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Ticket gouging was enough

| Friday, August 25, 2017

On Wednesday morning, I learned that Notre Dame is selling its game day experiences. And not figuratively: per WNDU, Notre Dame is charging U.S. dollars for the “opportunity to slap the ‘Play Like a Champion Today’ sign and get a picture on the field the day before the game, a tour of the press box and a special viewing of the player walk, and postgame access to the field. A Fast Pass [let’s hope Disney’s trademark lawyers don’t see this] for fans looking to skip the lines is also available.” And for $50, you can participate in the player walk. No word yet on whether you can be blamed for the NC State loss.

I am not sure where to start. The head coach is 2-10 against Northwestern, Duke, Stanford, Tulsa, Louisville, and South Florida. He’s had one AP top-10 finish in seven years. He’s finished unranked four of seven. His team is on probation. His one good season is being vacated.

But he can’t fire himself. He could quit, but I don’t blame him for staying. It’s a good job. You can field a mediocre team, scream yourself purple, point fingers at players, shove assistants, invent excuses for your failure and sleep peacefully at night, knowing no one making your kind of salary, in any type of business, has this type of job security.

And his boss doesn’t just fail to act. He affirmatively rationalizes the failure, patronizes fans, and doubles down on the future. They’re playing a “long game?” Nyles Morgan is in his last season. How has the long game felt for him, playing for one of the worst defensive coordinators in Notre Dame history and sitting behind a walk-on?

What does the university think of all this? Behold its most visible connection to the outside world: Our field is fake, the new construction fits in like a 10,000 square foot house on a half-acre lot in a cul-de-sac, and our end zone tickets are priced $50 higher than Florida State is charging for 50 yard-line seats against the same opponent. The school didn’t think ticket gouging was enough, and they don’t have the humility to lay low, so they’re selling off memorabilia and experiences like an institutional Pete Rose.

What ND leadership has to realize is that football is a window for alums and fans. We aren’t on campus anymore, and we can’t track every development at the school. We have to rely on proxies, including the way they run this program. Right now, the view through the window is not good.

Kevin Kileen
class of 1999
Aug. 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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