University of Notre Dame football takes measures against COVID-19


Mr. Matt Cashore

The University of Notre Dame has been making changes to campus life in response to COVID-19.

Eighteen football players at the University of Notre Dame tested positive for COVID-19 September 24.  As a result, the Department of Athletics at the University placed all team activities on hold the week of September 25 to September 29.  In addition, the president of the University tested positive.  The University of Notre Dame has been making changes to campus life in wake of the pandemic, but students still look forward to adapted football games.

Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, President of the University of Notre Dame, tested positive October 2 after attending the Rose Garden Ceremony for Mrs. Amy Coney Barrett, United States Federal Judge.  Mr. Jenkins was the subject of criticism for not wearing a mask while in attendance, according to  The Rose Garden, located in the White House, was where President Donald J. Trump announced his nomination of Mrs. Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The University of Notre Dame football team undergoes COVID-19 testing three times a week in order to resume play.  Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

The University of Notre Dame was one of the first colleges in the United States to allow spectators at home football games.  The Notre Dame Stadium seats 80,725 people, but with new regulations due to COVID-19, it now seats 16,519 people.  The University currently only permits students and faculty to attend the games. 

Mr. Brian Kelly, Head Coach of the University of Notre Dame football team, mentioned the challenges and obstacles that the pandemic has created.  

“It’s a reality that we’re living with, and if you want to play football, you’ve got to make some adjustments along the way,” Mr. Kelly said, according to

The number of positive tests forced the postponement of a matchup against Wake Forest University, originally scheduled for September 26.  The game will now take place December 12 at Truist Field, located on the campus of Wake Forest University. 

There is an active ban on tailgating and other in-person gatherings, resulting in a barren campus, unlike the game day environment in previous years.  Ms. Mae Harkins ’20, a freshman at the University of Notre Dame, mentioned the University’s efforts to provide a similar yet safe experience for students.

Ms. Mae Harkins ’20 and her friends celebrate before a football game at the University of Notre Dame.  Courtesy of Ms. Mae Harkins ’20

“Because of COVID-19, there’s no tailgating allowed, so the university has been striving to create alternative options for students who are still looking to have fun,” Ms. Harkins said.  “A lot of people opt to play games like corn hole and spike ball or just sit around a campfire that’s set up while they eat lunch before the game.”

During football games, the jumbotron acts as a “physical distance camera,” and pans to sections of the stadium that are not properly distanced.  This encourages groups of students to remain six feet apart throughout the game, maintaining COVID-19 protocols. 

This camera is one of many new alterations the University underwent as a response to evolving conditions.  Notre Dame enforces physical distancing all over campus, including in classrooms, dining halls, and sporting events.  The University has also put up heated tents all around campus to allow students to eat outside.

In its third game this year, the University of Notre Dame matched up with Florida State University Saturday, October 10.  Notre Dame defeated the Florida State Seminoles with a score of 42 to 26.  This win marked a 3-0 record for the Fighting Irish. 

Mr. Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive lineman, commented on what a game day looks like for the team during the pandemic.

“Waking up for breakfast, meetings after breakfast, walkthroughs, a short period of rest before meeting again, loading the team’s bags into the truck, a second round of meetings, either lunch or dinner depending on the time of the game, and one final meeting,” Mr. Tagovailoa-Amosa said.  “Upon arrival at the Stadium, the team will take part in a prayer in the middle of the stadium.  After prayer, the team will get ready for the game and dress.  Finally, the team will meet one last time as a team to say the Lord’s Prayer.  Then it’s game time.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Mr. Matt Cashore