ND employee shares sentiment, shuns words

Published 10:09 am Friday, April 2, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Even for an employee of the University of Notre Dame, the comments made by former Notre Dame standout Paul Hornung were painful to hear this week.
Niles resident Bill Shoumake, co-author of "My Friday Night Heroes: Niles High School Pigskin Autumns Volume I: 1894-1948," is an employee of Notre Dame. He has worked in the Loftus Sports Center since 1989.
Hornung was heard on Detroit's AM 1270, an ESPN radio affiliate, saying, "We gotta get the black athlete. We must get the black athlete if we're going to compete."
Hornung went on to say, "We're playing eight bowl teams next year…and it's always year in year out…one of the toughest schedules. You can't play a schedule like that unless you have the black athlete today. You just can't do it, and it's very, very tough, still, to get into Notre Dame. They just don't understand it, yet they want to win."
Shoumake agrees with Hornung's sentiment, but feels his focus is off base.
As a member of the staff of the Loftus Center, Shoumake has been in position to get a close look at Notre Dame athletes over the years and said he has seen a steady decline in the quality of football players in the last 10 years.
Shoumake disagrees with Hornung's suggestion that Notre Dame is too difficult to qualify for, academically.
More academic programs geared toward athletes wouldn't be a bad idea, however, according to Shoumake. Referring to a program at the University of Michigan which leads athletes into teaching positions and eventually athletic administration, he suggested something similar at Notre Dame would be beneficial.
The consistent slide in quality of athletes is something Shoumake takes personally, being an avid Irish fan.