Image: Notre Dame Athletics

Notre Dame’s $400 million renovations include 3,000-4,000 premium seats


Notre Dame revealed plans for a $400 university renovation project that will see some upgrades to storied Notre Dame Stadium in the coming years. According to a press release from the university outlining the details of the project, Notre Dame Stadium will have three structures added to the stadium for various activities and the addition of anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 premium club seats.

“At a time when so many would call into question the viability of the collegiate sports model in America, it is fitting that Notre Dame, a perennial leader in the measures of academic performance by student-athletes, offers a bold vision providing emphatic evidence that the full integration of athletics into the academic mission of a university is not only possible but desirable,” said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s vice president and director of athletics. “Coach Brian Kelly and I are thrilled that one of the most famous sports venues in the world will now also be known as one of the most innovative educational facilities.”

The expansion on the west side of Notre Dame Stadium will serve as a center for student life services with space for a recreation center and career center. On the east side of the stadium will be a building dedicated for the anthropology and psychology departments as well as a digital media center. The south expansion will house the Department of Music and the Sacred Music at Notre Dame. As you read through the details of the expansion, you can see how it may benefit the football program in the future.

Premium seating means big money for the school, if they can sell out the tickets. This being Notre Dame, that seems likely. The Irish are also updating the game day experience inside the stadium for all fans with the addition of an updated and modern scoreboard in the south end. Having all of those other services literally attached to the football stadium also makes for a more attractive football program and beyond. At this time no seating changes will take place in the two lower bowls of the stadium. A total capacity for the stadium once the project is completed has not been confirmed.

What is interesting is that Notre Dame chose to make the football stadium the center of the campus renovations and upgrades. The first question on the project’s website asks why the decision was made to build around the stadium.

“Currently, the stadium is used just 10 to 12 times a year,” the website explains. “In 2013, the University formed an oversight committee of faculty and staff tasked with studying an ambitious concept: how to make this campus crossroads a year-round hub for academic and student life. With assistance from outside consultants with expertise in architecture, engineering, technology, food services, and student life, that group helped craft the bold plan detailed on this website.”

The project is not starting overnight though. Expect the project plans to become reality within the next two years and it should take an estimated 33 months to complete. There are no plans to rename Notre Dame Stadium.

Artist rendering via Notre Dame Athletics.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
1 Comment

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.