WBEZ | Notre Dame http://www.wbez.org/tags/notre-dame Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Internet hoax of the century: Why Manti Te'o won't come out about the truth http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/internet-hoax-century-why-manti-teo-wont-come-out-about-truth-105018 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ap_manti_teo_dm_130117_wblog.jpg" title="(Michael Conroy/AP)" /></div><p>When I look at Manti Te&rsquo;o, I&rsquo;m not sure what to make of him. This year, Te&rsquo;o dominated the college football media because of his larger than life story&mdash;a young, determined athlete who had overcome monumental personal tragedy, including the death of his grandmother and his girlfriend&rsquo;s slow passing from leukemia, to lead his #1 team to a BCS Championship <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/notre-dame-season-alabama-bcs_n_2434944.html">game</a>. His story was like something out of an episode of <em>Friday Night Lights </em>or <em>Rudy</em>. For a college football program seeking redemption after years of underperforming, Te&rsquo;o wasn&rsquo;t just their star. He was their symbol.</p><p>But this Wednesday, Deadspin revealed that Manti Te&rsquo;o&rsquo;s &ldquo;tragic dead girlfriend&rdquo; story was a <a href="http://deadspin.com/5976517/manti-teos-dead-girlfriend-the-most-heartbreaking-and-inspirational-story-of-the-college-football-season-is-a-hoax">hoax</a>. For newcomers to the story, the plot is incredibly labyrinthine&mdash;even Christopher Nolan might need footnotes. Luckily for Chris and the rest of America, Deadspin sums up the number of fabrications involved in this controversy. Here&rsquo;s what we know at this point:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;<em>There was no Lennay Kekua</em><em>.</em> Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te&#39;o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te&#39;o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te&#39;o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te&#39;o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te&#39;o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te&#39;o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest.</p><p>Lennay Kekua&#39;s last words to Manti Te&#39;o were not &lsquo;I love you.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Because the media loves nothing if not a great mystery, there are currently three popular narratives floating around to make sense of this data and this scandal. The first is the one that Manti Te&rsquo;o is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/manti-teo-statement-notre-dame-lennay-kekua-hoax_n_2490914.html">serving up</a> himself: He was being <em>Catfish</em>-ed&mdash;or lied to on the internet by someone who wasn&rsquo;t who they claimed to be. The second theory is that Te&rsquo;o used his sad dead girlfriend to help him win a Heisman trophy, a theory that may or may not also implicate Notre Dame in helping Te&rsquo;o keep up appearances. Currently, Notre Dame has <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;ved=0CDgQqQIwAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2013%2F01%2F16%2Fnotre-dame-statement-manti-teo_n_2490675.html&amp;ei=kXD5UP-MIqKW2AWnpIG4Bw&amp;usg=AFQjCNFlPGq2BbmeK7LfuFFG3harBfbMrA&amp;sig2=AI50iNVgQRTf2VtPJltX1g&amp;bvm=bv.41248874,d.b2I">stood behind</a> Te&rsquo;o, validating his claims that he was duped. The last theory is that Te&rsquo;o was gay and used his fake online girlfriend to hide a relationship with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man allegedly behind keeping Lennay Kekua alive.</p><p>As the media is quickly discovering, only one of these theories makes sense&mdash;despite being currently labeled as a &ldquo;rumor.&rdquo; If Theory #1 is true, Te&rsquo;o is incredibly naïve and gullible, allowing himself to be deceived via an internet con that even Danny Ocean would describe as laughably elaborate. However, Te&rsquo;o was friends with Tuiasosopo separately and claimed that he met Lennay Kekua, which would be difficult if Kekua were a figment of the internet&rsquo;s imagination. He could have met a girl pretending to be Kekua, but Deadspin contacted the girl from the pictures&mdash;who asked to be called &ldquo;Reba&rdquo; to protect her identity&mdash;and she assured she was not in on the hoax. Tuiasosopo asked to take pictures of her that he then used for Leenay&rsquo;s Twitter profile. Theory #2 is then more likely, although this version makes Te&rsquo;o absurdly sociopathic. But if Theory #2 is the case, why would Te&rsquo;o need her to get in a car accident <em>and</em> die of leukemia to get great press out of it? Maybe I haven&rsquo;t had enough fake leukemia-stricken internet girlfriends, but to me, that&#39;s just overkill.</p><p>Or: Theory #3. He&rsquo;s gay. Queerty gives us a <a href="http://www.queerty.com/dead-girlfriend-hoax-has-people-asking-if-linebacker-manti-teo-is-gay-20130117/">great introduction</a> to this version of the Te&rsquo;o Myth:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Adding more confusion to the mix is Te&rsquo;o&#39;s friend&nbsp;Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who allegedly created&nbsp;Kekua&rsquo;s Twitter account back in 2008, and used it to meet unsuspecting men. Te&rsquo;o wasn&rsquo;t the first person to have an online &ldquo;relationship&rdquo; with her. One mark&mdash;who had been &ldquo;introduced&rdquo; to Lennay by Tuiasosopo&mdash;lasted about a month before family members grew suspicious that Lennay could never be found on the telephone, and that wherever one expected Lennay to be, Ronaiah was there instead.</p><p>It wouldn&rsquo;t be the first time a gay man had created a fake profile to attract straight guys. But why did Te&rsquo;o go along? Why did he <em>build&nbsp;</em>on the ruse? Just last November Tuiasosopo&nbsp;and his family were on-field guests of Teo&rsquo;s when Notre Dame played USC.&nbsp;And Tuiasosopo was in a car accident about a month before Te&rsquo;o told the press Kekua had one.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Although Deadspin interviews sources close to Tuiasosopo, who claim they are 80% sure Ronaiah was Lennay Kekua and Te&rsquo;o was in on it, none of them bring up the Gay Theory&mdash;which is presumably then worse than making up a dead girlfriend for publicity. You can lie to the media in numerous interviews, leverage your web of deceit into landing the cover of Sports Illustrated and be almost rewarded for being the Richard Nixon of College Football with a shiny Heisman, as long as you aren&rsquo;t all homosexual about it.</p><p>When I explained this to my father, who was flabbergasted by the onslaught on information coming out about Te&rsquo;o&rsquo;s falsehoods, he said that he couldn&rsquo;t imagine why any person would go to so much trouble to hide something. He was under the impression it was easier to make history than to stay in the closet. I then told my father that if Te&rsquo;o is gay, I can&rsquo;t blame him for not being open about it. As a Mormon football star going to Notre Dame, he&rsquo;s playing the nation&rsquo;s most conservative sport in one of our most conservative schools while practicing our most conservative religion. If Te&rsquo;o is a friend of Dorothy, he doesn&rsquo;t have to break through one barrier&mdash;by becoming the first openly gay football player. He has to break through three. His co-conspirator, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, comes from a devout football clan, and his family members have played for Colorado, USC and the L.A Rams. When Tuiasosopo quit football, he became a gospel singer in his father&rsquo;s church.</p><p>If these men were indeed gay and wanted to be together, the mountain they would have to climb couldn&rsquo;t possibly be higher, and their decision would come with extraordinary personal and professional cost. These are the kinds of variables that lead professional athletes like John Amaechi, Wade Davis and Billy Bean lead double lives in sports dominated by intolerance and homophobia. (Remember <a href="http://outsports.com/jocktalkblog/2011/09/26/moment-8-john-rocker-spews-homophobia-to-sports-illustrated/">John Rocker</a>?) In 1996, sports columnist Skip Bayless <a href="http://outsports.com/jocktalkblog/2011/09/26/moment-8-john-rocker-spews-homophobia-to-sports-illustrated/">mentioned</a> that Troy Aikman might be gay&mdash;an assertion that Bayless still stands by. (The claim was backed up by years of anecdotal evidence about Aikman&rsquo;s personal life.) Aikman was so put off by the thought of someone even suggesting the possibility that he might be gay that he&rsquo;s still mad about it&mdash;almost two decades later. During a <a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2011/09/aikman.html">radio interview in 2011</a>, Aikman stated that he hasn&rsquo;t seen Bayless since his statements went public, and things might &ldquo;get physical&rdquo; if it did.</p><p>Clearly being gay in the NFL isn&rsquo;t something to be taken lightly.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve never met Manti Te&rsquo;o. I don&rsquo;t know him or anything about his personal life, but I feel like I understand him. I&rsquo;ve been him. Almost every queer person I know has been him at some point&mdash;inventing an internet girlfriend who lives in Canada, going to prom with your opposite gender best friend, asking the girl from your drama program to go steady with you&mdash;because if you have to live a lie, at least she looks like she might be fun to live it with. We know what it&rsquo;s like to date girls and be secretly &quot;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/anderson-cooper-dating-girls_n_2489148.html?utm_hp_ref=media">hoping to meet their brothers</a>.&quot; We know what it&#39;s like to keep your eyes open in your Southern Baptist church while everyone&rsquo;s silently praying to a God they think hates you. We know what it&#39;s like to dance to Britney Spears when you think no one&rsquo;s watching. We understand what it is to be something else because someone wants you to be&mdash;whether that&rsquo;s your family, your football team or the media.</p><p>Look at Jodie Foster. It&rsquo;s hard to come out and have people make an issue of your sexuality&mdash;when all you want to do is the thing you love. You just came to play, not to be a poster child for something.</p><p>If Manti Te&rsquo;o is gay as many allege, then we need to have as much empathy for him as we did when he pretended to have a dead internet girlfriend&mdash;even if our empathy looks like an endorsement of deception. When Te&rsquo;o was saintly and straight, the media applauded him for being courageous and playing through the emotional pain, but that struggle would be nothing compared to the one that faces him now. No offense intended to his fake dead girlfriend, but if he&rsquo;s gay, he doesn&rsquo;t just stand to lose his loved one. Manti Te&rsquo;o could lose everything. Te&rsquo;o could lose the support of family and friends. He could lose numerous endorsement deals, as sports companies who rely on a heteronormative public image might not want to see that associated with a gay football star. He could lose job offers in his future career, as NFL teams predicated on replicating success and sticking to a formula are unlikely to take a risk on making history. They care about winning championships.</p><p>When I look at Manti Te&rsquo;o, I see someone who already<em> is</em> a champion. I see someone who has played with strength and courage on the football field, who was able to be a leader when his team needed him and who helped Notre Dame do what many thought was impossible. I can only hope that real life is anything like football.</p><p><em>Nico Lang blogs about LGBTQ life in Chicago for WBEZ.org. Follow Nico on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang" target="_hplink">@Nico_Lang</a> or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/internet-hoax-century-why-manti-teo-wont-come-out-about-truth-105018 'Afternoon Shift' #223: Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-01-07/afternoon-shift-223-cheer-cheer-old-notre-dame-104745 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/crop_AfternoonShift_CMS_tile_1200x900_0_1.png" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-223-cheer-cheer-for-old-notre-dam.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-223-cheer-cheer-for-old-notre-dam" target="_blank">View the story "'Afternoon Shift' #223: Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame" on Storify</a>]<h1>'Afternoon Shift' #223: Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame</h1><h2>WBEZ's Lee Bey and 'Windy City Times'' Tracy Baim break down the day's news. WBEZ's Alison Cuddy talks about the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act. Plus, just hours from the BCS Championship, we take a look at the culture of Notre Dame football.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Mon, Jan 07 2013 11:05:19</p><div>WBEZ architecture blogger Lee Bey and Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor of the <i>Windy City Times</i>, discuss the day's news. They'll look at lead's potentially lethal connection to violence as Chicago begins another bloody year, Springfield's stalled discussions on marriage equality and re-purposing ruins.</div><div>Want to reduce crime, raise IQs, and save federal and state coffers billions? First you have to tackle tetraethyl lead: http://bit.ly/UJh7oqMother Jones</div><div>updated chicago homicide map. 12 killings so far this month. it's jan. 7. http://www.redeyechicago.com/homicidestracyswartz</div><div>Capitol Fax #twill Gay marriage stalls… for now: * Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel made gay marriage a top... http://bit.ly/Z3unlMRich Miller</div><div>What ruins of a former Chicago steel mill say about our past and futureWBEZ architecture blogger Lee Bey photographed the ruins of a South Side Chicago steel mill and came away with thoughts about the region&amp;...</div><div>The 112th Congress avoided falling off the fiscal cliff--it also side-stepped the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, allowing the law, which&nbsp;gives police and social service groups money to help fight domestic violence and sexual assault, to expire. WBEZ's Alison Cuddy joins <i>Afternoon Shift</i>&nbsp;and shares reactions from local advocates.</div><div>Chicago advocates regroup after Congress fails to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act by WBEZThe 112th Congress ended with unfinished business: legislators failed to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act. Chicago advocates a...</div><div>Violence Against Women Act A Victim Of Congress' Stagnation : NPRFor the first time since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been allowed to expire. The reason? Political gridlock. Weekends on All...</div><div>How can you tell if someone is a Notre Dame grad? Wait a few minutes, they'll tell you! Rick Kogan loves to give his Notre Dame friends a good ribbing--but this year, the Fighting Irish have good reason for their puffed chests and Domer pride. Just hours before the Irish do battle with Alabama's Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship, the <i>Afternoon Shift</i>&nbsp;takes a look at the long and sorted tradition of Notre Dame football.</div><div>Go Irish ! Good luck today!Yong Pak</div><div>I had to post it! #notredame #sorryimnotsorryAudrey Johnson</div><div>Lets go Notre Dame. #nd #notredame #irish #fightingirish #notredameirish #notredamefightingirish #bcsnationalchampionship #nationalchampionship #bcs #fbs #cfb #collegefootball #ncaa #espn #todayplaylikeachampion #art #design #style #swag #yolo #edits #gamedaygraffixGameday Graffix</div><div>#Irish #TheoRiddick #NotreDame #BCS #NationalChampionship #SouthBeach #Teo #Adidasblakemooney</div></noscript></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 13:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-01-07/afternoon-shift-223-cheer-cheer-old-notre-dame-104745 Forgiveness, not anger, heals Sullivan family following Notre Dame tragedy http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/forgiveness-not-anger-heals-sullivan-family-following-notre-dame-tragedy-104688 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F73570738" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6886_Declan%202.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="A photo of Declan - left - with his brother and sister. (Daily Herald)" />When it came time for Barry Sullivan&rsquo;s son to decide where he&rsquo;d go to college a few years ago it really wasn&rsquo;t much of a choice.&nbsp; As a graduate of Carmel Catholic High School in the northwest suburban Mundelein, academics was important -- but so was something else.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>&ldquo;Notre Dame football is something he&rsquo;d been following since he was a young kid. In fact, I can remember, this was probably when he was junior high or early high school, just starting to think about someday he would go to college. And we would talk about different schools,&rdquo; said Declan&rsquo;s father, Barry Sullivan. &ldquo;He would say, &lsquo;Dad I can&rsquo;t go there. They play Notre Dame.&rdquo;</p><p>So in 2008 Declan Sullivan arrived at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. His mother urged him to major in business but he also found time to take film classes.</p><p>Barry Sullivan says it was that passion that got Declan closer to his favorite football team.</p><p>&ldquo;He was actually recommended to it by one of his film teachers. They knew of his interest. They said, well, there&rsquo;s an opportunity to work with the football team. It&rsquo;s a great job if you want to be behind the camera and he jumped on it,&rdquo; Barry Sullivan said.</p><p>Declan went on to film the football squad from his freshman through his junior year. But it all came to an abrupt end on an unusually windy day in South Bend on October 27, 2010.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember remarking to myself how scary it was,&rdquo; said Alex Bowman of South Bend, who was a sophomore at Notre Dame at the time.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Bowman, a political science major, was among the few students on campus during the holiday break.</div><p>&ldquo;The wind was whipping around. Trees were moving back and forth. I was nervous,&rdquo; Bowman said.</p><p>So was Declan Sullivan.</p><p>That afternoon he was more than 50 feet off the ground on what&rsquo;s called a scissor lift preparing to tape practice.</p><p>It was so windy, he even tweeted about how scared he was.</p><p>The suddenly, a gust of wind toppled the lift, and Declan fell to his death.</p><p>Bowman didn&rsquo;t see it happen, but was nearby on campus.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s unthinkable. It&rsquo;s really beyond comprehension to think that something so tragic could happen and let alone happen just a few feet away. It was unimaginably sad,&rdquo; Bowman said. &ldquo;That had an impact on every individual in the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Like everyone else, Bowman had questions about how this could happen.</p><p>&ldquo;A 50 foot scissor lift, if you&rsquo;ve been out to the practice fields, the only thing taller than that are the lights,&rdquo; Bowman said. &ldquo;With the winds like that, it&rsquo;s hard for me to think there isn&rsquo;t someone who said, &lsquo;You know, maybe we should get him down.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Declan&rsquo;s death happened on then new head coach Brian Kelly&rsquo;s watch. The media criticized Kelly and Notre Dame&rsquo;s administration. Some sports columnists called for Kelly&rsquo;s firing.<br />The State of Indiana, meanwhile, opened an investigation.</p><p>&ldquo;There was a lot of concern for how it was handled. How could you possible let a student in that situation,&rdquo; said Teagan Lawson, a Notre Dame grad student who too wondered about N-Notre Dame&rsquo;s actions on that day.</p><p>Lawson was among the few remaining Notre Dame students on campus during the holiday break. She and a few other current or former students talked about that day two years ago, one of the most tragic in recent Notre Dame history.</p><p>&ldquo;Honestly, I&rsquo;m not sure how I would react. It would be devastating for sure. I don&rsquo;t think you could have anything but anger,&rdquo; Lawson said.</p><p>Anger is something Declan&rsquo;s father, Barry Sullivan, also experienced but it wasn&rsquo;t toward anyone in particular at Notre Dame, and certainly not Coach Brian Kelly.</p><p>&ldquo;You ask, &ldquo;Why did this happen? Why did this happen to us?&rsquo; There is a sense of anger there but to direct that anger toward the individuals, especially when we can see how they were suffering; it just seemed cruel to do that to somebody who is already suffering that way,&rdquo; Sullivan said.<br />Indiana&rsquo;s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Notre Dame $42,000 for safety violations following an investigation after Declan&rsquo;s death.</p><p>In an agreement with the State of Indiana, Notre Dame said it would set up a nationwide safety campaign for aerial lifts.</p><p>More than two years after that tragic day, Notre Dame is getting ready for its biggest game in nearly 25 years.</p><p>Coach Brian Kelly says the team hasn&rsquo;t forgotten about Declan, a former member of their football family.</p><p>&ldquo;Every day that we walk out to the field there is a memorial that we pass with Declan&rsquo;s name on it,&rdquo; Kelly told WBEZ. &ldquo;So he&rsquo;s part of this journey that we&rsquo;ve been on the last three years. You can&rsquo;t help but to feel that he&rsquo;s part of it.&rdquo;</p><p>And Barry Sullivan and his family will be a part of it in Miami too when the Irish take the field. Sullivan says it will be bittersweet to be there without Declan cheering on the team, especially since so many of his friends will be playing in the championship.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure he would be very exciting seeing the team succeeding, especially since he knew some of the players. I&rsquo;m sure he would be very excited about Manti Te&rsquo;o being a runner up for the Heisman because again, it&rsquo;s somebody that he knew,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Barry Sullivan says he&rsquo;s happy to know that Declan&rsquo;s memory will live on through his foundation, the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund, dedicated to providing funding to Horizons for Youth, a not-for-profit Chicago group that helps children in K to 12 with educational assistance.</p><p>Horizons for Youth has been around for more than 20 years and is based on Chicago&rsquo;s West Loop.</p><p>Because of a tremendously successful fundraiser last spring, the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund raised $600,000, enough for 40 more children to use the servies of Horizons for Youth. The group has been nicknamed &ldquo;Declan&rsquo;s 40.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;My degrees are in engineering. My wife is a physician. We couldn&rsquo;t have gotten to where we are without education and a lot of it. And, we were doing the same for our children,&rdquo; Barry Sullivan said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why Declan was at Notre Dame. Devoting the fund to educational causes was something there at the start.&rdquo;<br />But Barry Sullivan knows that some may still not want to let Notre Dame off the hook in holding the school responsible for Declan&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t look at it that way. Of all people, if anybody should have those feelings it would be Declan&rsquo;s family,&rdquo; Sullivan said. &ldquo;So, if we are able to understand and if you want to use the word forgive, if we are able to do that, you should too.&rdquo;</p><p>The Sullivans&rsquo; passion for Notre Dame hasn&rsquo;t diminished with Declan&rsquo;s passing.</p><p>Barry Sullivan&rsquo;s daughter, Wyn, is set to graduate from Notre Dame in the spring, while his youngest son, Mac, will be attending college soon.</p><p>His first choice: Notre Dame.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 16:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/forgiveness-not-anger-heals-sullivan-family-following-notre-dame-tragedy-104688 Notre Dame football is on top - like it or not http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/notre-dame-football-top-it-or-not-104030 <p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_kelly_bath.jpg" style="height: 204px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Irish Coach Brian Kelly gets a shower after cliniching a trip to the Championship game.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)" />If you want to spark a heated discussion in college sports there is one team that seems to top most other schools &mdash; Notre Dame.</div><p>Last weekend the Fighting Irish finished an unbelievable regular season beating USC on the road and finishing with a 12-0 record and one more game to play. That game will be for the BCS title on January 7 in Miami. Their challenger for the National Championship will be determined in a few days.&nbsp; For now, it is the team from South Bend, Ind., that is making the headlines and stirring the conversation.</p><p>There seems to be no middle ground. Fans love the program and the years of glory (not many the past several years) or they can&#39;t stand the team, the program or the history. (It is hard to use the word hate, talking about a religious-based school.)</p><p>Years ago, two words seemed to get under the skin of many people about Notre Dame: Irish and Catholic. For some reason it made the school seem very segmented and is a &quot;turn-off&quot; to a significant number of individuals.</p><p>It seems that was the genesis of the distain that has evolved&nbsp;into just viewing Notre Dame as pompous and very arrogant. They have for a long time had their own lucrative national television agreement. In the crazy collegiate world of big NCAA conferences expanding, Notre Dame&#39;s football program refuses to budge in joining them and still remains independent. (The rest of their sports programs are in conferences).</p><p>Right now, that decision looks pretty good. They don&#39;t have to share their football revenues and money will flow in South Bend as they march on to the big title game.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" ap="" be="" can="" class="image-original_image" darron="" from="" mural="" nd="" photo="" seen="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1td_jesus.jpg" stadium.="" style="float: right; height: 463px; width: 280px;" title="'Touchdown Jesus' mural can be seen from ND stadium. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)" touchdown="" /></div><p>Chicago has always laid claim to Notre Dame as being part of its realm. It is a short drive from downtown and there are a multitude of alumni that live and work here. Full disclosure, the only vacations I ever took as a kid were to South Bend to stay with my godparents. In fact, we were just there on Saturday, hours before the game in California. It was the first time my son got to see the famous campus and field &mdash; and of course &quot;Touchdown Jesus.&quot; For those that don&#39;t know what that means, there is a huge mural of Jesus with his arms extended like a referee signaling a score visible at the stadium.</p><p>When we were there this weekend, strangers had no trouble walking up to me asking what I thought about the &quot;big&quot; game that day. In this small town, Notre Dame is everything and to the rest of the country it is a big deal, too.</p><p>The next several weeks, the stories about this tradition-rich school will fill sports pages and airwaves. Love them or not &mdash; the ascension to the top of the college football world has been fascinating. Before the season began the AP pre-season poll (voted by sportswriters) did not have the Irish in their top 25 rankings. The coaches voted them 24th in the USA Today pre-season poll. How dumb they must all feel now?</p><p>The start for a perfect season began overseas, at where else &mdash; Ireland &mdash; against Navy. They followed by beating three Big Ten schools in consecutive week: Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue. The ride to the national championship had two exciting overtime wins: one against Stanford and a triple overtime win against Pittsburgh. The lovers of Notre Dame will say they are a team of destiny, the ones that don&rsquo;t care for them will say it was just luck.</p><p>Either way, you can&rsquo;t deny head coach Brian Kelly (in only his third year) has pushed all the right buttons, even though his seniors were recruited by predecessor Charlie Weis. The team&#39;s biggest star isn&rsquo;t Irish, isn&rsquo;t Catholic, but a Mormon from Hawaii &mdash; Manti Te&rsquo;o. Last year the senior linebacker could have opted for the NFL but he stayed and has dominated. Te&#39;o is being considered for the Heisman Trophy and is a finalist for the Maxwell Award. Next spring the Notre Dame defender will likely be a high first round pick in the NFL.</p><p>If this team from South Bend is going to win the title, it will be a red-shirt freshman Everett Colson guiding the team at quarterback.&nbsp;There are bountiful stories to tell leading up to the big game on January 7. And if the Irish win, there will be lots of stories forever. After all it is Notre Dame, like it or not.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="http://%3chttps//twitter.com/Crayestout%3E"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</font></a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/notre-dame-football-top-it-or-not-104030 Black Friday specials for sports fans http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/black-friday-specials-sports-fans-103954 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_brian_kelly_and_irish_joe_raymond.jpg" style="height: 435px; width: 620px;" title="Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has led his team to a #1 ranking. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)" /></div><p>Today is a day of left-overs, Black Friday specials and plenty of sports news. You can sit on your couch for hours this weekend with high school and college sports, the Bears and the Bulls.</p><p>What a dandy way for top-ranked Notre Dame to finish the regular season: playing at USC. When the college season began, the Trojans held the top spot of the polls. I guess the saying, &quot;It&#39;s not how you start, but how you finish,&quot; is really true for the Irish. They better be careful, though. The Number 1 spot has been very wobbly &mdash;just ask Alabama and Kansas State; both posted losses as the top team. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly&#39;s team is 11-0, if they finish with a &quot;W&quot; Saturday in California. January 7th will be their next playing date in Miami for the NCAA crown. How many people predicted them to be there?</p><p>While Notre Dame is the king of the mountain, what can be said of University of Illinois and first-year head coach Tim Beckman? Well, let&#39;s see. They are winless in the Big Ten (0-13 going back to last year) 2 and 9 overall. Saturday, the Illini finish the schedule with bowl-bound Northwestern. The Wildcats are probably saying they should be undefeated with their 8-3 mark &mdash; late game miscues account for all the losses. Pat Fitzgerald&#39;s team really needs this win for a good post-season&nbsp;bowl invitation; Beckman&#39;s team would love to get the big upset. (Sorry, Illinois not happening.)</p><p>While I wouldn&#39;t want to be in Tim Beckman&#39;s shoes, I&#39;d gladly slip into Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren&#39;s sneakers. He has the Huskies make the Top 25 rankings this week, with a 10-1 record and 21-4 the past two years. His quarterback, Jordan Lynch, is having a record-setting year. Another bowl game and another win there. NCAA Athletic Directors will be courting Doeren to fill a bigger, renown head coaching jobs. What is his shoe size?</p><p>There will be championship football in Champaign this week-end &mdash; it&#39;s high school, but at least it&#39;s exciting. In 8A, Glenbard North meets Mt. Carmel; in 7A, Glenbard West takes on Lincoln Way East. Cary Grove and Crete-Monee vie for the 6A crown and Montini faces Morris in the 5A match-up. Who has more emotions in these outcomes, the players or their parents?</p><p>On the professional level: The Bears need to re-group for Sunday&#39;s meeting with&nbsp;divisional opponent Minnesota. Quarterback Jay Cutler may or may not at the helm; we&rsquo;ll see if this team can&nbsp;get their offense on track. Or did MNF shellshock this team?</p><p>The Bulls are still trying to find their identity without &ldquo;you know who.&rdquo; Tomorrow they end the long road trip up I-94 in Milwaukee.</p><p><strong>Some left-over sports news worth mentioning</strong></p><p>The Bulls are getting a new practice facility next to the United Center; DePaul is in play with either a new arena or free play at the UC. I wonder what the Cubs are thinking? When will Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the North Siders get on the same page about Wrigley renovations?</p><p>The weather may not conjure up thoughts of ice skating, however. Four of the city&#39;s seven lots, including the one at Wrigley Field, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/warm-weather-delays-opening-ice-skating-rinks-103972">will open late this year</a>. Maybe there will be a Ronnie &ldquo;Woo Woo&rdquo; sighting when it finally opens Wednesday.</p><p>Charity work is part of most people associated with sports and one of the biggest hearts can be found at Halas Hall.&nbsp; Twenty-four years ago, Bears equipment manager Tony Medlin began a coat drive. Now, he and the Bears have partnered with Jewel-Osco stores to collect thousands of new and gently used coats. Donations are being collected in boxes at Jewel-Osco stores. These coats are given to the Salvation Army and to Chicago-area public schools.</p><p><strong>Black Friday door buster</strong></p><p>Since today is a day to look for bargains, the local baseball teams are making some reductions in ticket prices. The White Sox have a real bargain for families on Sundays. All 13 home dates have huge reductions on tickets ($5-$15 available) and parking has been reduced to $10. If this doesn&#39;t sell tickets, it will be hard to figure what else they can do &mdash; except win. And that wasn&#39;t enough most of last season when they were in first place.</p><p>Leftovers, football, basketball and shopping. . . what more could you ask for?</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="http://&lt;https://twitter.com/Crayestout&gt;">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://&lt;http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame?fref=ts&gt;">Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 23 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/black-friday-specials-sports-fans-103954 'Afternoon Shift' #177: Live from Crown Point, Indiana http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2012-10-29/afternoon-shift-177-live-crown-point-indiana-103490 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Kogan&#039;s Indiana_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="http://storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-177-live-from-crowne-pointe-india.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-177-live-from-crowne-pointe-india" target="_blank">View the story "'Afternoon Shift' #177: Live from Crown Point, Indiana" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 12:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2012-10-29/afternoon-shift-177-live-crown-point-indiana-103490 Notre Dame's Floyd pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation http://www.wbez.org/story/notre-dames-floyd-pleads-guilty-dui-gets-probation-88506 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-29/ND Michael Floyd_Getty_Ronald Martinez.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Notre Dame wide receiver <a class="cite" id="/controller/search.action?type=entity&amp;entityId=http%3A%2F%2Fd.opencalais.com%2Fpershash-1%2F55c37c27-21c9-32bd-8066-5e3ca9fc9adc&amp;display=Michael%20Floyd">Michael Floyd</a> pleaded guilty Wednesday in a South Bend, Indiana court to misdemeanor drunken driving and was sentenced to one year of probation.</p><p>Floyd, who is suspended indefinitely from the football team, will not be allowed to drive for 90 days, and after that he must pass a breath inspection every time he puts the keys in the ignition.</p><p>The judge ordered the installation of a device that checks a driver's blood-alcohol level and won't allow the car to start if it's too high.</p><p>He also was fined $200 and must attend a meeting for families of the victims of drunken-driving incidents.</p><p>Floyd could have gotten a one-year jail sentence as part of his penalty, but that was suspended in a plea agreement. He did not speak with reporters after the trial.</p><p>There has been no indication of when Floyd's football suspension will end. He is being allowed to participate in voluntary workouts this summer and also is going through staff-supervised conditioning workouts.</p><p>Floyd was arrested at 3:18 a.m. March 20 one block from the main gate of Notre Dame's campus. His blood-alcohol level was .19, more than twice the legal limit.</p><p>He twice was cited for underage drinking in <a class="cite" id="/controller/search.action?type=entity&amp;entityId=http%3A%2F%2Fd.opencalais.com%2Fer%2Fgeo%2Fprovinceorstate%2Fralg-geo1%2Fb99d1bcd-ec35-113e-54ad-4d6c44682ce1&amp;display=Minnesota">Minnesota</a>, his home state, once in 2009 and again in 2010.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/notre-dames-floyd-pleads-guilty-dui-gets-probation-88506 Touchdown Jesus at ND undergoing maintenance work http://www.wbez.org/story/touchdown-jesus-nd-undergoing-maintenance-work-87578 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-08/72545143.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Workers at the University of Notre Dame have begun maintenance work on the iconic "Touchdown Jesus" mural that overlooks the football stadium. University officials say work on the mosaic on the side of the Hesburgh Library must be done every 15 years or so because of northern Indiana's harsh&nbsp; weather. It was last done in 1994.&nbsp;</p><p>The library was designed and constructed under the leadership of the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh in 1964 and named after him when he retired as university&nbsp; president in 1987.<br> <br> The artwork known officially as the "Word of Life Mural" has 6,700 separate pieces of granite and is 134 feet high and 68 feet wide.</p><p>Workers are washing the surfaces and the adhesive in the stone seams is being replaced.</p></p> Wed, 08 Jun 2011 15:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/touchdown-jesus-nd-undergoing-maintenance-work-87578 Notre Dame issues final report on student’s death http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/notre-dame-issues-final-report-student%E2%80%99s-death-85380 <p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The president of the University of Notre Dame said Monday that “no one person” is to blame in the accidental death of a 20-year-old student at the campus last fall.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">But still, the Rev. John I. Jenkins says he bears full responsibility for the death of Declan Sullivan.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“The Sullivans entrusted Declan to our care and we failed to keep him safe,” Jenkins said.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Sullivan, a native of Long Grove, Illinois, was videotaping Notre Dame’s football practice at the South Bend campus on Oct. 27. He was on top of a hydraulic lift when a 53 mile per hour gust of wind toppled it. Sullivan died from injuries sustained in the fall.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Following Sullivan’s death, the state of Indiana and Notre Dame conducted separate investigations.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Jenkins announced the findings of the school’s final report.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He says it concludes that there were four main factors that contributed to Sullivan’s death, but the report did not point a finger at a specific person</span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“In the grief and distressed that follows a tragic accident it is common to seek the individual or individuals responsible and assign blame,” Jenkins said. “We have reached the conclusion that no one acted in disregard for safety.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Notre Dame’s report says football staff likely would have grounded the lifts had they seen National Weather Service reports showing wind speeds of 29 mph with gusts of 38 mph.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">But the report says staff used an earlier forecast that did not have the warnings leading up to practice that day.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The school’s independent investigation was conducted by Peter Likins, president emeritus at the University of Arizona.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What we have found,” Affleck-Graves said, “is that numerous decisions by many people – made in good faith on that day, and even over the course of several years – played a role in the accident.” &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">In March Indiana’s Occupational Safety &amp; Health Administration fined Notre Dame $77,000 for safety violations related to Sullivan’s death.</span></p></p> Tue, 19 Apr 2011 13:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/notre-dame-issues-final-report-student%E2%80%99s-death-85380