Sunday is only day to write storyPublished 2:26am Monday, June 3, 2013
I don’t know if you’ll believe this story. After all, it’s not Sunday.
If I had written this story on Thursday or Friday, you might not have believed it either. In fact, there’s a lot of doubt whether you should have believed me on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Since I’m one of those “damn Catholics” it’s apparently a well-known fact that I can’t be trusted. Ohio State president Gordon Gee let the world in on his well-kept secret.
“You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that,” Gee said during an Ohio State Athletic Council meeting back on Dec. 5.
Gee said the priests who run Notre Dame wanted the school to “have its cake and eat it, too.”
Although this isn’t Sunday, I’ll still enlighten Mr. Gee.
First of all, I harbor no ill feelings toward the OSU president. What he said did not faze me in the least. Believe me, I’ve heard a lot worse. The rumors and myths about the Catholic faith are spoken as though they are fact among people like Mr. Gee who claim they know.
Does Gee really know? In the words of John Wayne from the movie Big Jake, “Not hardly.”
Gee said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten. He said Notre Dame was added to the Atlantic Coast Conference at a time when the school was feeling vulnerable.
The Big Ten has courted Notre Dame in recent years, as have other conferences such as the Big 12.
If the Big Ten wants to put the blame on anyone for Notre Dame’s desire to remain independent in football, it only needs to look in the mirror. And the same can be said for the Irish’s financial success.
Notre Dame applied for the Big Ten in the 1940s. The Big Ten admitted that the schools had Catholics on their teams, but decided it wouldn’t look good to have a Catholic university as a member of the league.
Notre Dame remained independent. The Irish had four unbeaten seasons and won three national titles in the late 1940s.
The fan base exploded.
Seeing a cash cow, then-NBC executive vice president Kenneth Schanzer had the idea to sign Notre Dame to an exclusive home TV contract in 1991.
The deal has been renewed several times including the most recent contract that was extended through 2025.
Realizing what they could be a part of, the Big Ten and other conferences have been courting the Irish. ESPN regularly makes attacks on Notre Dame, but don’t buy them. They have the Irish on every chance available. If NBC decided not to sign the Irish to another TV deal, ESPN would probably leap at the opportunity.
And just for the record, Father Huffman tells the truth in his weekday sermons, too. Well, maybe not when he talks about the Cleveland Indians being a good team.
Jim Walker is sports editor of The Tribune.