As you know, interhall sports are a storied tradition at Notre Dame and an important component for how the University seeks to foster positive social interactions, create healthy opportunities, and contribute to the overall experience of community, personal development, and well-being in the residence halls our undergraduate students call home.
Our hope is to always preserve, where possible, important traditions and characteristics of the undergraduate student experience, while also remaining attentive and responsive to constantly evolving student needs and campus realities over time. In this spirit, I write to share an update regarding the Interhall Tackle Football (ITFB) program.
In the Fall of 2022, the Office of Recreational Sports (RecSports) conducted a comprehensive study regarding the current state of ITFB at the request of the University’s Competitive Athletics Medical Review Panel, which promotes the ongoing advancement of health and safety in connection with intercollegiate, club, and intramural sports.
The study revealed a number of findings, including a notable decrease in undergraduate student interest in addition to fewer numbers of participating students with prior experience playing organized tackle football.
In recent years, undergraduate student involvement in the ITFB program has decreased dramatically. Notably, since the reintroduction of the program following the coronavirus pandemic, student participation has fallen to just 269 students in the Fall of 2022, compared to 370 in 2017. At the same time, since the introduction of 7-on-7 Flag Football as a men’s interhall sport in 2019, participation has risen by 42%, resulting in an increase from 18 men’s Flag Football interhall teams to 23.
The study also revealed that a large percentage (44%) of participants had no previous experience in organized tackle football prior to their involvement in the ITFB program, while 49% of participants had three or four years of experience playing tackle football in high school.
Given the decline in student interest and the risks associated with a competitive environment where there is a large disparity in the experience participants have with tackle football, and with the support of the Competitive Athletics Medical Review Panel, the University has made the decision to discontinue the ITFB program beginning in the Fall of 2023.
Thank you for your continued interest and participation in interhall sports, and most importantly your involvement in the many areas of student life both inside and outside of the residence halls. Know of my prayers and best wishes for a healthy, safe, and fruitful fall semester.
In Notre Dame,
Fr. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C.
Vice President for Student Affairs
June 29, 2023:
In response to recent inquiries regarding off-campus student participation in interhall activities, all undergraduate students, regardless of where they live, have always and will continue to have the opportunity to participate in interhall sports and residence hall activities. The statistics cited in the above statement are representative of both on- and off-campus students who have participated in the interhall tackle football program since 2017.