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Keep Notre Dame's reaction to Ta'o's girlfriend in perspective

  • I don't know what has happened to the moral integrity of Notre Dame. The Ta'o incident is troubling in a bazaar kind of way but no one really died or was actually killed: Only in Ta'o's imagination. We can't say the same thing about Notre Dame co-ed Lizzy Seeburg who was by her police report, raped by a current Notre Dame football player in 2010. That rape and followup intimidation tactics put so much mental strain on Lizzy, she took her own life. No tears from Swarbrick. No quick investigation into the alleged incident. Hell Notre Dame President Jenkins refused to meet with Seeburg's parents.

    We've talked about this horrific cover-up by the Notre Dame administration a few times on this board but the events of the last few days again brings home the apparent "whatever we have to do to protect the Notre Dame football brand we will" that is going on at that school. It' a shame.

    Christine Brennen from USA sums it up best:

    The peculiar mysteries at Notre Dame are almost too numerous to detail today, but one stands out among all the rest:

    Why did the university show more public concern for a fake dead woman than a real one?

    Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick actually teared up publicly Wednesday night when speaking about the bizarre story of Manti Te'o and his made-up dead girlfriend.

    Did Swarbrick or any other Notre Dame official ever shed a tear for Lizzy Seeberg, a 19-year-old St. Mary's College freshman who committed suicide in September 2010 after accusing a Notre Dame football player of sexually assaulting her?

    If they cried publicly for Seeberg, no camera caught it.

    In fact, if they had even the remotest public interest in finding out what happened to her, and how the football team was involved, they have kept that a secret to this day.

    After Seeberg accused a Notre Dame football player of sexually assaulting her, and after she wrote up a description of what happened, which she then gave to the campus police, Seeberg received a text message from a friend of the player:

    "Don't do anything you would regret. Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea."

    Little more than a week later, she committed suicide.

    Then, and now, the allegations surrounding Seeberg's tragic death beg for answers. One might have thought that Notre Dame officials would have immediately launched a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened, as Swarbrick said he did with the alleged Te'o hoax on Dec. 26.

    But in the Seeberg tragedy, the opposite occurred. For more than a week after receiving Seeberg's account of the alleged attack, Notre Dame's campus police didn't even attempt to contact the player. For more than 2½ months, Seeberg's accusation and her death did not become public knowledge, until the Chicago Tribune broke the story.

    Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, even refused to meet with members of Seeberg's family.

    And what happened to the accused football player? He was not charged in the case, at least in part because Seeberg's written report was not admissible -- because it was hearsay, because she was dead.

    What's more, the player has been a member of the football team all this time, and still was a member of the team that participated in last week's BCS national championship game, losing to Alabama, 42-14.

    Even as Swarbrick went on and on in his news conference about how the naive Te'o had been duped and how much Notre Dame cared about him, there was one common denominator between the way Notre Dame handled the Seeberg and Te'o stories:

    In neither situation have Swarbrick and other officials come close to coming clean. Swarbrick said Notre Dame knew on Dec. 26 that the Te'o story was a hoax. Yet Te'o continued to mention his dead girlfriend in interviews, and no one at Notre Dame apparently ever told one news outlet to avoid the topic, much less say why.

    Swarbrick simply let the whole bizarre charade carry on for nearly two weeks to the BCS title game, then another week before Deadspin finally spilled the beans.

    So now the Fighting Irish are embroiled in perhaps the most preposterous scandal to ever visit a college football team. Eventually we'll hear from Te'o, and more from Swarbrick, and probably get to the bottom of this strange tale.

    Meanwhile, no one at Notre Dame bothers to mention the name Lizzy Seeberg much anymore.

    They avoid her because she is much too real.

    This post was edited by osuum 18 months ago

  • Great post

    How firm thy friendship O-HI-O

  • Nice post, but let me put my 2 cents in here. If there was a rape kit that was taken right after the incident there is strong enough evidence to prosecute subjects. Now most women are to frighten or still in shock that they don't go get these done. Then it becomes a he said/ she said case. Without witnesses these are hard cases to get a verdict on. It sucks, but true.

    Now I don't know much of the story or have any facts leading up to the situation, but if this is the case, this is the reason that this is a no-story. Rape is a crime that is by far to me one of the worst things to do. To me it's right below Murder. But when there are 2 people (man and women) involved that know each other, without witnesses or the rape kit, it's very hard to get the truth of what happened.

    There are more and more cases that are coming out that the women claiming rape is either lying or trying to get something out of it. Now like I said, I don't know about this case, so I am not going to speculate, but it seems like there could have been something that went on. But since she committed suicide, it's going to be even harder to get any type of verdict on this case.

  • Insightful post.

    And as I saw the term "cover up" mentioned, I couldn't help but to think of Penn State.

    Sure nothing here in any way mirrors what happened in Happy Valley, however, IF Swarbrick and other officials were in any way aware and intentionally turned a blind eye to the other tragedies in recent years, then it'd speak to what NCAA president Mark Emmert was alluding to when he cited the "football culture."

    It'd speak to how rampant this is not only in Happy Valley but in Lubbock, Norman, Tuscaloosa, Pullman, Gainesville, Knoxville, Baton Rouge, Corvalis, Tallahassee, Blacksburg, Athens, Morgantown, Lincoln and all parts inbetween. South Bend is no different.

    In fact I have a family member who is a ND alum who told me of how some of these issues (of the sexual assault/rape type) were occurring even in the days of Parseghian. It's nothing new.

    Most proud, traditional programs all believe that they can police things from within. This has long been the motto. Deal with things in house which can often lead to cover ups whenever outsiders, i.e. the national media gets involved. That's what happened here with the ND team. They knew weeks before the BC$ title game and kept it secret in order not to distract the team from its performance on January 7th.
    Unfortunately for them it still was. It's clearly a large reason for why they showed up flat, missing tackles and doing things that were uncharacteristic of how they had played during the 2012 season.