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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Malloy responds to criticism

University President Father Edward Malloy responded to recent comments made about the football program's academic standards with a published letter in Sunday's edition of The New York Times.

Storin said the sports opinion pages of The New York Times provided a national outlet for Malloy's piece that responded to the recent national attention former Notre Dame football player Paul Hornung's comment on football recruiting and admission standards at Notre Dame received last week.

During an interview with Detroit radio station WXYT-AM on Tuesday, Hornung said, "We can't stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we've got to get the black athlete. We must get the black athlete if we want to compete."

Hornung's comments garnered attention nationwide resulting in reactions from columnists across the country. A column by William C. Rhoden entitled "Hornung Has Failed to Meet Standard of Common Sense," ran in Thursday's print edition of the Times and was another reason for Malloy's letter.

"There was a column in the Times that didn't make the print edition here, but we felt that although you can't address a specific column with another," Storin said. "There were some things said about the University and its attraction to players of color that needed to be said."

Rhoden took the comments made by Hornung one step further and said Notre Dame must do a "better job of selling the program." He added that coach Tyrone Willingham hasn't been successful enough in "snatching the blue-chip athletes from the South - especially Florida - and the West."

Rhoden said, "Notre Dame didn't have black athletes; it had the wrong black athletes."

Malloy responded, saying the University has "made progress toward great diversity" and currently has a minority population of 20 percent - an increase of 8 points from 1984.

Malloy also supported Willingham and his ability as a college head coach who "will continue to recruit outstanding athletes who fit Notre Dame."

Malloy said upcoming commencement speaker and former Notre Dame football player Alan Page was an example of what Notre Dame looks for in its students. Page, a Minnesota State Supreme Court Justice, is a member of both the College and Professional Football Halls of Fame.

"After a disappointing season in football, we are not far from success," Malloy said in the letter's closing paragraph. "We expect to win, and to send into the world more men and women who succeed like Alan Page and represent all Notre Dame stands for."