What did you expect Notre Dame to do in the wake of the news that Manti Te’o's girlfriend supposedly doesn’t exist and that he’s the victim of a hoax?
We should know by now that come hell or high water Notre Dame is going to stand by its football players and program.
Football is everything to Notre Dame. Always has been and always will be. The sport put the university on the map more than 100 years ago and has morphed into a multi-million dollar money maker.
To think Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick would come out yesterday and distance the university from the face of its football program is absolutely absurd.
Take a moment to recall recent history.
This is the same university that has defended its gigantic money making enterprise in the past.
We’re just a couple years removed from the horrific story of Saint Mary’s College student Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeburg committing suicide after she accused a Notre Dame football player of assaulting her. That player was never disciplined and played just a few weeks ago in the BCS National Championship Game.
And let’s not forget later that fall Notre Dame stood behind Brian Kelly after he order student Declan Sullivan to film practice from high atop a scissor lift on an extremely windy day. The lift toppled over and Sullivan plunged to his death.
So Notre Dame standing by its football program and those who represent it – Te’o in this case – is nothing new and no surprise at all.
Actually I would’ve been more stunned had it not defended Te’o, arguably its most popular football player of all time.
I certainly hope for Te’o's case, and Notre Dame for that matter, that he is truly a victim of one of the most despicable hoaxes ever imaginable.
If, however, he’s lying and was a part of this hoax in anyway shame on him and shame on Notre Dame. If that’s the case, both should have their images tarnished beyond repair.
Personally I have serious doubts about Te’o's so-called innocence. There are just way too many holes in his story to believe and his silence is only hurting his cause.
Don’t be so naive in all this.
Usually where there is smoke there is an inferno, especially when it comes to the sports world and sports figures.
Remember when these types of stories break they are always strongly defended at the outset. Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Penn State all come to mind.
Without hearing Te’o's side of the soap opera, one of the most concerning things has to be the fact that Swarbrick and Notre Dame sat on this story after learning about it the day after Christmas.
Because concentrating on a football game was more important.
And so we are left to ponder why does protecting a football program again trump what should be your moral and ethical responsibility, especially when you represent a place of higher learning?
It’s because football is the end all at Notre Dame. It’s bigger than life and death. It’s been that way for decades and will continue to be that way.
And administrators like Swarbrick will defend the institution known as Notre Dame football no matter what and at all costs.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.