There’s been a lot of bad news surrounding Notre Dame football the past couple years. Manti Te’o, Lennay Kakua, Tommy Rees, Lizzy Seeberg, Declan Sullivan, Michael Floyd and now, just this past weekend, starting QB Everett Golson. (Related: Brian Kelly discusses post Everett Golson QB situation)
Throw in the embarrassment at the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the college football national title game, and Brian Kelly flirting with NFL head coaching gigs, and you have enough drama to fill a full season of Friday Night Lights. Heck, there’s enough material for a few episodes generated by the quarterback position alone: Everett Golson, Gunner Kiel, Tommy Rees. and Jimmy Clausen was pretty much a real life version of J.D. McCoy from FNL.
What red-blooded American male wouldn’t want to get to know Ms. Austin! (And why am I using all these exclamation points!) However, at a socially ultra-conservative Catholic school like Notre Dame, it’s probably frowned upon to have one of your marquee athletes as social media buddies with the star of Innocent Until Proven Filthy 11.
Time for a Paul M. Banks Chicago Sports Media Watch interview
Paul M. Banks: Has all the extra media attention this past off-season been a by-product of being in the national title game, the rich history of Notre Dame, or just today’s 24/7 news cycle and social media atmosphere?
Brian Kelly: "I think it’s both. We understand that we’re under a lot of scrutiny on a day to day basis. We welcome that, our players signed up for that. I signed up for that. So we're not apologizing for that. There's a lot of transparency. I think across the country, you're dealing with young men that are making mistakes. And here at Notre Dame we're going to hold you accountable. But we're also going to give you an opportunity that if you do the right things, you're going to get a second chance. And that's a good thing."
Paul M. Banks: Do you have a specific Twitter team policy for your players?
Brian Kelly: Absolutely. We try to educate our players on a day to day basis. Again we're going into the same area that we've already been in. It's on a day to day basis that we have to talk to our players like a parent has to talk to their kids; reinforcement, decision making. Making sure they're held accountable on a day to day basis. It's easy to just say I'm going to take your phone away, but that doesn't help in the learning process. At Notre Dame, we're about the kids and we're going to continue to develop our kids, continue to educate them. And we think by and large our kids are going to make good decisions with that education."
I also got soundbites from some of the most prominent ND players relating to their Twitter habits and philosophies. Here's Tyler Eifert, who was drafted #21 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2013 NFL Draft. You can find him at (@EiferTy80)
“You just got to be smart. We know what’s going to get people’s attention and stir things up, it’s just kind of obvious,” he said.
“There’s no swearing, no derogatory comments toward the program and things like that. There’s no reason to be negative on Twitter, if you’ve got something negative, just don’t say it- don’t put it out there,” Eifert elaborated.
To quote famous Notre Dame football fan Taylor Swift: “trouble, trouble, trouble” can often arise in social media. You don’t have to be a Swiftie to know that some of her 5,987,654,321 recorded songs about bitter, horrible break-ups can teach us life lessons. This is a teachable moment.
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