more than 1,500 people visited the LaBar Practice Fields on game day, and the Glee Club performed on Library Quad before the football team walked to the stadium, Seamon said.

“That was the first time they performed on game day, and they performed for several thousand people,” he said. “It was a really nice change. The fans loved it.”

In response to the high volume of cell phone usage on game day, Seamon said the University made “significant investments” in improving cell phone coverage during the offseason. Cell phone chargers were also placed in several campus locations and moved to the Guest Services booth inside the stadium Saturday.

“Early reports tell us that cell phone coverage was better this year,” Seamon said. “People kept using the cell phone chargers around campus as well.”

Seamon said medical calls were down from last year due to the cooler weather.

Considering the large scale of the day’s operations, Seamon said the game “couldn’t have gone better.”

“For the first game, we couldn’t be more pleased,” he said. “We had wonderful weather and good, positive energy. People were excited to kick off the home season coming off the win in Dublin, and we’re looking forward to the Michigan night game in two weeks.”

Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) director Phil Johnson said police arrested eight people on campus outside the stadium on game day and issued two citations or tickets for underage drinking.

Johnson said three were arrested for false informing and liquor law violations, one arrest was made for public intoxication, one for resisting law enforcement and public intoxication and one for disorderly conduct. Additionally, police arrested one person for criminal trespass and one man for outstanding warrants and apprehended a juvenile for shoplifting.

Inside the stadium, Johnson said police made one arrest for public intoxication.

After announcing the implementation of its Intensified College Enforcement program at Notre Dame, Indiana State Excise Police officers cited two and arrested three minors on nine total charges in Legends and the C1 parking lot in front of the stadium during the game, Cpl. Travis Thickstun said.

One female was cited for minor possession, and another was cited for minor consumption and false informing, Thickstun said.

He said excise officers arrested two females and one male for minor consumption and false informing after providing repeated false names and birthdates to officers. They were then turned over to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office for transportation to jail.

Contact Kristen Durbin at