Theodore Hesburgh it's not too late | Syracusefan.com

Theodore Hesburgh it's not too late

Orangeyes

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Joe Petrowski drives a nail through the heart of every Syracuse fan's heart with this winning field goal attempt that should never have been. George Sefick is the holder

Tomorrow evening at Drumlins, Syracuse native, the Right Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh is going to be inducted into the Greater Syracuse Hall of Fame.

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As you may or may not recall Father Hesburgh was the president of Notre Dame on November 18, 1961 when the Fightin Irish defeated Syracuse 17-15 after a controversial call gave them a second chance for a field goal.

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JFK even went so far as to ask him publicly if he was going to give the game back to Syracuse. Of course he did not and thus developed Syracuse's original contempt for all things Notre Dame. To this day that score remains in the books as a defeat for the Orangemen and our record has forever stood at 8-3 when it should read 9-2.

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As I recall, it also cost us a more prestigious bowl than the Liberty in Philadelphia.
Ironically, the Ernie Davis led Orangemen beat Miami by 15-14, the same score we should have beaten Notre Dame by four weeks earlier. In that game on December 16, Davis rushed for 140 yards and scored 1 TD and was named MVP.

I believe there was a misapplication of the rules not described here
A description of what happened on that criical call

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His HOF Bio

Born in Syracuse in 1917, the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, a graduate of Most Holy Rosary grade school and high school, rose to perhaps the most visible position in all of college academics - president of the University of Notre Dame. Named to that position in 1952, Rev. Hesburgh served in that capacity for 35 years, which was, at that time, the longest tenure among active presidents of American institutions of higher learning. He has been serving as President Emeritus since 1987 with an office on campus at the Hesburgh Library. An all-male school when Father Hesburgh became president, the Irish competed in nine varsity sports. Notre Dame became coeducational in 1972, requiring the school to institute a female athletics program through Title IX requirements. During his leadership at Notre Dame, Father Hesburgh oversaw the evolution of the school's athletic program. Twelve new sports were added, including wrestling, swimming, hockey, soccer and lacrosse for men, while creating tennis, fencing, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, swimming and cross country for women. Under his presidency, the Fighting Irish won nine national championships, including three in football and one in women's fencing. In 1960 he approved construction of the Athletic and Convocation Center, now known as the Joyce Center. Father Hesburgh was named founding Co-Chair of the
Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in 1989, a position he held until 2000. In addition to his long-term support and involvement in athletics, Father Hesburgh has been a champion of public service, having advised presidents and popes.
 

SWC75

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A terrific guy, though, one whom Syracuseans should be proud of, regardless of the results of that game.
 

Bortukal

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I don't get it. Can someone explain in a little more detail how we got the short end of the stick here? I've heard rumblings about this for many years but never understood what happened. Reading the info from the link above didn't clarify anything. Seems to me if the kicker was hit on the play then we should have been penalized with yards and another down. Must be more to it than that.
 

SWC75

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I don't get it. Can someone explain in a little more detail how we got the short end of the stick here? I've heard rumblings about this for many years but never understood what happened. Reading the info from the link above didn't clarify anything. Seems to me if the kicker was hit on the play then we should have been penalized with yards and another down. Must be more to it than that.

The rule at the time was that the moment a team kicked the ball, they became the defensive team and the other team became the offensive team. Sweeney slammed into both the kicker and holder after the kicker's foot made contact with the ball. At that point Syracuse had become the "offensive" team and a penalty against the offensive team does not require an additional play- the game can end on the infraction. But the referrees stepped off the penalty and gave Notre Dame another play and they kicked the game winning field goal.

Syracuse pointed out that under the rules, they were the offensive team at the moment of the infraction and the penalty should not have been enforced. The NCAA agreed but cited another rule that the result of a game could not be changed once the game was over. Syracuse pointed out that the whole issue is when the game was over and the score at the point the game chould have ended was Syracuse 15 Notre Dame 14. The NCAA still refused to change the result but said that if Notre Dame conceded the game, (as Cornell had done when they were granted a fifth down that allowed them to beat Dartmouth in 1940), it could still go into the books as a Syracuse victory.

After the controversy, the NCAA realized that switching the identity of the offensive and defensive teams in mid-play was a bad idea and that the intent of the rule that the game cannot end on a penalty against the defense was so the defense wouldn't have cart blanche to break the rules on the last play. Sweeney had, (stupidly, since it was a 56 yard field goal attempt), gone all out to block the kick and committed a clear infraction he should not have been allowed to get away with. They changed the rule to state that the kicking team remained the offensive team throughout the play.

My view is that Syracuse's positon was legally correct but morally, Notre Dame should have been granted the extra play.
 

Bortukal

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Ahhhh. Ok. Now it makes sense. Thanks for explaining that, SWC.
 

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