Notre Dame Hiding Possible Suicide
Thanks to David for writing about something you are not likely to read anywhere else!
Chicago Tribune – College Sports
After the fourth Tribune reporter asked Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly a question Sunday regarding the allegation one of his players sexually attacked a 19-year-old woman who later apparently committed suicide, Kelly cracked wise.
“I didn’t know you guys could afford all those guys,” Kelly said during the conference call, a reference to Tribune Company’s lingering bankruptcy.
That zinger came a few minutes after Kelly kidded about the damage a broken nose would do to linebacker Manti Te’o’s good looks.
I don’t know why anybody was in a mood to joke.
Former St. Mary’s College student Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg is dead and, before apparently taking her own life, she alleged an incident involving a Notre Dame football player that traumatized her.
There are only two witnesses to what happened inside that dorm room the night of Aug. 31, and one of them tragically is no longer with us. The other has worn a gold helmet every Saturday since university officials became aware of the allegation. We may never know the whole truth.
It seems inconceivable that Notre Dame could complete even a preliminary investigation and conclude its player committed no wrongdoing between the time officials became aware of the allegation and the next football game, just a matter of days. Yet judging from the carefree tone of Kelly’s comments Sunday and multiple conversations with people familiar with the case, that’s exactly what happened.
Notre Dame believes in its player. Officials privately expect evidence from local authorities eventually will justify those beliefs. They didn’t react initially the way I would have: Sit the accused out until the process is completely finished to remove the type of suspicion that now surrounds the program.
Kelly cited the university’s process repeatedly when describing his role — which is to say he doesn’t have much of one — in investigating the allegation.
He’s the football coach at a university defined by his team.
A guy who can discipline a player for missing a meeting should have the autonomy to bench a player accused of what could be a felony in the real world. The player is innocent until proven guilty, to be sure. But football coaches, especially those of the most famous college football program in America, rarely deal in due process.
Based on my 18 years of covering Notre Dame athletics and its brand of discipline, I think the tone of Kelly’s teleconference told me the university believes it knows something the rest of us don’t. Kelly’s words — and inaction — suggested somebody in law-enforcement provided early assurance that a fuller probe wouldn’t produce enough evidence to charge the player.
If school officials are aware of proof that would help exonerate the accused player, produce it.
In the months since the Tribune first contacted Notre Dame about the incident, nobody has. In the months since the allegation, the university gave the impression to more than just questioning reporters that it didn’t take the accusation seriously.
That’s not the Notre Dame they brag about in brochures and commercials.
When Rev. Edward F. Sorin founded the university in 1842, he predicted, “This college will be one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.”
Has the greater good been served by Sorin’s university stonewalling and a grieving family hiring a lawyer to determine if a Notre Dame football player’s actions contributed to their daughter’s death? Seeberg’s friends, family and loved ones deserve any information that might help explain why she may have taken her own life.
Stop hiding behind the walls of bureaucracy.
If Notre Dame officials want to save the reputation of their coach, their football program and their university, they had better speak up sooner than later — and in a substantive way. If the Notre Dame family means anything, vigorously defend one of your own instead of using “the university process” as a shield.