Feb. 15, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Behavioral issues among students and fans are symptomatic of a growing trend that ranks as a major concern for intercollegiate athletic administrators across the country.
Having experienced the problem firsthand at the Feb. 12 Notre Dame-Connecticut men’s basketball game, the University of Notre Dame athletic department has undertaken a series of steps to raise the behavior level among student body members.
“This is an area of great concern to everybody in intercollegiate athletics,” said Notre Dame director of athletics Mike Wadsworth.
“The BIG EAST Conference recognizes that this is a problem that can happen at any arena at any given time, and all of us involved in intercollegiate athletics must be vigilant about preventing such occurrences.”
Notre Dame head coach Matt Doherty has written a letter to the student body that will appear in The Observer, the Notre Dame student newspaper, on Feb. 16. In addition, Doherty has written a letter of apology to Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun.
Additional ushers and security personnel will be assigned to the student section for future games, and there will be closer monitoring of arena rules banning posters and banners at events. Members of the athletic department administration will directly address the students prior to the two remaining men’s home basketball games, and the athletic department will continue to work through various student government groups to ensure the emphasis on sportsmanship at athletic contests.
In addition, Wadsworth has discussed the issue with BIG EAST Conference commissioner Mike Tranghese, and other conversations have taken place between athletic department staff members and other BIG EAST administrators.
“We are tremendously happy with the interest our students have shown in the men’s basketball program. However, we must insist on a level of decorum by our students and fans, and we’re going to draw the line at personal slurs,” said Wadsworth.
“What occurred on Saturday was wrong — it was embarrassing to everyone associated with the University. If we find individuals participating in this sort of behavior in the future, we have no alternative but to escort them from the arena.
“We wouldn’t want our student-athletes to be subject to that level of conduct anywhere else, and we certainly will not tolerate it here when it involves our own students. We’ve always taken great pride in the interest of our fans at Notre Dame athletic events, and there’s no reason we cannot expect to play host to those events within a positive environment.”