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What’s wrong with Notre Dame?

Time Magazine isn’t the place you’d usually look to find valuable insight on the plight of Notre Dame football. Yet, even the venerable magazine took the time to weigh in on the plight of the Fighting Irish football team.

Here are a few snippets from the article, slightly amended by me:

What’s wrong with Notre Dame?

Notre Dame’s winning football tradition began in the ’20’s. As the glory years rolled on, the teams in the bright green jerseys acquired an air of invincibility. Football fans who had never been in Indiana, much less in South Bend, adopted the team and learned to cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame. In recent years the cheers were mingled with an occasional catcall, for Notre Dame was running into trouble. So what is wrong with Notre Dame?

One of the changes is the fact that far fewer Catholic high-school football stars automatically long to go to Notre Dame. Too many other schools with bright new reputations are making too many good offers. Rival recruiters score points by warning boys that Notre Dame’s strait-laced supervision eliminates a carefree campus life; e.g., freshmen have a 10 p.m. curfew. After one mauling of Notre Dame this year, a Chicago priest cracked to a Protestant friend: “I didn’t mind so much that the lad was kicking those extra points against Notre Dame, but I did mind his crossing himself before each one.”

Caught between a tough schedule and tough academic standards, Weis may be able to produce an occasional good season, but the golden days of Notre Dame are likely to be gone forever. One thing is certain: Weis, who can return to the pros at any time, will never be content merely to lose honorably at Notre Dame. Says he: “I will not coach a team unless it has the potential to be great.”


A fairly down-the-middle and not very revealing look at the Fighting Irish program, don’t you think?

Now consider that this article was written 49 years ago.

(The only amendments I made were substituting Charlie Weis’ name for head coach Joe Kuharich.)

So for everyone that’s reading national columnist A, B or C proclaim that Notre Dame may never be able to return to glory because Notre Dame’s fading star with recruits or the growing academic challenges, take a deep breath and go read some Mark Twain. The reports of Notre Dame’s death are greatly exaggerated.

It may also make sense for Time Magazine to take a quick peak through its archives before burying the Irish again. Just this week, the magazine used the same argument they did in 1960, blaming the competitive recruiting environment and tough admissions standards for the football team’s struggles. Even more explicably, they combined this faulty premise to go along with some incredibly hazy logic and blamed the demise of Catholic secondary schools and the church’s abuse scandals as additional rationale for a struggling Irish football team.

(It’d probably help the writer’s argument if Michael Floyd, Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, Kyle Rudolph, Kyle McCarthy, Harrison Smith, Darius Fleming, Sam Young, Steve Filer and a slew of other contributors didn’t come from private/Catholic schools...)

While everyone can agree that Notre Dame hasn’t been contending for titles for the better part of two decades, it might well be time to state a new case when explaining why.

As Time Magazine pointed out half a century ago, these aren’t exactly new concerns.

(Tip of the cap to Jay at BGS for an excellent find...)