Notre Dame Learns Too Late What Is Important in Life

Dominic ErricoCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2010

22 Sep 2001: An American flag adorns the helmuts of Notre Dame players when Notre Dame takes on Michigan State at South Bend, Indiana. DIGITAL IMAGE  Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/ALLSPORT
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Someone needs to send a memo to all of the athletic directors across the country.  The memo doesn’t need to be 27 paragraphs of legal speak or BS.  It doesn’t need to be an eloquent plea for sanity.

It simply needs to read, “It’s just a game.”

A young man lost his life because someone decided filming a football practice was more important than safeguarding the life of a human being.

Declan Sullivan, 20, was sent up a hydraulic scissor lift to fulfill the task of filming football practice for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Based on Twitter and Facebook updates, it’s quite clear the young man was scared for his life.

Sullivan posted the following Tweet at 3:22 p.m. ET, just as practice was beginning: "Gusts of wind up to 60 mph. Well today will be fun at work. I guess I've lived long enough."  At 4:06 p.m. Sullivan posted another tweet: "Holy (blank). Holy (blank). This is terrifying."

A short time later the tower was knocked over by the heavy winds, and Declan fell the equivalent of five stories and was killed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is already investigating just how many safety violations the school committed during this practice.   

Notre Dame is a school that prides itself on academics, yet there was a glaring lack of common sense involved in this whole situation.

Businesses are responsible for keeping their employees safe.  College football has turned into a business, but at the very heart of it all, it’s still just a game.

I work on the safety committee at my place of full time employment.  Many accidents are completely preventable and come about because of gross negligence on someone’s part. 

This accident in particular was easy to prevent.  Don’t send someone up in an unstable lift tower when there’s a high chance they are either going to get blown off the tower, or the tower itself will collapse.

Where were his co-workers?  Who was responsible for this young man?  Who made the final choice to send him up in the lift?  That person will carry this on their conscience for the rest of their life.  

It’s a pretty sad reflection of our society that someone felt practice footage for a 4-4 football team was a higher priority than protecting a young man with a future.

It’s just a game.  Of course for the Sullivan family, it’s not a game anymore.  It’s a tragedy.