Home The Core Story and Stadium Renaming Proposal Appendix #3: What would Notre Dame do?
Appendix #3: What Would Notre Dame Do? E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 21:16


THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME: WHAT WERE ITS POLICIES IN INTERCOLLEGIATE SPORTS AT THE TIME?

According to the Charles Martin book BENCHING JIM CROW, Notre Dame refused to admit black students at all until 1944.

He does say, however, that they were agreeable to playing football against integrated teams, but would not do so in basketball. Here, in Martin's own words, is how he describes an incident where race becomes an issue in a Fighting Irish basketball game :

"In February, 1934, the University of Detroit, also a Catholic institution, hosted the Irish cagers. Upon arrival in Detroit, Coach George Keogan disĀ­covered that the home team included Laurence Bleach, 'the sensational Negro sophomore'. Keogan protested vehemently about this violation of racial etiquette, but still allowed his team to play the game, which the Irish won, 36 - 17. The Detroit Athletic Director, Gus Dorais, a former Notre Dame quarterback, immediately wrote to Father John O'Hara, acting President of Notre Dame, to apologize for the incident. Dorais pleaded that he was unaware of this 'gentlemens' agreement' among coaches not to use colored boys and was 'mighty sorry' that the problem had arisen. However, he confessed that he could not see the logic of such a policy, since whites regularly competed against African Americans in football and track. Notre Dame officials themselves initially seemed puzzled as well, But after an investigation Fr. O'Hara replied to Dorais: 'at first, I could see no objection to your using a negro on your team, but (Coach) George (Keogan) pointed out to me that there is a difference in a game where there is such close physical contact between players scantily clad and perspiring at every pore' "

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