SI article paints skewed picture of ND
Letter to the editor
While the April 28 Sports Illustrated article on the Notre Dame football program raises a number of valid issues, I wonder why the admissions office deems it necessary to even speak with SI when the article's intent is to paint an unfavorable picture of the office's role in recruiting student-athletes to Notre Dame.
It is especially troubling that the circumstances of individual admission decisions for student athletes are now national news, when those circumstances should be a private matter for the prospective student, parents and the school. Wouldn't a simple "no comment" have sufficed?
Also, why does the admissions director allow SI to take a photo of him as if he has just decended from the throne of heaven inside the Dome? Is that the message the school wants to send? It just doesn't seem necessary. There is a media element that would never like Notre Dame even if we were national champs every year and the whole team went to the NFL and did off season work at Oxford — why fan the flames? This is PR 101-it seems! We haven't learned anything from the Joe Moore and Kim Dunbar PR fiascos.
It bothers me that freshman calculus now appears to be the sole barometer of a student's future academic success. As a parent of two current Notre Dame students, I appreciate the benefits and standards of a rigorous academic curriculum. However, I struggled through calculus at Notre Dame almost 30 years ago and can honestly say that in 25 years as a CPA in public accounting and a CFO in private and public companies, I cannot recall one practical application of calculus in my day-to-day tasks. In addition, I have many classmates who never took calculus and have gone on to outstanding professional and personal careers since graduating from Notre Dame. Obviously, there are other success factors that are pertinent here, but in the article it appeared that certain people were denied admission soley because of a perceived inability to handle calculus.
The last 10 years have indicated that Tony Rice and Chris Zorich are even better people than they were Notre Dame football players. They succeeded because of their own hard work and proper support, but mostly because they were given a chance. It's too bad they wouldn't have that chance today.
I don't know any of the recruits mentioned in the SI article, but I did have the opportunity to see Jarrett Payton play and observe him at a few post-season banquets because my son played in the same conference. He had a poise and presence that would have fit well at Notre Dame. Many of us saw that very well during the difficult time of his father's death. It's a shame he did not get the same opportunity as Rice and Zorich simply because someone thought he couldn't handle calculus.
The admissions office at Notre Dame has a tough job, and many times it is a thankless one. I know from working on the Alumni Schools Committee here in the Chicago area that these people always have the best interests of Notre Dame at heart in whatever they do.
But I don't think SI cares about that; they just wanted the story. Next time, certain parts of the story should stay in the family.
Class of 1974
April 28, 2000
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, May 1, 2000