October 28th, 2010 at 11:29 AM ^

I just read the article on ESPN, and Brian Kelly made a statement that his thoughts are with the family, blah blah blah.  It is ultimately his call to put that kid up there in those conditions and then, if the rumors are true, to continue to practice after the incident.  I would think he is probably upset by what happened, as you would have to be a monster not to be, but I found myself offended hearing him talk about this poor kid and his family, when he is directly responsible for this happening.  I am a safety director in the construction field and to put anyone up in a lift like that in winds even half as strong as are being reported is borderline criminal.  This could get really ugly before it is all over.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

I'm going to hold off on putting this one on Kelly. I'm no fan of his, but I don't think the head coach is directly involved in decisions like this. If it turns out that the staff is to blame, then he might be the one to take the fall, but I doubt that he directly ordered him to go up there despite the wind.

But you're right in that it could get ugly before it's all over. State authorities are already investigating the incident. There's no question that this kid shouldn't have been up there in that kind of weather, so if he didn't go up by his own choice, heads will roll. 


October 28th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

It is a bit weak to suggest that BK is not responsible unless he told the kid to go up. I assume BK was at practice along with most of his assistant coaches when this happened. It is staggering to think that not one of them had enough common sense to realize that it might not be safe for a person to be 50 feet up in a portable lift filming practice in 40 mph winds. As soon as BK (or any senior member of the staff, for that matter) stepped on the practice field and saw tower(s) up on such a dangerous day, he should have told the video team to get those people down or at least questioned whether it was safe for them to be up there. This was so unnecessary and avoidable it makes me ill just thinking about it.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:25 PM ^

You never like to hear stories like this.  My thoughts and prayers to the student's family.  Hopefully those close to the individual can take solace in that the student passed on while doing something they love and being a part of a historic and world-class university and football program.

Fresh Meat

October 27th, 2010 at 9:48 PM ^

Yea I'm not sure what Blue in South Bend is talking about, it is windy as crap in south bend today.  I took my dog on a walk and walking into the wind was ridiculous, you almost couldn't do it.  I've seen the big lifts they go up on.  Some of them are anchored into the ground, some are not.  That one was not.  I have no clue why you would have someone up on one that wasn't anchored on a day like today.

03 Blue 07

October 28th, 2010 at 12:41 AM ^

Yeah, I am in Chicago, which is obviously just down the interstate, and as i was driving today around 6:30 pm, I heard this on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. My first thought, no joke, was "why the FUCK was he up in the tower on a day like this?" I mean, that is just absurd. I was walking downtown at 3:30 pm today (which is probably right around the time they're practicing in South Bend), and on the ground, there were gusts that were so strong they made it almost impossible to walk, and I weight 200 pounds.  There really is no excuse for the kid being up there on a day like today. And when I say "no excuse," I'm not blaming the deceased. This is such a shame, and so preventable. Hey, guess what: for one day, when it's blowing like mad, the day after a storm that saw a woman impaled in her car from a tree branch, perhaps maybe we don't need the kid climbing that shitty tower to film your shitty team practice. Ridiculous that he was up there.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:57 PM ^

According to ND nation, here's what his facebook status was that day:

"Gusts of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work... I guess I've lived long enough :-/"

"Holy fuck holy fuck this is terrifying"

Someone is going to get in a lot of trouble for this in the athletic department.  Rest in peace, young man.


October 28th, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

I'm sorry if this offends anyone; I don't intend to belittle this tragedy in any way. I just  want to tell you my honest reaction.  Put yourself in this kid's shoes for a second. You know the weather report. You know it's dangerous. Your job is some kind of internship filming football practice.

Before you even report to work, you know that to do your job today will be life-threatening. This kid evidences that knowledge with facebook meta.  Then when you report to work, you're terrified. Again, the kid trascribes his thoughts on facebook.

My gut reaction, MGoBlog Community: is it your priority to be on that "terrifying" tower, knowing it may kill you, and tweet about it?

Honestly folks, I want to know how you ever put yourself in that position, and who failed in his/her job teaching risk/reward to this kid. I'm not the smartest human in the world by a long shot, but there is no way in hell I'm standing on a rickety platform in 60 mph windgusts to film a football practice, knowing it could kill me to the point I'm terrified. NOT A CHANCE. It's the simplest of analyses. Benefit: football team gets bird's view film to study tomorrow. Risk: YOUR LIFE. Analysis over.

I tell the media director sorry, we're filming from the field today. Put it on someone in your department with authority.  If you want me to risk my life for this, Athletic Department, it's on you. Unless you're a soldier, a cop or a fire-fighter, no job is worth your life.

I have no doubt this young man was a smart kid who took initiative and had a promising future. Of course I'm praying for his soul and his family in their time of tragedy. But this is one that boggles my mind.


October 28th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

Your post doesn't offend me because it is a logical thought and from a third person perspective makes a lot of sense.  However, as a safety director, I can tell you that it doesn't work that way in the real world.  People will put themselves into all sorts of situations because they don't want to be the guy too scared to do his job.  If he is directly pressured to do something dangerous under threat of losing his job, his employer would be guilty of a willful offense and could face jail time.  More common, though, is the indirect pressure of not wanting to be perceived as a coward.  This would be especially true if there were multiple towers set up and multiple people in them.  Each of the people are probably scared, but no one wants to be the one to say something so none of them do.

Feat of Clay

October 28th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

Look, you're 20 years old, you have a job that a lot of kids would give their eyeteeth to have, and you're working in the service of a storied college program.  I can completely understand why it might be hard to stand up to the head staff and say "no, I'm not doing this today" even when your senses are telling you it's foolish to proceed. 

We can argue all day about what he should have done or whom he should have said no to, but why go there?


October 28th, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^


I think young people often have a tendency to think, "no, that can't really happen to me". The fact that he joked about it on Twitter might indicate that he didn't actually expect anything to happen and that he was simply making light of what he saw as just some stressful working conditions. If he really, actually, sincerely thought that he might be putting himself in danger by going up there, he probably wouldn't have done it. The reality is that college students often don't have the perspective on life and mortality that only years of experience can instill.  


October 28th, 2010 at 7:47 PM ^

I tell the media director sorry, we're filming from the field today. Put it on someone in your department with authority.  If you want me to risk my life for this, Athletic Department, it's on you.

I'm guessing the kid figured it wasn't his call, and that he might lose his job (or at least get chewed out and cause a scene) if he asked not to go up.

There's a nice post on NDNation about this:;pid=146604;d=this


October 27th, 2010 at 11:02 PM ^

Apparently, the decision on whether to film practice or not rests on the head coach and the coordinators... Kelly and his staff could be in a world of trouble.

Such a tragedy... and it could've been easily avoided.

The Impaler

October 27th, 2010 at 11:06 PM ^

To be honest this was not a "freak accident".  This was negligence by the ND staff.  They should have known that these towers were not safe to lift up to full height with these kind of wind gusts.

03 Blue 07

October 28th, 2010 at 12:47 AM ^

I am in complete agreement. And this is absolutely, positively negligence. Their only defense would be "assumption of risk," and they may say they asked the kid if he wanted to go up there, but that defense would be so incredibly weak in this instance. And they don't want a case like this going to trial if/(when) there's a lawsuit.

I am legitimately angry about this. Living in Chicago, and being outside today, I am in fucking disbelief that they'd put anyone up in this type of tower on a day like this. I mean, it is so blatantly ludicrous.

And then you read the kid's twitter posts, and it is just so, so sad. I mean, seriously, whoever made "the call" to have the kid in the tower today deserves a serious, serious penalty, and not just getting fired. Your negligence leads to a death of a fellow employee/volunteer? Yeah, you're out. Even if you're the head coach.

Sextus Empiricus

October 28th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

going to get done in 50-60 mph winds that is going to help you on game day?  Go inside and practice ball security - the team will get as much accomplished.  Not being there is not knowing - but the fact that practice continued (all I know is what I read - which may not be real) ... that goes beyond negligence.

Big change/consequences ahead for ND.  Hopefully all programs will heed this tragedy with change. 

Dan TrueBlue

October 28th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

This really could go bad for Kelly too....  The facebook post from someone named Kent Rieger looks like it's advising Declan to tell someone about his concerns: "tell brian kelly that, or someone who....."  

It was clearly acknowledged as a big risk by multiple clear-thinking people.


October 27th, 2010 at 11:22 PM ^

These winds were not freak and were not surprising. They came from my (MN) way; we had them two days ago. I'm saddened and angry at the moment; I guess I hope that we learn there was some extenuating circumstance. At the moment, it sounds like a case of backwards priorities writ large.

Sgt. Wolverine

October 27th, 2010 at 11:26 PM ^

Having filmed high school games in that sort of lift, I'm shocked anyone thought it was a good idea to send him up in the lift in that weather.  That this could have been prevented by a modicum of good judgment makes it even more tragic.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:42 AM ^

The football practice field is on my way home, so without even thinking about it I drove by.  I saw the lift.  And I got pissed. 

I can tell you that when all of the information comes out about this, it will make you want to hit someone with a baseball bat.  From what I saw, that kid was EASILY 25-30 feet in the air, and possibly much higher (I didn't care to look for too long).  How anyone could look at that situation in 60 mph winds and put a 20-year-old up there is beyond me.