The Fightin’ Irish? More like the Flunkin’ Irish. Yes, this weeks’ Tuesday Teabag travels to South Bend, Indiana, where the historically beyond reproach Fighting Irish find themselves in the middle of controversy.
On Friday, it was announced the Notre Dame dismissed four players (3 starters) from their football team for academic fraud. Allegedly, the players submitted papers and homework that were prepared by others. The University is handling matters internally, through their “academic honor code process.” That process has been working overtime as of late, as this is the second academic scandal in as many years for the Irish. Last year, starting QB Everett Golson was suspended for the fall semester for cheating on an exam.
Normally, when you see the headline “School Subject to Academic Probe” or “Division I Athlete Receives Improper Benefits” you don’t bat an eyelash. It happens all the time. Like here. And here. And here. Colleges are whores for athletic success, as it translates into dollars, lots and lots of dollars. To put it in perspective: Last year, teams in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl received $325,000 each. The National Championship Game: $18,000,000 each. EIGHTEEN MILLION DOLLARS…EACH! Now, while some players may not be able to do the math, the difference is a shitload.
It’s no wonder then that schools have created paper-only classes where no attendance is required, and that players are “encouraged” to take these classes. Are you really that shocked to learn that a 19-year-old kid that’s being exploited flown around the country playing sports had his “tutor” write a paper for him? Also, when you realize that colleges make a shit ton of money the better their sports teams perform, are you that surprised to learn of an institutional framework designed to help these kids cheat?
But Notre Dame? They are supposed to be above the fray. They’re so greedy idyllic, they won’t join a football conference, preferring to remain independent (and rake in that NBC cash). A school that professes integrity above winning, doing things the right way, and always having high moral character. They pride themselves on tradition, honor, and Rudy. But all of that is just a ruse. They are no better than all the other dirtball college programs willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means going against your fundamental beliefs (if they were ever there to begin with).
For the better part of the last two decades, the Fighting Irish have been (at best) a mediocre football team. They lost 9 consecutive Bowl Games from 1994-2006, and were never in national championship contention. But all that changed recently.
Apparently, Notre Dame compromised its core values revised its recruiting philosophy and created a less structured academic environment. The result on the field was instant success. Notre Dame played in the National Championship game last year. Sure, they got smoked by Alabama and then had the Manti Te’o’s catfishing saga (we’re still confused about that) but the message was clear: The Fighting Irish had returned to national prominence on the field. This year, they were again expected to be competing for the national championship, that is, until this scandal broke out.
Again, it’s not surprising when you read this about UNC, or Florida State, or Miami. You almost expect it. But Notre Dame has always had this haughty, holier than thou (pun intended) attitude which made you think that they did things the right way. Now, sadly, you realize they are no different than the rest of them. It’s all a fraud.
Stewart Mandel explains it this way: “Notre Dame’s calling card has long been academics. Come play football at a high level AND get your degree at a national top 20 university and a football program with a 97 percent graduation rate. Now, its biggest strength is also a source of embarrassment.”
The Machine will put it this way: Notre Dame’s a pedophile away from being Penn State. Their well-crafted image is now gone. For those who think that there’s no relation between the Fighting Irish’s recent success on the field and the academic scandal, consider this: with these players dismissed from the team, do you think the Irish have a chance this year? Pretty sure that’s why the cheating occurred in the first place.
And let’s stop with the nonsense that the coaches, athletic department, and administrators had no idea this kind of conduct existed. Like these kids came up with this program on their own. At best, the University is willfully ignorant. At worst, they are active participants to make sure certain players get the “help” they need.
Is it in poor taste to give Touchdown Jesus a teabag? Probably, but The Machine’s ticket is already punched. See you in hell, friends.
Enjoy your teabag.