Why I Won’t Be Cheering for Old Notre Dame
Well, since you asked — and many of my friends have, some more than once — no, I will not be cheering for my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, to win big-time college football’s championship on Jan. 7. What’s really surprising me are those who believe as I do that two players on the team have committed serious criminal acts - sexual assault in one case, and rape in another — but assumed that I’d support the team anyway, just as they are.
“Aren’t you just a little bit excited?” one asked the other day. There are plenty of good guys on the team, too, I’m repeatedly told. And oh, that Manti Te’o is inspiring. I don’t doubt it. But as a thought exercise, how many predators would have to be on the team before you’d no longer feel like cheering?
Sexual violations of all kinds happen on every campus, I know, and neither man will ever be found guilty in court; one of the victims is dead and the other, according to the Notre Dame student who drove her to the ER afterward, in February 2011, decided to keep her mouth shut at least in part because she’d seen what happened to the first woman. Neither player has ever even been named, and won’t be here, either, since neither was charged with a crime.
The Department of Education’s civil rights office is well aware of the second case, though; in fact, federal investigators were on campus when it occurred, as part of a seven-month probe into the way Notre Dame handles such reports. And as a result, with its Title IX funding on the line, the university marked the 40th anniversary of coeducation in 2012 by changing the way it investigates sexual assault for the second time in two years.