Q: I need to ask you about the expulsion of four football players this past spring. Do you think the University's actions will prejudice the criminal case against the young men?
Rev. Malloy: No, not at all. I have to be careful here, but the students in question were not expelled for criminal acts---which they still deny---but for acts that, though legal, nonetheless violate Du Lac.
Q: So these acts, er, this alleged, um---
Rev. Malloy: ---The four-way ho ride.
Q: Uh, yes Father, the four-way ho ride…. Even if it were proven that it was consensual---
Rev. Malloy: ---Our decision would stand. Look, it's important for Notre Dame to maintain the highest standards. That applies to regular students as well as scholarship athletes.
Q: So when Du Lac proscribes students having premarital sex…
Rev. Malloy: ---we take it very seriously. We want to make a statement in that area. We want to lead the country not only in aspirationality and residentiality, but also in virginality.
Q: Virginality, Father?
Rev. Malloy: That's right.
Q: Fr. Malloy, I don't mean any disrespect, but that's not even a word.
Rev. Malloy: Virginality?
Q: Virginality, aspirationality, residentiality… all of them. They're all made up.
Rev. Malloy: Are you sure about that?
Q: I'm sure, Father.
Rev. Malloy: Well, I guess that explains all the eye rolling and snickering that goes on at the intercollegiate symposia I attend.
Q: Well, it probably doesn't explain all of it---
Rev. Malloy: ---All this time I thought they were just poking fun at my ears.
Q: Academicians can be cruel, Father. But back to the question at hand. Should Notre Dame's football players be asked, in effect, to take a vow of celibacy?
Rev. Malloy: Gosh, I'm not even sure it makes sense for priests to take a vow of celibacy. But I don't think it's too much of burden to ask football players not to participate in any orgies---at least not until they're drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Q: Are you concerned that a jury may decide that this incident involved much worse than an infraction of school rules---that it may, in fact, have been a gang rape? What damage would that do to the University?
Rev. Malloy: Clearly, these are disturbing allegations. I don't want to presume what will happen when the case goes to court. But I do know that, unlike some schools, Notre Dame does not try to "fix" the legal problems of its student athletes. We don't hide behind delays in the legal process to keep offending players eligible for the big game. Heck, Michigan has players appealing cases from Death Row, and Lloyd Carr has them penciled in to start this fall.
Q: Do you envision a scenario in which any of the four expelled players would be allowed to resume his education and earn a Notre Dame degree?
Rev. Malloy: I don't want to prejudice the criminal case, but no, I don't.
Q: Why is that?
Rev. Malloy: Because we don't have a correspondence course with the Indiana State Penitentiary.
Q: Let's move on to a different subject---
Rev. Malloy: Women's soccer?
Q: No. Something you alluded to earlier---
Rev. Malloy: ---Oh, you want to hear another haiku?
Q: No, Father. I---
Rev. Malloy: Lovely, pristine lakes
Nestle a new campus inn
Charging five-star rates
Q: I am referring to priestly celibacy. For months a sex scandal has rocked the Catholic Church. You are the leader of the premier Catholic University in the country, yet you have remained conspicuously silent on the controversy. Don't you have a duty to take a position on this matter?
Rev. Malloy: You're just not paying attention. Who do I look like, Andrew Greeley? I'm not looking for publicity.
Q: But you're in a prominent position at---
Rev. Malloy: ---Let the pointy hats take care of it. Look, when I signed on for this job, Fr. Hesburgh said it was all about honoraria and presidential commissions. If you want a vapid quote about ecumenism, or soup kitchens, I'm your man.
Q: Let me try it this way. Are you confident that priests within the Notre Dame community won't be implicated by scandal?
Rev. Malloy: As long as it turns out that Fat Eddy was never ordained, we should be alright.
Q: Some observers have charged that the roots of the scandal can be traced to a gay subculture that has taken hold in many seminaries. Is Moreau Seminary part of that subculture?
Rev. Malloy: Are you kidding me? Those seminarians get more tail then the football team.
Q: Really? So it's possible that there may be disciplinary expulsions from the seminary, as well?
Rev. Malloy: Don't be ridiculous! Candidates for priesthood are a lot harder to find than defensive backs. Let the boys have their fun.
Q: Our time is limited, Father, so I want to move on. The endowment has suffered greatly in the last year---
At the mention of the word "endowment" what little color remained in Fr. Malloy's face drained away. An involuntary tick pulled at the corner of his mouth, and his hands began to tremble violently. He excused himself and retired to his credenza where he fumbled in a side drawer for a prescription bottle. He shook out a small handful of pills and knocked them back with a chaser from a sterling silver hip flask (a gift from Fr. Joyce). With a sharp exhalation and a quick sign of the cross, he steadied himself. Composed at last, Fr. Malloy resumed the interview.
Rev. Malloy: You were asking about the end-d-d-d-dowment…
Q: Yes, Father. The returns have been disappointing to say the least.
Rev. Malloy: Disappointing?! Falling a spot in the U.S. News rankings is disappointing. Having to fly coach is disappointing. This is an unmitigated disaster!
Q: I guess the stock market has been unkind to a lot of people.
Rev. Malloy: Unkind?! Do you realize that we've just named our business school after a guy whose stock gift is now worth about $2.50? If I had it to do over again I wouldn't even have given him naming rights to the "Mendoza men's room."
Q: About the endowment itself. Just two years ago the business press was singing the praises of [Chief Investment Officer] Scott Malpass. He represented a new breed of aggressive managers of university endowments. Now that the Notre Dame endowment is down 50%, what is your opinion of Mr. Malpass?
Rev. Malloy: Well, first I considered taking up Santeria just so I could get a Scott Malpass voodoo doll… "Dotcoms!" he said. "Telecoms!" he said. "Argentinean debt instruments!" he said.
Q: Enron? Tyco?
Rev. Malloy: [hanging his head sheepishly] Yes, yes…
Q: Then how is it that Mr. Malpass retains his position as CIO?
Rev. Malloy: Well, we considered terminating Mr. Malpass, but it turns out that he has a $24 million severance package.
Q: Ouch! What idiot negotiated that deal?
Rev. Malloy: Beauchamp, of course…. Now you know why I'm praying for Portland.
Q: Fr. Beauchamp, again. How long do you think you can continue to pass the buck in his direction?
Rev. Malloy: I'm gonna ride that horse until my term expires in 2006.
Q: So how will you go about restoring the endowment? Another major fundraising drive?
Rev. Malloy: I suppose we'll have to. But it seems like just yesterday that we concluded the "Generations" campaign. What's our pitch supposed to be now? "Come help us speculate in the California energy markets"? I don't know. It lacks something---sincerity, I guess.
Q: Maybe we can touch on less stressful topics.
Rev. Malloy: [brightening] Research grants?
Q: How about the new alcohol policy?
Rev. Malloy: Oh. Well, first of all, it's not a new policy. We've been gradually cracking down on alcohol consumption since the mid-80s.
Q: Some might call the policy draconian.
Rev. Malloy: We just want underage college students to obey Indiana state liquor laws, and we want students who are of age to drink responsibly.
Q: Like I said---draconian.
Rev. Malloy: The policy is designed to curb the kind of alcohol consumption that can result in a student destroying property, blacking out, or showing up on one of those MTV spring break specials.
Q: Aren't you worried that the policy will diminish the already dismal social scene on campus?
Rev. Malloy: I wouldn't call it dismal. What's wrong with "open mike" night at Theodore's?
Q: And what about unintended consequences? Aren't you worried that students will end up at off-campus parties where they'll be more likely to get involved in drinking and driving incidents?
Rev. Malloy: You're talking about practicalities. I'm concerned with more important matters like good press and putting on appearances for the parents.
Q: How about the interests of the students? Don't they need to blow off steam every once in a while? Besides, alcohol has always been a vital "social lubricant" at Notre Dame.
Rev. Malloy: There's no need to use euphemisms around me. I've seen the coeds on this campus. I know what it means to "go hogging."
Q: Then you also understand the terms "beer goggles" and "coyote ugly"?
Rev. Malloy: Of course. But to be fair, that's a two-way street. Today's Notre Dame man isn't what he used to be. One of the purposes of the new policy is to save the students from themselves.
Q: I think the problem some people have is that the new policy relies on a misleading definition of binge drinking. Five drinks in one sitting? I've seen priests slug down more booze than that when they drain returned chalices of communion wine---
Rev. Malloy: ---hic---
Q: Wouldn't it be better to target the true problem drinkers, rather than to define the average social drinker as a binger?
Rev. Malloy: Obviously, you haven't studied Lenin. The key to controlling any unruly population is to criminalize so much normal activity that almost any citizen can be charged with wrongdoing at almost any time. He called it in loco parentis.
Q: I think I'm beginning to understand. The battle against binge drinking is just a pretext. The decision to ban "screw your roommate" dances and dorm room parties should really be seen as an exercise in raw, autocratic power.
Rev. Malloy: Yup.
Q: Well, I suppose you can get away with that with the students. But in loco parentis doesn't extend to alumni and football season ticket holders. How do you justify the new tailgating policy? These are adults after all. How much and when a man drinks is between him, God and his liver, isn't it?
Rev. Malloy: Well, I may have gone a bridge too far with that one. Or should I say Bill Kirk and Dennis Moore may have gone a bridge too far.
Q: Plausible deniability, again?
Rev. Malloy: Of course. In any case, they are the ones who will be riding the golf carts through the parking lots, shouting over the megaphones.
Q: What about Lou Nanni?
Rev. Malloy: He'll be coordinating from the new Campus Police helicopter.
Q: Helicopter? It sounds like you're bracing for the possibility of some serious civil disobedience.
Rev. Malloy: Maybe at first. Some of those alumni are feisty. I'd sooner try to take a zebra haunch from a starving lion than ask a half-in-the-bag alum to dump his Guinness. But over time, as new generations of cowed, compliant students replace the hide-bound drunks who cling to their outdated traditions, I expect the tailgating policy to become easier to enforce.
Q: And if not? What if the policy turns into a fiasco?
Rev. Malloy: Well, I'm sure Portland University can always use a couple more vice presidents or PR directors.
Q: Fr. Malloy, thank you for granting this interview.
Rev. Malloy: Are we through already? Do we have time for another haiku?
Q: I wish we did, Father, but I've got to go and, um, rebuild my transmission---
Rev. Malloy: [flipping pages] Ah yes. Here it is:
On fall Saturdays
Leaves rustle loudly as the