Seen & heard

Author: The editors

Corby Hall could not be saved from the wrecking ball. The historic building at the heart of campus, home to Knute Rockne as a student and to Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, for nearly half a century, will be demolished and replaced with a new residence for members of the Congregation of Holy Cross.


A planned renovation of and addition to the 125-year-old structure proved impractical, so the University and the congregation, which owns the parcel of campus land where Corby Hall, the Grotto and the Presbytery are located, chose to rebuild.


“Most people know Corby is in very bad shape,” Rev. Austin Collins, CSC, ’77, the religious superior of Notre Dame’s Holy Cross priests and brothers, told the South Bend Tribune. “We tried to keep it, but it wasn’t really feasible.”


Built for priests in 1893 with the distinctive yellow bricks made from the marl dredged out of campus lakes, Corby became a student dormitory around the turn of the 20th century before reverting to its original use in the 1930s. The new building will be comparable in size and design. The bricks of the old one will be salvaged for renovations on other 19th-century campus buildings, and the statue of Mary will reappear above the door of the new hall.


A moving truck hauled away furniture in May. The two dozen former residents have moved to temporary campus accommodations until the new Corby’s scheduled opening in the spring of 2020.



A new indoor practice facility for the football and men’s and women’s soccer teams will help ease a logjam in the Loftus Sports Center. Opened in 1988, Loftus is a training and competition site for many of Notre Dame’s 26 varsity teams, as well as for club and rec sports events and marching band practices.


Such demand often forces activities to be held early in the morning or late at night — Loftus is used at least 18 hours a day during the winter months. Among the advantages of the new Irish Indoor Athletics Center, athletic director Jack Swarbrick ’76 says, will be improved scheduling to help varsity athletes have “a more typical student experience.”


 The 111,400-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in July 2019 across Leahy Drive from the Joyce Center, also may be used for campus and community events, athletic camps, intramural sports, pep rallies and other football-weekend activities.



The Commission on College Basketball, established by the NCAA in the wake of an FBI investigation into fraud and corruption in the sport, issued its reform recommendations in April.


Chaired by Condoleezza Rice ’75M.A., with members including Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, ’76, ’78M.A., and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith ’77, the independent commission called for an end to policies that encourage “one-and-done” players; more freedom for athletes to explore professional prospects without compromising their college eligibility; the disentanglement of player recruiting from events sponsored by apparel companies; and stronger punishments for rules violations.


The NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors both announced unanimous support for the proposals, though for now they are just that: proposals. New NCAA policies have yet to be passed — and the issue of players leaving after their freshman seasons is not even the result of NCAA policy but rather of an NBA-imposed age-floor barring players 18 years old and younger from the professional sport.


The commission urged the NBA to rescind that limit, allowing players to enter the NBA draft directly out of high school. Short of that, Rice suggested that the NCAA could consider other means toward achieving the same end, such as reinstating an old policy that rendered freshmen ineligible to play varsity basketball, or “freezing” a school’s scholarship for a certain number of years when a player leaves school early to turn pro.


The financial stakes involved in the business of Division I college basketball — high-salaried coaches, players with multimillion-dollar potential who cannot legally be compensated for it as long as they remain in college — create what the commission called “a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat.” Insufficient NCAA rules enforcement, the report added, has made the reward worth the risk for those who choose to violate legal or ethical standards, costing the association credibility and compromising the very idea of major college basketball as a worthy endeavor for an educational institution.


With its recommendations, Jenkins said, “the commission seeks to sound the death knell of the educational sham that is ‘one and done,’ restore integrity to the game and otherwise remind us that a college’s first obligation to its athletes is a good education.”



More than 100 weddings are held each year at Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Many more couples want to be married there than the iconic sanctuary can accommodate.


A flood of phone calls on the annual “Basilica Monday” in March was the method wedding parties followed for 25 years to secure one of the precious few spots. That process has changed.


An online reservation system went live July 1 at Other sites for campus weddings are included — the basilica’s Lady Chapel, the Log Chapel, and the Mary Queen of Angels Chapel in Flaherty Hall.


Updated daily with dates available over a two-year period, the reservation system allows applicants to submit a form stating their date and time preferences. After that initial, electronic step, a representative of the liturgy office assists couples with the rest of the reservation process.



Starting with the Notre Dame-Michigan football game on September 1, the University will implement a clear-bag policy for fans attending ticketed events at Notre Dame Stadium, Purcell Pavilion and the Compton Family Ice Arena.


Bags must be clear plastic and no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. They may have a modestly sized logo on one side. One-gallon clear plastic zip bags will be permitted. Bags that do not adhere to the policy will be prohibited, and no bag check will be available.


Clutch bags and wallets do not have to be clear if they are 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches or smaller — about the size of a hand — and items such as keys and phones may still be carried in pockets.

Exceptions to the policy, which is detailed at, will be made for approved medical equipment, with inspections at designated gates.



Bill Cosby received an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1990. After his conviction in a Pennsylvania court in April on sexual assault charges, the comedian and sitcom star became the first person in University history to have this honor rescinded.


Cosby’s appearance at the 1990 Commencement turned controversial when he berated Dean Brown ’92 for his grade-point average at a gathering of black graduates and their families, leaving the former football player in tears. Brown went on to a successful career in education before his death in 2012 at age 44, but the man known to his friends as “Big Happy” felt scarred for years after the Cosby incident.