everytime an auto worker gets hurt.
Brian Kelly is supposed to be an expert on securing sissor lifts?
Will he get fired if the lawn man runs over his own foot?
everytime an auto worker gets hurt.
Brian Kelly is supposed to be an expert on securing sissor lifts?
Will he get fired if the lawn man runs over his own foot?
Only partially. Ford Motor Company and every other large industrial concern takes great concern in worker safety. You don't fire Mr. Ford if he's take reasonable precautions for worker safety. If Swarbrick and/or Kelly did not take reasonable precautions or ignored them, they deserve to be fired, or if they have any honor, resign.
They don't make anyone put together a carburetor in a wind storm at high altitude. There is a big difference between the kid falling off the platform accidentally and sending him up there in unsafe conditions.
We use both scissor lifts and manlifts at my work. When the wind is a minimum of 20mph, we are not allowed to use them under any circumstances. This is my company's rule, not OSHA. Also, we are required, per company rules, to wear a full body harness with a lanyard that attaches to the safety latches that are mounted on the lifts. These things sway like a mother the higher they are, that's with no wind. Add a slight breeze and watch as you bowels try escaping!
edit: I just looked at OSHA's site and all they really require is that if a guardrail is not in place, then the employer must provide alternate means of fall protection.
I remember painting the support beams in the warehouse at my college job on one of those. Indoors they're freaky. When I moved it outside and there was a light breeze i was freaked out by it. Everytime I needed to move, I would lower the thing, move it, and raise it back up again. I don't know how those things are OSHA approved at all.
And I wasn't wearing a harness, which, apparently I should've been.
Dead is dead if you work at Ford or ND, have 100,000 employees or 1. It seems to me that in a smaller organization (such as ND's football operations) with fewer layers of management and less complexity there is even more responsibility placed on the leader of that organization for safety.
Someone sent that kid up there in gale force winds. Which means that someone made a very, very bad decision. The athletic director and coach have the basic responsiblity to see to it that people don't die. As leaders they set appropriate policies, ensure they are communicatated to and understood by managers and workers, and later compel compliance. They cannot be all places at all times, sure, but they certainly hire managers and should expect them to follow procedures or at a minimum use good judgement.
If there were no safety policies, then they must resign. If they allowed policies to be ignored, they must resign. If they hired people who willfully circumvented policies, then they have terrible judgement and must resign. A kid is dead here because someone didn't have the intelligence or the balls to say no.
If the tweets and FB updates the kid made are credible, he certainly knew that the potential for gale-force winds were there (tweeted prior to heading in that there would be 60mph winds, and tweeted - or maybe updated FB - WHILE ON THE LIFT that it was scary as s***).
I also think it was foolish of Swarbrick to come out and state that things seemed calm up until that single gust of wind that toppled the lift. He's basically exonerating his staff before any investigation has taken place. I understand supporting them, but that was just foolish.
And not that this has anything to do with anything, but the kid is from the town in which we live.
The first thing I thought of after reading the transcript of that kid's twats is that he was one heck of a dedicated employee/student! If I were in that situation, I have to think that I would have gotten down off that lift the second I felt as scared as this kid apparently was (based on his twats). It makes me wonder what kind of pressure the video kids are under in a football program. Would he have been ostracised or looked down upon for calling it a day while the practice continued? Or was he really just a dedicated employee/student whereas I am a slacker? Regardless, its a horribly tragic thing to have happen.
The storm system which caused all of this set a record for minimum pressure in recorded meteorological history. For non-science or weather folk out there, the lower the pressure in a low pressure system, the higher the winds for the most part. It was a historic event in meteorology, and it was forecasted a week in advance. Every single news outlet and weather predicting entity in the country knew well in advance that winds would be strong across the whole midwest that day. If any one of the people who were in charge of making this happen even so much as glanced at the morning weather that day, they would have known that the winds would most likely be strong all day. Not to mention, after watching this thing develop from Tuesday through Thursday, there is about a .01% chance that the winds were calm at any point during practice, as Swarbick claims. Granted, the winds were not howling at 60 mph for an sustained period of time, but there is no doubt in my mind that they were consistently strong enough to preclude operating a lift like that. Make no mistake, this was completely preventable and completely unacceptable.
Bullshit. Nobody disputes there were gale force winds. Nobody disputes the poor student was sent up there. If there were not gale force winds when he was sent up there were before he crashed and died. Where were the damn adults?? Brian Kelly goes into the homes of high school kids and tells the parents he will look after their child. But I guess that care and oversight only extends to those who play football and not those who merely undertake tasks for the football program. And I think we can legitimately wonder if it even extends that far. This is not complicated. It is malfeasance. And some unfortunate kid paid for it with his life. If Kelly and Swarbrick had any honor they would resign. I have no idea how they can look at themselves in the mirror.
that's the crux of the issue. i doubt he was "sent" up there. he probably went up there because he thought he had to. it was his job. and that job is probably taken for granted, so nobody had the foresight to tell the kid not to. to expect the coach to have that on his priority list is, unfortuneately, unreasonable.
college football is not one of them. Someone made a bad call here and needs to step up and take the bullet. If this happens at Michigan - I would expect a sincere mea culpa and resignations up to the AD level (depending on circumstance.) I'm not an insider but I can't imagine the HC is very far from the management chain wrt practice film.
ND is not getting special treatment here in my opinion. This is basic leadership. If you don't make safety an organizational first priority - torts will make your organization change that (I would hope.)
Comparing this to an industrial accident is ridiculous. There isn't a Russel 2000 company without worker safety as its primary operational focus.
Bill Ford has global facilities and Kelly has a practice field to monitor so your span of control is different. The question comes down to if he willfully endangered the student by sending him on a lift when common sense dictated otherwise. What would need to be proven is if a logical person would make a different choice given the circumstances. It is possible that it was only breezy out and a large gust of wind toppled the lift, nothing you can do there. However, consistent high winds would provide a clue to you regarding putting something up in the air. I assume the parents would pursue some sort of civil case and much of this would be answered or attempt to be proven since it would affect any settlement.
the lift bolted down in the first place. Nobody in authority cared enough to even think about it. Some kid is dead and half the people discussing this treat it as if he just broke a leg.
If whoever made this decision knew the kid would be endangered being up there that's satisfies intent and means he was reckless. If he didn't then he (or the person decided they should go up) was just negligent.
I'm not familiar with Indiana's caselaw on the subject, but in some states this could give rise to a homicide charge. It's that serious.
Just last year in Toronto there was a well-publicized incident of a scaffold collapsing on Christmas Eve when proper saety measures were not followed. That incident (http://www.thestar.com/printarticle/876394) has led to criminal negligence charges against the company owners. Obviously, this is Canada and the story is totally different but it does indicate that in some jurisdictions you don't even have to be present to be criminally liable and responsibility goes all the way to the top. Note: I am not saying Brian Kelly is responsible, I'll let OSHA decide.
Yeah I have no idea whether Kelly is the one this might fall on. I'm not sure if Indiana has adopted this to any extent, but under the (influential) Model Penal Code, if you kill someone in the course of consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that's involuntary manslaughter. And if you don't realize the risk, but should have, that's negligent homicide.
At every place of employment, worker safety is someone's job. At Ford it is not Bill Ford's job. He has delegated it. If he hasn't, then he is ultimately responsible, but I assure you he has delegated it. Whatever the case, someone is going to be accountable if someone dies on the job. You can't just say that it was no one's job so no one is responsible.
In this case, I have a feeling it was no one's job. So it does fall on the "CEO", whether that's Swarbrick or Kelly or the director of video operations. Whoever this falls on, I can't help but feel bad for him, because obviously no one wanted this to happen.
No, this is like firing Alan Mulally because one of his plants burned to the ground, killing everyone inside.
Or firing Tony Heyward because one of his oil rigs blew out...
Can I fire you for that avatar? <shudder>
It seems to me that one of the coaches (preferably the head coach) would look at the kid up in the scissor lift with 50 mph winds and say, "he shouldn't be up there, get him down." Besides the fact that they have warnings on the machines that say not to be up that high with half that wind speed.
My initial reaction was that both the coach and the AD should tender registrations. Fiascos like this demand taking responsibility; even if either had no idea the kid was in the tower both are responsible for a cultural atmosphere that did not value safety
The AD comes off like a total sleazeball trying to pass the buck with his "Well, I wasn't really there" comments followed by "Then this crazy unexpected super-powerful wind came out of nowhere."
are they registering?
No, I think the poster is right in that they are "tendering" registrations (i.e. handing them in) and not registering tenders. My reading is that they are tendering registrations for their cultural atmospheres. What I'm not sure about is where they register something like that. The USP&TO?
...And what I think is even further damning to Kelly is Jim Tressel's comments. They show that at least one coach in America was thinking about this exact problem. Why wasn't Kelly?
Another poster below mentioned that they would withhold judgement until all the facts are in, which I think is extremely fair. However I do think a criminal investigation needs to take place here. I want to know if someone should be charged with negligent homocide b/c there is no reason that that student should have lost his life.
The Tressel quote is incredibly damning.
“It looks a little nasty. I worry about our cameramen, their well-being up there 50 feet in the air.”
This is the money quote. I imagine it will come up again and again, and it will haunt Brian Kelly and this poor kid's family forever.
but I respect him as a man. THAT is how a responsible person looks at a situation like this.
Did Tressel do anything other than worry? Was the OSU lift bolted down? Was the grad assistant up in it or not?
and read he moved the practice indoors. I could be mistaken though.
The head football coach has final say over everything that transpires on the practice field. Everything. That’s why Ohio State’s Jim Tressel moved the Buckeyes’ practice inside on Tuesday when wind gusts made conditions unsafe.
No, I didn't. I wasn't trying to be snarky, just curious. I've been reading grad school texts all day and haven't really had much time to read any news. I got sucked into the thread and curious about it, but figured I should get back to reading. Which I shuold actually do now, too. Sorry for asking easily answerable questions.
Uh, tender resignations.
With my meager knowledge of how practices and programs are run (in the sense of who is responsible for what), I wouldn't put the blame on Kelly. It seems like it's more of an equipment failure (e.g. the lift isn't bolted down, I'm sure Kelly has no idea what kind of force is necessary to tip it over, etc) than recklessness on the part of the coaching staff.
Regardless of who is to blame (if any one person can be blamed for it), what a horrible tragedy. Hopefully programs will be much more careful and cognizant of the danger in the future.
from what i've read online regarding this issue - he is under the management of Kelly.
Yeah, its the coaches program. The AD can't be out monitoring every videographer and grad student at a top flight athletic school. Coaches are responsible for those that support and volunteer for their program.
Wouldn't that be the job of the Director of Football Operations?
Those lifts specify that they should not be used in winds over “25MPH” Kelly moved practice in the day before due to the winds over 25mph. So what changed? Nothing, I would not blame it on the equipment at all. Just a DUMB call by Kelly! But what else is new?
It seems like it's more of an equipment failure.
"Equipment failure" implies that the equipment didn't do what it was designed to do. It was designed to withstand the force of 25 MPH winds. The winds were twice that high, meaning the tower was subjected to 4 times the designed tolerances.
That's like jamming Charlie Weis into a pair of jeans with a 32-inch waist, and then blaming Levi Strauss when the seam gives way.
"Failure" was a bad choice of words on my part, I didn't mean it was the lift's fault or that there was a problem with the lift. "Issue" or "usage" might be better terms. I meant that Kelly's not an expert on lifts, and the issue was the safe use of the lift.
Then again, going by everyone's responses, it sounds like people more in the know than me are saying this is directly within Kelly's realm of responsibility. So it sounds like I'm just flat out wrong from the get go.
Well, I don't think you're flat-out wrong.
I dislike Kelly as much as anyone, but his responsibilities are numerous. Like any head coach. He's got to know the playbook, the rules, the NCAA regulations on everything down to the decibel of fart he can crack off in a recruits house..... He's overseeing the development of all the kids on his roster, their equipment needs, the training regimen, their opponents, his staff & position coaches, whether those kids are going to class, their upcoming court hearings (if you're Dantonio, har), the facilities, who's injured and whether they can play, the story you're going to spin for playing your obviously concussed QB, recruiting, the upcoming prospect visits.... I mean the list goes on and on. Is Kelly supposed to be directly in charge of all of this? Of the filming crew? Of the various equipment on the sidelines? It's an unrealistic expectation.
Yes, Kelly has staff to help with a lot of that. Including someone else who presumably knows how to safely operate (or NOT operate) a lift when you're going to put one of your young videographers up there. I don't expect Kelly to know that any more than I expect him to know what size batteries went into the camera the young man was operating for the football program.
That this happens is a black mark on Kelly, no doubt. I wish to god he'd looked up and said "Who sent that kid up in this wind? Get him down." But how much he's personally and directly accountable for the tragic decision here is a real question, and so I think your comments were sensible.
I disagree with you. The lift was swaying. If the coaches lacked common sense and technical knowledge of the lift in 50 mph winds, a coach, any coach, should have noticed the lift swaying and then called the kid down.
That Weis-Levis analogy could be one of the best analogies I've ever read. Outstanding sir!
Lots of things needed to go wrong in this tragedy. I think it's fair to say that Kelly is partly responsible, but (apart from common sense, anyway) how much does he know about those towers? They might be watched / administered by an assistant coach or some other peripheral type.
Securing them to the ground would obviously help, too, where possible, but that doesn't appear to be standard for everyone.
As much as I'd like to avoid talking about the student, I wonder what he was thinking up there (Tweets aside). Presumably he had access to the controls. Personally, I think my exit threshold would be extremely low in a situation like that. Easy for me to say, though -- I wasn't there.
Easy, Beavis. Here's my last paragraph, again:
"As much as I'd like to avoid talking about the student, I wonder what he was thinking up there (Tweets aside). Presumably he had access to the controls. Personally, I think my exit threshold would be extremely low in a situation like that. Easy for me to say, though -- I wasn't there."
Just wondering, that's all ... I don't think I'm *calling him out*. Sure -- I can understand that he would have felt some external pressure.
I have to agree with blueheron here. This entire discussion is about assigning blame for a tragedy. If we're actually going to have a reasonable conversation about this, I think that most of the board members here are mature enough to make dispassionate arguments in support of however they feel. How could we have a discussion that aims to fairly assign blame when certain points of view are forbidden because they are "too soon"?
As others have said, a lot of people had to make mistakes in order for this situation to transpire. I agree with blueheron that one of those people is the unfortunate kid who died, and while you may think that it's "too soon" for me to say that, that's not the way I feel.
Look at it this way: Your job is filming practice, so you see basically every instance where Kelly loses his shit because a player didn't do his job. You have a pretty plum job. Probably pays OK and you can brag to everyone you've got the kind of insider access to the program rarely found even in the media. Kelly probably goes apeshit a lot, and you know that, unlike the guys in pads he's going apeshit on, you're perfectly replaceable and those guys down there are at least trying to do their jobs. Whereas if you call it quits in the middle of practice, somebody else will be getting your paycheck posthaste.
Point is - it's a lot more than "some external pressure." And probably a lot of internal pressure too.
I sort of have my doubts those guys report directly to Kelly, though. Whoever that person is should be the first under the microscope and then go from there. I've never cared for the "fire the head guy for everything that could go wrong" attitude.
Presumably he had access to the controls. Personally, I think my exit threshold would be extremely low in a situation like that.
I think you may be underestimating the pressure he would have felt to stay up there. He's the absolute lowest man on the coaching totem pole, and football is a tough sport. If he comes down, people would accuse him of being weak. Like, "all those guys on the practice field are destroying each other out there, and you don't even have the balls to stay up there and film them?"
In that kind of environment, it's very difficult to distinguish between being tough and putting yourself at risk of real danger. It's the same reason players try to come back too soon from concussions and other injuries and end up doing themselves serious damage.
I used to work at Crisler Arena as a student during the Fab-5 era. The job was super-easy and I was never in any danger of physical injury (other than the ever-present chance of a slip and fall). That said, if I ever felt in physical danger I would have been out of there in a second. I'm not saying the kid should have left, I'm just thinking that there must have been some serious pressure to stay put. And if that's the case, there is definitely blame to be laid, whether its on specific individuals (being the coaches/administrators, not the kid!), the atmosphere in South Bend, or college football pressures in general. Probably a combo of all.
the kid's twitter posts are very sad.
I don't have a Twitter account, and would like to view the post. This is horrible, my prayers go out to his family.
Here you go, if anyone else wants to be saddened on a Friday
Ugh, I was browsing Reddit, and doing my usual of clicking on the picture links without really paying attention to what they are. I saw a screen cap of a twitter page talking about scary winds, and it took a while to realize what I was looking at. I kind of wish I hadn't saw them.
I have no idea what actually happened and as of right now, nobody else really knows for sure what happened either. Rather than playing the guessing and rumor game I'll just wait for the facts to come out from their investigation.
If Kelly is at fault for the accident, then we can call for his head. Without knowing the facts what's the point
you take a position? That's an unusual stance to take.
Winds of 50MPH
Tower not bolted to ground
Tower not to be used in winds over 25MPH
Student ordered up in tower
Tower crashes and student dies
Brian Kelly in charge of program
What other f**king facts do you need?
I wonder if Kelly has any sense of honor. If he did he would claim responsibility and resign.
All we know is that a young man died of a tragic accident. Rather than being uninformed and making inaccurate and potential ignorant statements about placing someones death on someone elses hands... I'll wait to hear the full store.
If you want to jump to conclusions though, by all means. I try to be responsible when blaming deaths on people though... silly me I guess.
some alumni or fans would use this to try and force his resignation. When you want a coach gone, you will grasp at anything to get them out of town.
Sometimes and accident is just that. In hindsight, it was a bad idea to send him up on that lift. Just like GoBlueinTX said, it was probably more of an equipment failure.
The most reasonable and likely outcome of all of this will be for programs (not just college, but all football programs) to be more cautious in weather like this.
An analogy here is the nets above NHL rinks. No one ever had them until that girl was killed. Looking back, putting up nets was a pretty good idea, and should have been done a long time ago.
I'd bet that a lot of student managers have gone up in scissor lifts during high winds and have come back down alive. Looking back, that was a bad idea as well, but until a tragedy happened, nobody really thought about it. Holding Kelly accountable here is really just looking to blame someone. If ND (or anyone else) sends a kid up in a scissor lift again during 50 mph winds, then maybe you have a point about holding someone accountable.
In the end, this was tragic. Sometimes accidents happen and the only reaction is to avoid the behavior in the future.
NHL analogy doesn't really register...it's the arena and NHL's decision to put nets up. It's the coaches decision to practice outside.
Look, I've been a student manager at UofM and I have a very high appreciation for how these things are run. There is not a lot of delegation when it comes to (1) where the team practices on a given day and (2) who is filming what, when. Yes, there is a film coordinator who is an adult on full salary, but he takes his cue from the coaching staff who take their cue form the head coach. I find it VERY hard to believe that someone in that chain didn't express concern over sending that kid up there, to eventually have Brian Kelly say "I don't give a shit, we're practicing outside because I say so. I want that film, just do your job."
Nothing I ever had to put up with resulted in someone's death or injury, but I was put in some precarious situations loading and unloading massive trunks or setting up goal posts or doing a million other ridiculous tasks in not-so-safe conditions JUST BECAUSE THE COACHES SAY SO!
Whether it's right or wrong, no one in these types of programs has the balls to stand up to the top guys. You're expendable ESPECIALLY as a student manager and if you don't want to do it, they will find someone that will. D-I football programs don't run like a corporation....there is no oversight by a board or labor law that defines how the workplace is run (in practice...I know it still applies). These are dictatorships with the dictator, in this case Brian Kelly, involved in 99% of the decisions.
We don't have all the facts yet, I admit that, however I would bet a large sum of money that the ultimate decision to practice outside was on Kelly AND (although he may not have explicitly stated that this kid had to be 50ft in the air) the implication of an ass reaming by Brian Kelly was the major reason for this kid being in an absolutely unsafe position.
At the end of the day, if these things are even partially true, Brian Kelly should lose his job becuase his decision made in negligence casued the death of a kid...simple as that.
We could start a new template for board posts:
"Whitlock Calls for _________'s head in __________." It would probably be useful at least twice a month.
The investigation should continue, and I imagine that conclusion should eventially be reached, but two days later seems a little "knee-jerk reactionary," aka, Whitlock territory.
No kidding. I can't stand Whitlock, although he does make some valid points. Can't say I'm surprised he's one of the first reporters to call for Kelly's head, though. He just flat out hates ND. I'm pretty sure he was the one who said ND's athletic administration was racist for firing Willingham.
Brian Kelly is not the direct supervisor of the student managers. There were several dozen people around with the authority to order the kid down, but didn't. Holding him personally and solely responsible for every single thing that happens is not even close to reasonable.
Looks like Fox Sports is learning from ESPN to make money on page hits by deliberately being stupid and controversial.
What kind of environment is Kelly building where a figure in authority allows a dangerous situation to continue? A kid is dead. Someone should have stopped it. Kelly is the captain of this ship and there were failures of leadership in the organization, which means there were failures at the top - Kelly or Swarbrick failures.
I respect your opinion. Even if the MBA in your name doesn't refer to the Master's of Business Administration, I agree the leader should always take the blame for faults downstream.
Name does refer to an MBA, but my strong opinions on the matter relate mostly to my time as a commissioned officer in the service of Uncle Sam.
is employed directly by the athletic department, not the football team. Somebody had to be around when he checked out the camera that morning, and should have warned him about the wind.
If you want to play the "blame goes to the top" game, there were other people from the athletic department around with higher authority than Kelly who could have and should have recognized the hazard. The Director of Football Operations and the Athletic Director himself were on the field when this happened.
There's plenty of blame to go around, but singling out Kelly remains inane and silly.
The football team has it's own film department. Technically all of the coaches and staff that "work directly for the football team" work directly for the AD, just like this kid did.
He didn't "check-out" a camera to head down to the football building from the AV department. He works on a staff of probably 5-6 that is focused exclusively on ND football....trust me on this. Brian Kelly had a lot ot do with the reason this kid was in an un-safe position. It's not silly to hold him accountable for that.
As others have alluded to, I don't see how you can hold Kelly responsible for the tower/lift falling. He probably had no idea whether it was bolted down or not. It's hard to imagine that it is his responsibility to make sure the tower/lift works properly.
This was a tragedy, to be sure, but it wasn't Kelly's fault as far as we know. Based on nothing more or less than my long-time impression of Whitlock (I used to live in KC), I'm not even convinced that he believes that Kelly is at fault. He may just be stirring things up to get hits to his article...I know, it's hard to believe that a journalist would do that.
Edit: Others beat me to the "questioning Whitlock's sincerity" punch. I love that this board tends to see through the crap of people like him.
He probably had no idea whether it was bolted down or not.
If this is true, this is a huge massive red flag for Notre Dame and Brian Kelly. There's a lawsuit coming. And when it does, I wouldn't want to be Notre Dame's general counsel when Brian Kelly answers that in a deposition.
That crane is up there because the head coach wants it up there. He wants video to be taken so he can prepare his team. If he wants people up there operating it, he better know how that thing works. Someone is to blame for this, and eventually all roads lead back to Brian Kelly, or maybe even Jack Swarbrick.
The tower/lift did not fail. It was used in fashion for which it is not made. This is like saying I drove my Ford Focus through a mountain pass, crashed, and injured myself, so I am going to blame Ford for the vehicle failing. A Focus isn't meant to go off-roading like this lift wasn't meant to be 5 stories up with 50 mph winds.
Thank you. I've read a lot of cop outs so far about how the equipment failed, as if it was just defective. This accident was not just some freak accident; saying that it was and we should move on is missiing the opportunity to keep this from happening again and holding people accountable.
There's a larger disagreement here, though. I doubt that it is Kelly's job to even think about the tower/lift, much less know how much windpower it can take, etc...I might be wrong. We don't have all the information.
Kelly is ridiculous and is just inflammatory. Your only argument was that Kelly is CEO (which, in fact he is not CEO, he's a divisional VP, with Sawbrick as the CEO). Regardless, this was a very unfortunate accident and some accidents don't have blame.
A coach is more akin to a CEO and an AD is like the Chairman of the Board
See my post above. ND Football, like most D-I programs including UofM, is not run like a corporation. It's a dictatorship. Brain Kelly also makes about 10 times what Swarbrick makes...name a "divisional VP" that makes more than the CEO at any corporation in America.
Come on, jblaze. There were explicit instructions not to use the equipment in winds over 25MPH. It was an unfortunate accident but one that would not have happened if the equipment was used as directed. That being the case, there are people responsible for this accident and, if they had any honor whatsoever, they would hold themselves accountable.
I'm just going to assume you didn't read the article. The kid was sent up in a lift that was being subjected to more than 4x the amount of stress it was designed to safely withstand. Even if the person who sent this kid up didn't know he was endangering the kid, he certainly should have known and that's enough to make him negligent.
I remember one particular practice during a heavy storm, our film guy was up on the scissor lift and it was leaning heavily due to the winds. Practice stopped and we kind of laughed at the guy doing the filming. Being a dumb teenager, it didn't dawn on me what kind of danger that kid was in at the time.
This is truly sad for the kid. I don't know if you can actually BLAME Kelly for this but I'll be he'll have nightmares for a long time.
That was really dumb, though there was some confusion afterward (mabye just my own) as to whether Kelly put Crist in despite the fact that his vision was blurry (bad idea) or despite the fact that, immediately after the injury, he was blind in one eye (insanely bad idea)...There is a difference, though, between being old-school/stupid about concussions and having some knowledge that the kid in the tower/lift was likely to die.
I think that putting Crist back into the game was worse, especially since it came on the heels of numerous news stories where we have been finding out how truly devastating concussions can be for years after they occur. I find it possible that Kelly was ignorant of the fact that filming practice would be unsafe outside, but I find it impossible that he didn't know that putting Crist back into the Michigan was a severe risk to his health.
So a concussion is worse than death? What?
I actually agree. I think Kelly will take the fall on this one. The managers/videographers are under the coaches control. Coming off a bad week, Kelly was probably dismissive or unconcerned for his safety. His mind was no doubt on practicing and figuring out what the hell is wrong with his team. His oversight and poor judgement ultimately lead to the death of Sullivan.
Obviously, I'm not saying he's a bad guy and intentionally tried to get him hurt, but its inexcusable to have a student volunteer perched stories high in 50 mph winds. Those things aren't even supposed to be in use over 25mph.
And here I thought all Whitlock called for was pizza and cheeseburgers.
Indeed. Imagine my embarrasment at 100% agreement with Mr. Whitlock
Having worked in the 90s with the film and support staff, I can tell you this:
The head coach decides whether or not to have practice based on the on-field conditions, not the safety of the video staff. While I was on staff there we had several high wind outdoors - BUT the video staff would recognize that being up in the lift was unsafe and either not video that day's practice or take it from the filed-level.
I specifically remember one occasion when Coach Moeller yelled out in the middle of an outdoor practice "Where's my video guys?!?" and one of the GAs telling him it was too windy, to which he replied "if I'd have known that I would've had practice in the building". What this illustrates is that the head coach is not thinking of every single detail about the decision to have indoor or outdoor practice and what the implications are.
Ultimately it is the Video Coordinator - the person who that video camera operator reports to - that is responsible for the safety of his staff. He needs to speak up to Kelly on such an important matter as the safety of his guy. If he did, and Kelly insisted on taping the practice, then the responsibility is solely Kelly's
With winds at that speed and the way the lift must have been moving, wouldn't you say the video would have been pretty much useless? I am sure the kid was just doing his job and didn't want to back out of his responsibilities, but why wouldn't the Video Coordinator call off filming because they probably weren't going to be able to use the film anyway.
This was so completely avoidable it is disgusting. From the head coach down to the video coordinator there was a complete lack of responsibility for safety. My prayers go out to this kids' family and friends.
The video coordinator undoubtedly has a lot of blame to shoulder as well. What we don't know yet is who makes the call. Maybe Michigan video coordinators had the right to make that call in the 90's, but maybe it's someone different at Notre Dame. When we know what the answer to that is, then we'll know whose head will roll.
(Don't be surprised if Notre Dame makes it look like this one is on the video coordinator, even if it's not)
I just discussed this specific situation w/ a friend at lunch. If your scenario does play out...ND better be ready for that Film Coordinator to be brutally honest about his interations with Brian Kelly and the coaching staff prior to sending that kid up in the lift. It is this situation that results in the Film Staff saying, "Look, we did raise the issue, but the head coach told us to get out there and film." In this case it's both on Brian Kelly AND the adult Film Coordinator for not considering the safety of a student.
FWIW as a matter of policy we ground our lifts if winds are reaching 28mph now. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/ncaa/10/28/notre-dame-student-death.ap/index.html?eref=sihp
to me the argument begins and ends with the maximum allowed wind speeds per the manufacturer of the scissor lift. I have heard 25 mph which may or may not be the case.
Regardless, the number should have been known by the operator and whoever is in charge of the practice facility. I do not know if that falls on Kelly or not.
Is frankly kidding themselves. This was the strongest non-costal storm in US history - the lowest pressure ever recorded in a U.S. non-coastal storm, 955 mb, which is roughly the pressure of a Category 2 hurricane.
Someone sent this kid up there when they shouldn't have. Even if he wanted to go, that person should have said no. This was a 100% preventable tragedy.
this pic will be Exhibit A.
In any college program where film study is put at a premium, the decision to film is directly tied to the tolerance that the coaching staff is willing to have for going a day or two without film.
The explicit decision to film may not have been Kelly's. But it absolutely was made after considering his policy. It's a "culture of the coach" kind of deal.
Pos'd for SP reference.
As for the actual story, the death of the kid is sad, but Kelly shouldn't be fired for it. It is, however, inexcusable to have that kid up there filming in heavy winds like that.
I don't know if heads should necessarily roll but this is going to be a huge PR loss for ND. We live in a blame-oriented culture in which people are routinely held accountable for things beyond their control. As Lenore Skenazy has said, we now live in a society that no longer believes in accidents. This is a good and a bad thing. But, in this case, the relevant decisions seem that they actually were very much in the hands of Kelly/ Swarbrick/some other guy and those decisions led directly to the death of this kid. It was an accident, for sure, but certainly someone was negligent. We'll find out, at some point, exactly who and how but neither Kelly and Swarbrick can come away with clean hands here.
Whitlock says. That tragedy was one of gross negligence.I think Swarbrick should as well. His reaction is ridiculous.
Someone died because these fools were not paying attention. That to me indicates a leadership that is not up to the responsibility of leading.
I think people are looking for someone to blame for the senseless death of Declan Sullivan, but sometimes events like this happen and nobody is at fault. Yes, Kelly probably should have kept practice indoors on that day, but hindsight is always 20/20 and I'm sure other coaches would/did hold outdoor practices in similar conditions. It was a horrific wind storm, more similar to a hurricane than anything you see on land, and in a confluence of events someone died. My heart goes out to the family
I'm fine with people connected to the problem lashing out a bit as a way to cope, but for Whitlock to act outraged as a means to gain some page hits (and don't doubt for a second that this is a major reason for this position) is depressing. Whitlock has a history of generating inflammatory articles to stir controversy so I'm not surprised, but trying to create a villain where none existed shows just how little sense of journalism Whitlock applied to this article.
It didn't take a horrific wind storm to bring down the lift. It was rated for 25 mph; 50 mph was probably more than enough. I respect your opinion, but I think you're being diverted by the author of the article (whom I don't know or care about) being inflammatory. An unsecured large lift in high winds undoubtedly looks unsafe to many people, so it's not like this was impossible to see coming.
I'm not calling for Kelly's head yet or anything like that, but we would be doing the dead student a disservice if we just tried to move on and pretend it was just a freak accident.
But everyone has pointed out that the storm that led to this type of wind was the most destructive in recent memory. Honestly, I don't care who wrote the article (I actually think Whitlock does take some interesting stances on issues), but the idea that Kelly should be canned for a decision that was only somewhat in his control (I doubt he made the choice to not moor the tower) is illogical. Someone died and that should be mourned, but acting with faux moral indignation isn't helping anyone.
Michigan said its lifts are grounded if wind gusts reach 28 mph. On Tuesday, Michigan was filmed with lifts at 15-20 feet.
Michigan already has a policy in place and takes precautions in windy weather. In light of both that and Tressel's comments, ND football needs to take significant heat for its institutional negligence. How can nobody with authority exhibit even the tiniest shred of common sense in extraordinary weather?
Yes Whitlock is a troll. Yes he says things just to get people fired up. Yes he generally has no valuable opinion about anything.
But someone died here. And all the facts point toward someone being grossly negligent. This wasn't an act of God, malfunctioning crane lift. This was a young kid up in a rickety contraption in crazy weather conditions when he didn't have to be up there.
Point being, Whitlock's got a point in this case. It makes me feel dirty as much as the next guy, but I think all the disagreement on the board shows that he's not too far off in his assessment of the situation. For once.
and find a way to pass it off as an accident.
Can't do it. I have been that guy - the one responsible for telling people to go move or work on heavy things at heights while also being responsible for production and other bits of reality. The first consideration has to be for safety. I'm sorry, it might not be his fault, but it is his responsibility. The AD? I have no words strong enough to convey my disgust. At best, I could only hope he was speaking while he was still gripped by the emotion of the event.
If he's not worried about his qb (likely concussion against us) why would he be concerned about the cameraman? Not saying he put them in harms way intentionally, but the lack of concern for their well being is a problem.
What gets me is the amount of time he was up there. Sulivan sent that "this is terrifying" tweet 45 MINUTES before the accident. It would have been bad enough if they had him up there in those conditions for a few minutes, realized that the damn thing was swaying like a metronome, and pulled his ass back to earth. But that they left him up there for that long boggles the mind.
I don't know if Kelly should be fired (though I think probably not)... but he is partially to blame, and should have known better.
or the actual area of Kelly's responsibility. Someone screwed up big time in sending a kid up in 50 mph winds. But was that even Kelly's call?
Agree that Swarbrick's pre-emptive statement re: the sudden gust seems maladroit.
I'd like to preface my comment by saying I have followed coach Kelly from the time he was at GVSU. I love his coaching style and the way his football teams have played. With that said, what happened to that student is inexcusable. The only reason Kelly hasn't been fired yet is because big time football has a disproportionate importance in today's society, and that's coming from someone who never misses a Michigan game.
I'm beginning to think someone's ghost writing for Whitlock. He's an arrogant SOB and I never used to like his articles, but lately it seems like he's found a moral compass, and whether you agree or disagree with his takes, he's been consistent lately.
This is why Whitlock is the best columnist in the country. A provocative, creative and well reasoned column like usual.
There must be two Whitlocks.
Between this and putting Christ back in after not being able to se out of one eye for half the game, Brian Kelly has shown that he only has regard for Brian Kelly. I am further convinced every day he is a Class A Scumbag pretending to be a D1 coach.
Notre Dame, they would have won for sure. Even with one eye.
To the "it's an accident" crowd - no. Accidents still exist in our society. They happen when a person/group/entity was not negligent in taking the proper precautions. No one is held liable and life goes on as normal. The standard is usually fairly murky and it requires a jury and resort to testimony regarding what is standard industry protocol and the like.
Here, it's clear - someone was negligent and perhaps reckless. The standard is a bright line rule--25 MPH is too dangerous--and the wind was double that. If the victim's estate takes the proper people to court they will be liable.
Say what you want about the doctrine of respondeat superior (usually holding people at the top liable for rank and file employees' negligence), but if you looked at the policy considerations closely, most of you would agree with the rule. Just a few of the reasons:
Something to think about. As per usual, the people making the legal rules and common law are pretty damn smart.
It appears there is no uniformity of thought nationwide as to the use of these lifts:
I think every program is going to have to re-evaluate their policies in light of this tragic death.
Penn State and Michigan said their lifts are grounded if wind gusts reach 28 mph. On Tuesday and Wednesday, when much of the Midwest was being swept by winds much higher than that, the Wolverines football team practiced with lifts at 15-20 feet.
I have to agree with the "not an accident" crowd. Whether in the military, construction, manufacturing or any other business, especially one involving youth safety is first,. In all cases implementing effective safety procedures is cultural and culture, or lack thereof, is the responsibility of the boss.
The fact of the matter is that 100+ people watched a kid up on a scissor-lift in gusting winds. Hell, people are smart enough to secure bookshelves to studs to prevent toppling, yet not one person was smart enough to question the wisdom of this activity?
Perhaps there were appropriate safety procedures in place, perhaps the proper personnel were trained in the operation and limitations of a piece of equipment that can quite reasonably be seen to be dangerous. What I do know is that if my son played or was being recruited to play football for Notre Dame, I'd be asking some serious questions about every risk management policy that Coach Kelly and the athletic department have in place, from whether the dorms have sprinkler systems to what mitigation measures are in place to prevent a Korey Stringer incident.
I agree that someone should have taken the blame for this. However, that doesn't mean the coach should be aware of EVERYTHING happening. I'm in the Navy, so I'll use one of those metaphors.
The USS Washington had to go to port last year for an engine failure. The ship has about 5,000 people on it, around 100 of whom, at any time, are around the engine. There is a strict chain of command: the grunts do the fixing, the Dviision Officer checks to make sure that's ok, and up and up until the Commanding Officer (CO). The engine blows out. Who's fault is it? Technically the CO should know everything that happens on the ship and is responsible for it; he is, after all, responsible for and in charge of everything. Does the CO get fired for a mistake that 10 people made on a 5,000 man ship?* No. While a HC is like a CO in that they should know everything, they simply can't.
*His carreer is ruined, but that's a navy standard, and not a Coaching thing.
I just finished watching the mass that ND held for Declan last night. Too sad, but seeing the support from the entire campus community was extremely moving. Seeing his family was just heartbreaking, though. I've decided I'm not going to comment on anything related to this incident for a while out of respect for his family. If he were my brother/son, I wouldn't like reading stranger's comments about this tragic situation. Hopefully others think about this before they speculate and voice their own opinions.
If the winds were bad the day before and that day as well; Kelly knew it, knew of the dangers involved, looked at the scared kid and said "Well son, it's time to earn your keep today, what price are you willing to pay for the irish?", and knowlingly sent him into a life threatening situation because he is a win at all costs freak and could care less about people's safety and lives than his win loss record.... then he is a douche, no, well beyond a douche in words i can't curretnly express, and should never coach again ever for any reason.
Part of me pictures it that way, mostly because of my opinions of Brian Kelly as a man and a coach. Part of me realizes it could also be something much less damning and innocent or naieve on Kelly's pat, but the fact of the matter is, we won't know unless this is fully investigated, and even then... we probably still won't really know.
In the end, this is a tragic shame and my prayers are with this young man's family, God bless them in these trying times.
I think the kid's parents certainly have grounds for a suit against ND, but I'm not sure how much blame to assign to any one person. As football coach, Kelly may nominally have been in charge, but is it realistic to expect the coach, who has a thousand other things to keep track of, to make decisions about whether or not the scissor lift is to be used? I see it more as a general institutional failure than one specifically on Kelly's part. Oversight of the scissor lifts probably should be delegated to some kind of safety official, instead of basically leaving it up to the kid.
I found this on an ND site. Note the waiver agreement on page 13 (which even contains a grimly ominous typo):
It seems like ND officials did not recognize the general danger involved in using this equipment. The kid apparently wasn't even offered any training in its use. If this is typical of how schools approach this, it's a wonder we haven't had more accidents.
From the Whitlock peice,
“Things started flying by me that otherwise had been stationary for all of practice,” Swarbrick said. “Gatorade containers, towels, etc. I noticed the netting on the goal posts start to bend dramatically, and I heard a crash.”
I really feel bad for everyone involved with this, but i think if Swarbrick was there as well he should certainly shoulder some of the blame.
I find it strange that such an obviously dangerous situation wasnt questioned by anyone else attending practice.
i apologize if someone has said something similar, but i haven't ready th 150 posts.
this was, indeed, a tragedy, but to blame kelly, well, we need the facts to come out. my point is this - the head coach has countless things to worry about, mainly those preparing for the upcoming game. tell me how far down the totem poll is "hey, we will have a guy filming on a platform today, we should tell him to hold off". i mean, that job is a second-nature afterthought job. who could proactively stop that, except for the kid himself or his immediate superior.
unless, during the practice, kelly, the coaches, and players saw the kid up there, noticed it was dangerous, and did nothing about it. i doubt that happened. i think it was just a "take it for granted' type job, but will be taken for granted no more. unfortuneately.
Do I think the ND head coach and AD should be fired for poor decision-making that may or may not have contributed to a student's death? Hmmm...
It's remarkably stupid that someone didn't think that maybe 50+ mph winds are terrible conditions to video something way up in the air. That's more than a minor brain fart.
It's remarkably stupid that ND didn't appear to have a better policy and training regarding scissor lifts. What other machines are they using without proper safety training? Further, what if there had been additional bystanders in the way. If the scissor lift had landed on 12 people and killed 7, what then?
On the flip side, I don't expect administrators and coaches to be able to do everything at once and know the OSHA operating standards for every apparatus on the field or in the gym.
In the final analysis, I guess it depends how tolerant you are of stupidity and if you think that you could accurately identify the candidate(s) that would have averted the tragedy before it happened. Yeah, I'd rather have Jim Tressel than Brian Kelly as a head coach, but so would everybody else.
Brian Kelly's job is to run practice. The buck stops with him. He's cognizant of the weather conditions for his team. He wants a student in a high lift filming practice.
He can put two and two together. He did it the day before.
In my opinion, he is entirely liable. He was at the practice, he knew the conditions, and he moved forward anyway. He'll, HE CONTINUED PRACTICING!
With everything guys like Vector and others who have been up there (and feel the pressure to be up there) have said. It is scary up there.
And when the weather is bad, you're LUCKY if all you get is horrible frostbite from bare hands working the camera. I was worried INSIDE the other night when it hit that something was going to fall on my house. Being in that thing is just unimaginable to be in those conditions.
Kelly sent that student employee up there, knowing full well what the weather was. Kelly makes huge amounts of money to be in charge, he was in charge, he killed that student.
Just to crap on the memory of the student he killed, Kelly kept the practice going. Kelly should be fired, and be banned for life from any college employment.