Lately the Notre Dame football program has received attention for all of the wrong reasons.
One of the biggest stories involving the team during the offseason included an arrest and suspension of former starting quarterback Tommy Rees. Then, right before the season opener against Navy, head coach Brian Kelly announced that the Irish will be without starting running back Cierre Wood for the first two regular season games, as he violated team rules.
And while this may be a bad look for the football program and doesn't help coach Kelly, somebody who has been fighting off hot-seat rumors for the least year or so, Allen Pinkett, a former Notre Dame player and Irish radio analyst thinks it is a good thing.
I've always felt like to have a successful team you've got to have a few bad citizens on the team. Pinkett said on WSCR-AM 670. (Via ESPN) That's how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension which creates edge on the football team.
I'm not sure players being taken away in handcuffs and suspended from playing on the field helps team chemistry. All it does do is add a black eye to a program that is already receiving heat for not winning a national championship since 1988 or appearing in a BCS bowl game since 1996.
Former Notre Dame quarterback Joe Theisman also weighed in on Pinkett's comments.
It's ridiculous. Theismann said. To me, these statements that he is making are so ridiculous and so absurd, and I can guarantee one thing: I wouldn't want him coaching any one of my kids. I don't know how you think that you can have a criminal element on a football team anywhere and think that you can be successful. To me those statements are ludicrous, they're irresponsible, they're ridiculous.
The fact is Notre Dame may not have had much success on the football field as of late, but are still up there at the top when it comes to graduation rates. In fact, the 95 percent of graduates is exceeded by only Princeton and Harvard. The Irish may suffer many losses on the football field, but in the classroom, there are few better.
And with the recent fallout of the Penn State scandal, we have seen firsthand what putting athletics at the top of the priority list can do for a program. Of course Notre Dame will like to win more football games and return to winning national championships, but at what price?
Will having criminals on the field truly provide wins for Notre Dame? Or will it provide a downfall to the program?
We have not had to recalibrate our selectivity for football over 34 years. Associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment at Notre Dame Don Bishop said. (Via Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports!) It has not changed, and it would seem from an academic standpoint that those standards are working pretty well. The kids that are being recruited and are here are getting the job done.
And when the college football season is over, that is really all that matters.