In the wake of the tragic death of Notre Dame football videographer Declan Sullivan, there’s been much scrutiny of the school’s dubious handling of the affair.
(60 MPH winds a “beautiful day” according to ND football coach)
Responses from Notre Dame personnel to Indiana OSHA investigators about the accident, including from Brian Kelly, were rife with remarks that contradict the conclusions of OSHA’s accident report. But the oft-evasive responses from those on the scene the day Sullivan died pale in comparison to Notre Dame’s overt lack of cooperation with OSHA investigators when it came to turning over the actual ND football practice videos.
From a meticulously detailed report from the CHICAGO TRIBUNE last week:
The university allowed OSHA to view the team’s practice footage, but it did not turn over the tapes because Notre Dame lawyers said it contained “highly proprietary, trade secret information related to the business of college sports,” documents show.
The ridiculous nature of Notre Dame’s denial in response to OSHA’s request for the acquisition of the practice videos is appalling, but not nearly as troubling as what we now know Notre Dame did to the footage investigators were actually allowed to see.
On Dec. 6, 2010, Notre Dame allowed OSHA investigators to view excerpts of practice videos taken by Declan Sullivan and other Notre Dame videographers on Oct. 27, 2010, the day Sullivan died.
From the notes (pdf) of that viewing session, the OSHA investigators documented on multiple occasions that the videos had been doctored - portions of footage was “missing.”
After viewing the edited videos, the investigators wrote the following:
Declan Sullivan film. The victim.
The film is only 07:08:92 long and does not show full practice.
Also, the pants, shirts and jackets of the coaches are blowing and whipping in the wind …
Investigators also noted of one of the ND practice videos they observed, “this film is missing from 3:38:44 pm to 3:47:43 pm.”
Other videos were noted to have also been unduly edited.
After watching the videos, OSHA investigators wrote:
Questions for Notre Dame
1) What happened at 1:05 of video on the Gate 5 video .. ?
2) Were these only part of the videos taken on the day of practice?
3) From the shadows on the field, each video was taken at a different time, is there more video to be seen?
Is it unreasonable to think that Notre Dame edited the footage to hide from OSHA evidence that could further implicate the school in Sullivan’s death?