Notre Dame Football: Deciphering Brian Kelly’s Comments on Academics


While a little damning, Kelly is right

The Notre Dame forums have been ignited following

Brian Kelly

‘s recent interview with

Notre Dame Insider

, as many have tried to read more into it than is actually there. In all honesty, all Kelly was saying is that after last year’s academic debacle which saw five players suspended, things need to change for how players are handled, and what help they’re given. Not ever player is prepared for the academics of Notre Dame.

One of the key comments from Kelly that lit a fire under some, generally the anti-Notre Dame group was this one:

"“I think we recognized that all of my football players are at-risk — all of them — really. Honestly, I don’t know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they are. Maybe one or two of our players that are on scholarship."

Was Kelly lifting a veil off of the program and saying things have been scandalous for years? That other coaches turned a blind eye to academic misdeeds? Not at all. On the contrary, Kelly recognizes what a football player for the university endures, and how it differs from the day of a regular student.

"“So making sure that with the rigors that we put them in — playing on the road, playing night games, getting home at 4 o’clock in the morning, all of the demands that we place on them relative to the academics and going into an incredibly competitive academic classroom every day — we recognize this is a different group.“And we have to provide all the resources necessary for them to succeed and don’t force them into finding shortcuts."

Players that attend the University of Notre Dame for athletics won’t be the same as all students, but they’re expected to adhere to the standards Notre Dame sets forth for it’s students. Will a football player take the most difficult classes offered? Not necessarily, but it’s no different at other schools. Sports afford an opportunity to attend a school that they might not have had the opportunity to without. I can go on for hours on why I hate students using college as a “stop” on the way to the pros, but that’s another piece.

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For now, it’s about being aware of the shortcomings that were there, and addressing them to make sure incidents like last year don’t happen again. Kelly admits as much. “I think we’ve clearly identified that we need to do better, and we’re not afraid to look at any shortcomings that we do have and fix them, and provide the resources necessary for our guys. Our university has looked at that, and we’re prepared to make sure that happens for our guys.”

It wasn’t admitting that there has been anything more than an oversight into providing the players with the best chance to succeed without skirting the system. I didn’t go to Notre Dame. I went to Eastern Michigan, and it wasn’t on a scholarship for sports. But I remember simply trying to split my time between classes, intramural basketball and social life. That was difficult enough. Being a member of the Notre Dame football team? Kelly is doing his best to admit there are flaws, and that deserves some praise for doing so.

Next: Jhonny Williams to transfer from Notre Dame