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Bookstore Basketball on the shelf for football players

Lost in the roar of yesterday’s comments by Brian Kelly, Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune notes that Bookstore Basketball isn’t an option for Irish football players this offseason.

From Hansen, who notes Hallelujah Holla Back members Dayne Crist and Jonas Gray won’t return to defend their title:

It was a given that 2009 Bookstore Basketball MVP Joseph Fauria wouldn’t be back to help defend Hallelujah Holla Back’s title in the famed intra-campus tourney.

The 6-8 Fauria has since transferred and is now competing to be UCLA’s starting tight end. But Holla Back teammates Crist and running back Jonas Gray won’t be competing, either.

Kelly is having his football players take a hiatus this year from the competition that even some head coaches -- most recently Tyrone Willingham -- have played in.

“We’re in such an evaluation period right now that their No. 1 focus has to be their lot on the football team,” Kelly said.

“We’ll revisit a lot of those historical things they’ve done in the past (next year), but right now, we can’t run track, you can’t be playing baseball. They’ve got to be worrying about football.
‘Once we get our hands around it and the pulse of it, obviously we want to be part of this community. We want to be part of traditions. But we’ve got some work to do.”

While there’ll likely be an uproar from many of the purists who will begin to argue that rules like this and programs like training table go against the established standards at the university, I’ve got no problem with Kelly putting the focus 100 percent on football right now. Obviously, Crist’s involvement in a basketball tournament while he’s recovering from an ACL tear is a non-starter, but there’s something to be said for letting guys know that it’s time to get down to business.

Kelly made it clear that he’ll reevaluate the policy in the future. Like every extra-curricular activity that scholarship athletes participate in, Kelly’s likely viewing them as a privilege, not a right.