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Five reasons Brian Kelly’s policy should change

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 30, 2013

Following Saturday’s home loss to Oklahoma, some football players left the field before singing the Alma Mater with the student body. The student body with met this boos and frantic “Come here” hand signals. Later, Coach Brian Kelly stated that the policy is that football players will immediately leave the field following a loss. Below are five reasons this policy needs a makeover.
One, regardless of his intentions, it sends a bad message.
Coach Kelly said in a press conference following the loss to Oklahoma, “It’s important to get the team back into the locker room and get them under my guidance.” As the coach of a football team whose players attend a University steeped in proud tradition, part of Kelly’s guidance should include being aware of said traditions. The football players are not Coach Kelly’s personal army, they are students of the University of Notre Dame.
Two, respect the fans.
The fans booed the football team once on Saturday. This was when some of the players began to walk to the tunnel. The students and alumni who come to games have nothing but respect for the football team, and many of us stayed not to watch Tommy Rees throw to invisible receivers, but to put our arms around each others’ shoulders and sing “Notre Dame, Our Mother.” We stand united with the team, win or lose and it would be nice to know the team feels the same way.
Three, respect the players.
Coach Kelly said that following a loss, he is concerned about talking to the players immediately after the teams shake hands. I understand that. Presumably, he wants to discuss the game and ways to improve, as well as boost morale. By telling the players to march past the student section and into the tunnel, he is sending a message to his players that they do not deserve to sing the alma mater. He is saying that they are not worthy of joining their fellow students in a display of solidarity and love. I wonder what that does for morale?
Four, time constraints.
It takes two minutes to sing the Alma Mater, the same amount of time it takes Tommy Rees to throw two interceptions. If Kelly can stick with Tommy after two minutes, the team can stay on the field that much longer. It’s not like they stick around after and talk to the students. They point to the sky, shout, “Love Thee, Notre Dame!” and then walk straight to the tunnel.
Five, win or lose, she’s still your Mother.
And our hearts forever praise thee, Notre Dame.
And our hearts forever love thee Notre Dame.
That’s “forever love thee”, not “love thee only when we win.”
We are Notre Dame. We are a family and we support each other regardless of what happens on the field, court or classroom. It’s really hard to show this support when the players we’ve been cheering on aren’t there to join us.