For Notre Dame fans who have been waiting decades for the school to return to No. 1, we have an exciting update. Go ahead and wake up the echoes, because Fighting Irish finally did it this week.
They are the national leader in COVID-19 angst.
Saturday established the ranking of No. 1 of the school. The undefeated football team did not play due to an outbreak that forced its game against Wake Forest. Meanwhile, school president Father John Jenkins went without a mask to the crowd at the White House nomination ceremony at the White House for Notre Dame alumni and professor Amy Coney Barrett.
“I think we may be a bit liberated in some areas,”; football Athletic trainer Rob Hunt said in a media call on Thursday.
“I regret my mistake in judging the non-wearing of the mask,” Jenkins said in an email to students, teachers and staff – an email that stopped an actual apology.
Regretfully, Notre Dame has a few. How many, eventually? We will see.
But video of head coach Brian Kelly talks to his team after a deadly game in South Florida on Sept. 19 says. “It will beat the mask,” Kelly said, her own mask pulled down her chin as she faced the players. “The mask will beat it. If we don’t use our mask, we will lose, and it will be foolish. We are too good.”
By the time Kelly said those words, the virus was already running through his team – 39 players went into quarantine or separation days after Notre Dame blew the Bulls 52-0. Contacted caution following then forced South Florida to postpone its own game last week. The Irish are lucky to have an open date this Saturday, or else that game is likely to be called as well.
STEINBERG: Forced Game Procrastination in Double Byes
The school went to extraordinary lengths to play football this season. With its schedule in danger of falling, the Irish interrupted 133 years of independence to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in just one year. When a general student outbreak in August led Jenkins to shut down all classes of personal people for two weeks and stop campus extracurricular activities, football continued after a short pause.
When the football spike was dovetailed with Jenkins’ unmasked White House junket, Touchdown Jesus should have changed his pose into a surrendered cobra.
Students at the school were overjoyed at Jenkins’ destruction of what he preached throughout the semester that some of them reported to their president through the school’s COVID incident reporting form. Others filed a petition calling for Jenkins’ resignation. The Observer, the student newspaper, strongly criticized him in an editorial running under the headline, “Honestly, it’s embarrassing.”
“On the same day that a football game was canceled due to COVID, he went to this event without a mask,” said Observer editor-in-chief Maria Leontaras. “It’s pretty intense.”
When virus numbers spiked across campus in August, Jenkins released a video address to students in which he said he was considering sending them all home for the semester. He stopped that, but the school threatened disciplinary action against students who did not comply with all campus health protocols. After this, the president travels around the campus (discouraged) and appears in a crowd without a mask.
The outbreak of football was largely monitored at a team meal before Notre Dame played in South Florida. For some reason, it doesn’t happen to anyone that gathering in such a way can pose a health risk – even if the team practices grab-and-go meals throughout preeason practice to avoid the exact type of communication interact with large groups. (Hunt also mentioned that the program changes its operation in terms of locker room and sideline spacing.)
Coach Brian Kelly also told ESPN earlier this week that a player was throwing the sideline while the game was injured positive for the virus. (That incident did not come to the zoom program on Thursday.) The player was treated for the presumed drought during the game, Kelly said. “Just being observant and understanding that this thing can be hidden in so many different places to make it a difficult proposition, even if you do all the right things,” Kelly told ESPN .
One of the areas the virus can hide: between testing on Friday and starting Saturday. Players who test negative one day may still have COVID incubating in their systems, ready to be developed the next day. “A negative test on Friday does not mean … you are free and clear from the virus at that point,” Hunt said.
It’s great that Hunt said the share was strong, as college teams exploded gameday protocols across the country throughout September. The situation in Notre Dame – and in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans – could examine the fact that everyone needs it.
Notre Dame officials are strong in their belief that having a fall football slate will keep them all within the program that motivates them to continue following health protocols. Obviously that did not work properly, with No. 5 Irish who have become the highest-rated team to postpone a game so far. Now we will see if they can put together a promised time.
After about 10 days without a full-speed training, they returned on Thursday. Kelly said the plan is for another full workout on Friday, a weight workout on Saturday and then a live scrimmage Sunday in anticipation of hosting at Florida State October 10. Kelly compared dive again after an extended time in bowl preparation.
Again, the schedule helps. The Seminoles have no win and damn near helplessness. Next up is the fourth straight home game, against 1-2 Louisville. Notre Dame should return to full-time operation for a trip to Pittsburgh October 24 – if all goes well.
“We can’t afford another failure on the way in the last 10 days,” Kelly said.
With the school credit, it became clear about this outbreak and it barely dealt with dealing with it. It doesn’t just mention Texas Tech that it has 75 positive players in the summer, or Ed Orgeron almost bragged that “more than half” the team at LSU had the virus.
But the football team’s defense against the virus was not tight, and the president angered the student body, and now the school has taken the wrong steps to own and recover. That is why Notre Dame is No. 1 in COVID-19 angst rating.