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Mentioning the unmentionable

Sometimes you know you're about to bring up something no one wants you to bring up. This is one of those times.

So, if you don't want to read what you're about to read next, I suggest you move on to something else. Because I'm going to write it anyway.

Let's start with a name: Lizzy Seeberg.

You may or may not remember her, because the Notre Dame hierarchy has been so adroit in making sure you forget her. But she deserves to be remembered, and she especially deserves to be remembered now, with Notre Dame headed for the national championship game for the first time since 1989.

Two years ago, see, Seeberg, a 19-year-old student at Saint Mary's College, accused a Notre Dame football player of sexually assaulting her. That football player may still be on the team. He was never charged -- he was, in fact, barely questioned -- and he never missed a game.

Fact is, he shouldn't have been on the team. Fact is, he shouldn't have been in school. Moreover, Notre Dame's response to the allegations against him was so breathtakingly callous -- even after a distraught Seeberg committed suicide, Notre Dame president the Rev. John Jenkins refused to meet with her family -- that it begs the question just how devoted the school is to all the high-minded principles it likes to promote.

Perhaps that's unfair, but Notre Dame has bought such a conclusion by the extravagant manner in which it swept the entire episode under the rug. Maybe it's not really just about protecting the brand in South Bend, but how can you conclude otherwise once you throw back the rug and start examining the Seeberg case in detail?

And so, for common decency's sake if nothing else, I offer you this. Read it carefully. Read it twice, if you have to.

And then tell me it doesn't make you at least a little queasy to cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.

Ben Smith's blog.