NCAA Talk

Notre Dame fined for student's death

Notre Dame fined for student's death

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
1:38 p.m.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Indiana regulators fined Notre Dame 77,500 on Tuesday for six safety violations in the October death of a 20-year-old student who was killed when the hydraulic lift he was on toppled over in high winds while he was filming football practice.

The school failed to maintain safe working conditions or heed National Weather Service warnings on a day wind speeds in the area reached 53 mph, the Indiana Department of Labor said.

The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrated that the university made a decision to utilize its scissor lifts in known adverse weather conditions, agency Commissioner Lori Torres said.

Declan Sullivan, a junior film student from Long Grove, Ill., died Oct. 27 after the lift he was on fell over. Less than an hour earlier, he had tweeted his concerns about what he described as terrifying weather.

Gusts of wind up to 60 mph today will be fun at work I guess Ive lived long enough, he wrote.

The scissor lift was not supposed to be used in winds above 28 mph, but the weather service had issued a warning saying winds of 25 mph to 35 mph were expected with gusts of up to 45 mph. Torres said the university was at fault for allowing Sullivan to be in the lift after the weather service had issued the advisory.

The school has until April 7 to accept the findings and pay the fines, contest the safety orders or meet with the agency.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said the school had no immediate response because officials were reviewing the report. The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, said in an e-mail in November to students, faculty, staff and alumni that the school was responsible for Sullivans death because it failed to protect him.

Sullivans parents, Barry and Alison, issued a statement saying they appreciated the thorough investigation.

This report is an important step in preventing future accidents, but its findings do not change the fact that Declan is not with us, they wrote.

Sullivans uncle, Mike Miley, said the report hadnt changed the familys opinion, saying they hope others will learn from Sullivans death and take appropriate safety steps in the future.

The other violations included a failure to make annual, monthly or weekly inspections of the lifts for more than a year; a failure to have the scissor lift serviced as required by the manufacturer; and a failure to have an operators manual on the unit. The lift was also missing some warning labels while others were faded and weathered.

Notre Dame announced last week that it will no longer use hydraulic lifts for videographers at football practices and has begun installing remote-controlled cameras at its outdoor practice fields. The new cameras are expected to be in operation by the start of spring football practice on March 23.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto retiring after 18 years at helm

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USA TODAY

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto retiring after 18 years at helm

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto informed the university she will retire in the coming months after 18 years at the helm. 

"It truly has been our privilege and the honor of a lifetime to serve DePaul as athletic director and to witness the unprecedented growth from that  ‘little school under the el’ to its current world class University serving students from around the globe," Ponsetto said in a statement.

“The changing times over these past few months has led me to this decision. Having successfully battled two breast cancer diagnoses and currently in treatment for a third, I thought it was time to step away from the long days, working every weekend and the 24/7 demands that being an athletic director requires."

Ponsetto has been a member of DePaul's athletic department since 1974, when she was a four-sport athlete (tennis, volleyball, basketball, softball). After graduating in 1978, she became DePaul's first assistant women's basketball coach. She later spent seven years as the senior associate athletic director before taking over as AD in 2002.

Ponsetto guided DePaul into the Big East from Conference USA in 2003 and helped organize the new Big East in 2013. She oversaw the development of Wintrust Arena, now home to the basketball teams after decades of playing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

The women's team has made 17 straight NCAA tournaments under head coach Doug Bruno. The men's team hasn't made the tournament since 2004 and has just two winning seasons since (2006-07, 2018-19). Ponsetto has hired three coaches in that span: Jerry Wainwright, Oliver Purnell and Dave Leitao — who is in his second stint as head coach.

The NCAA put DePaul's men's basketball program on probation for three years last summer due to a recruiting violation, of one two controversies to surround the athletic department in recent years. In April, a sports psychologist formerly affiliated with DePaul filed a lawsuit claiming she was terminated after raising concerns of former softball coach Eugene Lenti's abusive behavior towards players. Lenti is Lenti Ponsetto's brother.

Ponsetto will stay in her role and assist DePaul in its transition to a new AD. The university plans to conduct a national search for her replacement this summer.

NCAA to allow student-athletes to make money off name, image, likeness

NCAA to allow student-athletes to make money off name, image, likeness

The NCAA still won’t be paying its players, but it will allow student-athletes to receive endorsements from third-parties.

The governmental body for college athletics has long been a strong proponent of its athletes being amateurs, but this marks a drastic change in that, even if the schools won’t be allowed to pay the athletes directly. The NCAA’s Board of Governors met this week and supported the changes with some caveats.

“While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed,” a press release from the NCAA read. “The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities.”

The rule changes aren’t officially in place and must be implemented by the three divisions of college athletics that fall under the NCAA. The next step is for each division to make the actual rules the board of governors supported. The goal is for that to be in place in January and to take effect for the 2021-22 school year.

“The board’s action is the latest step by the Association to support college athletes and modernize its rules regarding name, image and likeness,” the press release read.

The process for this started back in October and has remained on track for January 2021. 

Maybe the next time a player like Zion Williamson gets hurt busting his shoe open on the court, he can switch shoe companies and make some money off it?