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A wild week for Notre Dame, the football program, and COVID-19

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Things aren’t good right now

Photo courtesy Notre Dame Athletics

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish cancelled practice on Wednesday and will likely cancel practice for Thursday according to its public relations Twitter account.

The statement uses the phrase “abundance of caution,” because of the move to online learning by the University for the next two weeks. The coronavirus numbers at Notre Dame have gone up significantly since classes began on August 10, and this is a way for the school to kind of “reset” itself in that regard.

Whether or not you see this as a fool’s errand or a perfectly reasonable action can certainly be debated, but the reality IS the reality. It felt even more serious and more real as I saw Irish football players going on social media to make pleas to their fellow students to help flatten their curve so the football season can be saved — just a little over one week after classes started.

Via Ian Book’s Instagram account

Notre Dame has been widely criticized by students and alumni for NOT starting off 100% online for the fall semester, and with these results in hand you can see why that should have been the case. Father Jenkins and the University as a whole put forth a “robust plan,” but the the plan was obviously faulty because human beings are not robots.

While it may feel good to pile on the venom for Notre Dame’s failed attempt at opening the school for fall semester, it doesn’t really accomplish anything moving forward for the school or the football program.

So what should happen now?

Tim O’Malley gave a very nice explanation on the most recent Irish Illustrated podcast, and that’s for Notre Dame to go 100% online and to continue moving forward with the football program. Notre Dame re-tested all of its football players and the results should be available on Friday. If the team itself is in good shape as far as COVID-19 is concerned, the Irish should do exactly what the North Carolina Tar Heels are doing. Online classes may not be the “Notre Dame mission,” but if they’re going to play football, it’s the only way.

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe the season should be played, but I’ve accepted the reality of the attempt. At this point nothing would surprise me, and nothing should surprise you.

This is what’s happening at Notre Dame right now — and all over the country for that matter. Take it for what it is.