When Did Notre Dame Stop Private Plane Tracker?

How insane has the Notre Dame coaching watch gotten? ESPN.com’s Brian Bennett gives us a taste:

Notre Dame Plane Flight Tracker Blocked

Notre Dame has blocked tracking access to its university-owned private plane from the web site FlightAware.com, a popular tool often used by fans and media to speculate on the comings and goings of a coaching search. 

One problem with that (widely-circulated) note, none of those reports about the flight tracking have mentioned when it was actually taken down. Two sources told me today that the tracking was actually removed last year, long before Weis’ job was in imminent jeopardy.

Among the names mentioned for Weis’ gig in the past 24 hours: Paul Johnson, Kirk Ferentz, Pat Fitzgerald, Bob Stoops and of course, Brian Kelly and Urban Meyer.

And those are the ones I could find.

Before we go any further, ND fans please forget about Urban Meyer. It ain’t happening. Ever.

Notre Dame is going to be exceedingly cautious in its treatment of Weis. I sincerely doubt we’ll have anything material happen until after the season is over.

Of course, if Weis wins out, it’s probably a moot point. He’s staying. But if he only beats UConn, or loses both of the Irish’s final two games, I still think ND will plod along in pragmatic fashion, only removing Weis when it knows it has secured a hot candidate.

That’s the problem, how do you interview possible candidates without it being made public? Especially if you want to do it while Weis is in your employ? That’s how the absurd flight tracking conspiracy got legs.

Most coaches have agents, and some have other assorted intermediaries. So for a skilled athletic director, there are ways to keep a search out of the media. I expect Notre Dame to do just that. And at the same moment Weis is fired, a new coach will be hired.

I still think Weis has a decent chance to survive though if he beats UConn and wins the bowl game. If someone like Brian Kelly is obstinate in his job demands, I can see Weis back in the saddle next season regardless. This is not your father’s Notre Dame, I expect this search to be stealth and much more discriminating than it has been in the past.