FOX Sports columnist Jason Whitlock has weighed in on the death of Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan and writes that head coach Brian Kelly should be fired for his negligence in the situation.
Kelly should not coach the Irish on Saturday when they take on Tulsa.
We don’t need a thorough and exhaustive investigation to recognize Kelly’s negligence. A coach’s most important job, particularly at the amateur level, is to take every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of the young people under his control.
Kelly failed in the worst way possible.
Mitigating circumstances do not matter. Notre Dame’s video coordinator should not be held responsible. Declan Sullivan, who tweeted before and during practice the weather conditions were terrifying and life threatening, certainly isn’t to blame.
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.
Whitlock goes on to write that he understands why Kelly had his team practicing outside and also takes time to rip AD Jack Swarbrick for essentially making sure that the media knew he wasn’t at the practice long enough to tell Sullivan to come down.
I don’t know. My emotions say yes, fire Kelly and Swarbrick for their irresponsibility and extreme negligence. Sullivan should have never been on the lift in the first place and if Kelly thought it was dangerous enough to keep his team inside the day before because of a tornado warning, then he should have known not to have students filming practice from that high up during swirling winds. It was absolutely moronic for anyone to ok Sullivan being up on that lift.
That said, do we have the full details here? Do we know who was actually responsible for sending the young man up there? Was it Kelly, someone on his coaching staff, Sullivan’s boss, who? Did someone force him to go up there? If someone forced him to go up there, then done deal – someone has to lose their job. But if this was just a case of people not using their heads (as in, Sullivan went up there as he normally would and nobody thought to tell him to come down), then it’s up to the University to decide what the right course of action should be. Don’t follow up one irresponsible decision with another by firing people without compiling all the details.
Either way, a young man lost his life and for the time being, everyone should be morning his passing and not trying to assess blame. I imagine there will be plenty of time for that later.