Brian Kelly's Notre Dame Regime: 8 Instances of Bad Press

Brian Kelly's Notre Dame Regime: 8 Instances of Bad Press

During his first two years in South Bend, Brian Kelly coached Notre Dame to a 16-10 record, and one bowl win. In his third season, the Irish went undefeated (12-0) in the regular season only to get throttled by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national title game. So Kelly does have a BCS Championship game appearance on his resume, even though they only showed up on paper; they didn’t seem to show up for the actual game. During Kelly’s tenure, the most prestigious program in college football has seen a lot of negative attention; mostly off-the-field.

In just three years at the helm, there have been eight incidences of bad press to hit Kelly’s Fighting Irish program. Some of the negative publicity is warranted, some is overblown.  Three were essentially the same thing (underage alcohol citation/arrests) and two involved student fatalities. And one involved the fatality of a fake person. Heck, the ND quarterbacks alone have provided enough drama lately to fuel a whole season of Friday Night Lights.

Let’s go through all eight.

Click on the bold, numbered title to learn more about each disparagement.

8. Everett Golson leaves school over academic issues

We still don’t know all the details on this one yet. We don’t even know if we can truly classify this as a “scandal” yet. I only listed #8 because the news just broke minutes ago. And this news was released very late on a Saturday night. On a holiday weekend. Right at the exact moment that the Chicago Blackhawks win a Stanley Cup playoff game. So this press release goes out at the absolute perfect moment for the national media being off the clock; and the local Chicago media being occupied with something else. Well played, Notre Dame SID. Well played.

7. The Manti Te’o fake dead girlfriend hoax

ND really hitched their wagons to the character of this kid; constantly pumping him up as the perfect person in college football. After the story broke and dominated headlines, they remained committed to his reputation. Even though he looks like a gullible rube at best, manipulative jerk at worst.

6. Kelly cursing out T.J. Jones on national television

On one hand, I felt that this incident was made out to be more of a disrepute than it actually was. On the other hand, the kid’s dad, an ND football legend, had just died a few weeks earlier. Watch the video by clicking the link above. Murphy’s Law was in effect that day. Murphy’s Law is an epigram stating: “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” I guess it’s fitting that a law with an Irish name was in effect for a team nicknamed the Irish.

5. Davaris Daniels underage drinking citation.

The Vernon Hills native had 490 receiving yards this past fall. Daniels is the third Fighting Irish player to encounter alcohol-related legal trouble in the month of May 2012. One time starting quarterback Tommy Rees (he faced multiple misdemeanor charges including battery) and linebacker Carlo Calabrese (initially charged with intimidation and threatening a police officer) were arrested at an off-campus party May 3, 2012. (we’ll get to this next)


4. QB Tommy Rees charged with resisting arrest, LB Carlo Calabrese intimidation

Rees plead not guilty on May 17th, 2012 to four misdemeanor counts, including resisting arrest, battery and underage consumption. But he’s not the only Rees sibling who’s run afoul of the law via alcohol. His sister, Meghan Rees, was kicked out of the Purdue game in 2011 and arrested for an alcohol offense as well.

Is this is a new “record” in college football. Lots of starting quarterbacks have gotten arrested for booze-related activities, but how many have had a sister pull off the same feat? And just a few months apart too? Let’s hope former South Carolina signal caller Stephen Garcia doesn’t have a sister.

Meghan Rees’ arrest details.


Tommy Rees’ arrest details.

Calabrese joined Rees in Kelly’s doghouse to this incident. Carlo allegedly threatened a police officer during his underage consumption arrest.

3. Michael Floyd’s 3 alcohol offenses during his college career

Floyd had three alcohol related legal infractions during his college football career, and his only punishment for this was…being thrown off the team during spring ball 2011.

Only to be reinstated for the fall. Missing spring ball is really more of a perk/reward than it is a punishment, so was he truly even reprimanded? Well, it didn’t really hurt his NFL draft stock too much as he went #13 to the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. But these actions clearly sent the wrong message to the team. Since Floyd wasn’t held accountable for what he did, how does that deter other players from committing the same infractions?

It doesn’t- see points 4 and 5. In my humble opinion, Kelly needs to lay down the law better in his program.


2. Lizzy Seeberg suicide

From what I’ve been told, the perpetrator of this act is a starting defender that you’re quite familiar with. And if you look on the right message boards, you’ll find the true identity of the sexual assailant. Seeberg had lots of problems, long before she reached South Bend. And the player who’s name I can’t publish until my source is willing to go public allegedly committed no crime, he only made an unrequited sexual advance. Which led to Seeberg receiving a threatening text on behalf of the program. This allegedly set her off. But this was complicated, and it involves the loss of a life, so space prohibits me from treating this story with the depth it deserves. But I did explore this tragedy in more detail here.

1. Death of student videographer Declan Sullivan

The tragic loss of Declan Sullivan and his macabre tweets forecasting his own death made every wire service, every network, every website and saturated the news cycle in late October 2010. He died when his scissor lift tumbled in a historically bad wind storm. The weather should have forced football practice inside that day; exactly like it did at most Midwestern universities. But this was complicated, and it involves the loss of a life, so space prohibits me from truly treating this issue with the depth it deserves here. But I did explore this tragedy in full detail here.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

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