Prized high school linebacker and Hawaii native Manti Te’o is visiting Notre Dame, one of the schools the Rivals.com No. 9 overall prospect has listed among his finalists. It’s a long flight from Honolulu to South Bend, Ind., and the Notre Dame student body wanted to make Te’o feel a bit more welcome by handing out leis to some 8,000 fans at Saturday’s game against Syracuse.
(Prep linebacker Manti Te’o. In lei terms, he’s a stud)
Nice idea, right? Well, it was until, as reported by the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, the Notre Dame athletic department channeled the Seinfeld Soup Nazi, and stopped the Irish fans’ lei distribution plan in its tracks. “You want leis? You like leis? No leis for you!”
Evidently Notre Dame was worried that handing out small, inexpensive, wearable plastic wreaths would fall under the same category as handing out t-shirts, which is a violation of NCAA recruiting regulations.
“I received a communication from somebody wanting to do something — and you can gather what that is — to show support and encouragement for a prospect that may be visiting,” Notre Dame compliance director Mike Karwoski said Thursday.
“I responded back saying, we don’t think this is permissible, and this is why we don’t think it’s permissible.”
There you go, Notre Dame. You come up with a clever way to give Charlie Weis an edge, and the school says “No thanks.” Interestingly, other potential violations include having signs encouraging recruits to attend. Does no one remember Terrelle Pryor visiting Ohio State? Ohio Stadium and, later, Value City Arena were practically covered with “Come Be a Buckeye!” signs? How is that not a violation while handing out leis is?
Then again, when you look at Te’o’s video, you can see what all the fuss is about. At least Notre Dame fans can still wear Hawaiian shirts, right? Anyone in South Bend feel like making a run to Marshalls and buying up everything with a Tommy Bahama tag on it?