John McMackin, Staff Writer

Students weigh in new Alma Mater policy, express dissent

Campus has been abuzz with the latest issue in Notre Dame football: According to Brian Kelly, the football team should not stay to sing the Alma Mater after a losing effort at home.

The band plays the Alma Mater after most home games, regardless of the sport.  Not all the teams stay after the game to sing along.  The hockey team, for example, does not.  The Irish come out, salute the crowd, skate in a circle for a bit and then head off the ice.

The football team has only been doing this since 2006, during Charlie Weis’ tenure as head coach.  Kelly’s rationale is that he does not want his players exposed after a loss, which is understandable.  Bad moods usually accompany losses, especially in high-intensity sports like football.  There is the potential that this irritation could be magnified given the presence of NBC reporters and other journalists on the field.

So, what have the students been saying?

“I wish the players would stay, but they don’t, and we can’t make them, ” said Rae Moors, a junior living off campus.

Sophomore Candace Castillo from Pasquerilla West agreed, stating, “I understand Brian Kelly’s position, but at the same time, the fans stay the whole game and stand.  At the end of the day we are one university and we should all support each other.”

Kyle Mulholland, a junior from Duncan, echoed the majority opinion of the student population: “The Alma Mater isn’t about celebrating wins or being exposed after losses.”

The general campus attitude in the wake of the controversy has been an expression of solidarity by the university community.  Student after student has chimed in that Notre Dame is one university, and that the football team’s policies should act accordingly.  The players should respect their status as members of this community, it is said—but so should the student section.

If one is going to make an argument that is based in the belief that we should all stand together, then one should also oppose the student section’s booing during games.  Booing the football team when something goes awry or booing the coaching staff when the coaches make a questionable decision does not reflect the community feeling and sentiment that the Alma Mater represents.

This is by no means a problem unique to Notre Dame’s present student section.  During the Syracuse game in 2008, the student section threw snowballs at the Irish, and during the 2008 Connecticut game, students booed during the playing of the 1812 overture at the end of the third quarter.

The conduct of the student section does not reflect these values allegedly held dear by Notre Dame.  The students want the football team to stay for the Alma Mater, and the students themselves want to provide the sort of environment in which the football players do not feel “exposed” after a home loss.

John McMackin is a sophomore living in Keenan Hall. He enjoys reading GK Chesterton and is considering studying abroad in London. Contact him at