After nearly an hour at the podium, Brian Kelly walked up the steps of Isban Auditorium in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, his Notre Dame media day duties complete.
Behind him, director of football media relations Michael Bertsch was politely firing a pre-emptive shot at reporters, dissuading them from asking Fighting Irish players and assistant coaches questions about the potential academic scandal that threatens to derail this Notre Dame football season before it starts. Bertsch announced that players and coaches would not answer questions about the "ongoing investigation."
Walking up the steps, Kelly almost breezily echoed the words – seemingly to himself, but out loud: "Ongoing investigation."
The light tone was misleading. Are there two words college coaches like less than "ongoing investigation"? Probably only these two: "You're fired."
If the ongoing investigation ends badly enough, Kelly conceivably could hear those words as well. Of course, that's miles down the road, and certainly nobody in a position of power is saying any such thing at Notre Dame. The school fought hard to keep Kelly from the NFL in January 2013, and he has been its most successful football coach since Lou Holtz. You'd think the administration would dearly love to avoid hiring a fifth coach this century, in yet another reboot intended to recapture the elusive glory days of championships past.