Instead of wondering how badly Meyer would damage Notre Dame by bringing in players like Hernandez, I tend to think, "I wonder if Aaron Hernandez would be a dead murderer today had he been surrounded by all that Notre Dame offers for four years?"
I think your post is representative of people aiming too low. Sure, it would have been tough/expensive to land Stoops and we would have had to work with Meyer to make sure everything fit into place. Instead, we aimed a little lower and that didn't really work out well, did it?
I still believe Notre Dame to be a unique place for college football. Time and again, when we have hired an elite coach, we have been champions. When we have not hired an elite coach, we have fallen short. Based on that, we should be doing everything we can to hire an elite coach. Instead, we have aimed just a little lower, and consistently hired a coach with at least one glaring weakness.
Or to follow your analogy: here's the thing about supermodels - if you don't at least ask one out, you're never really going to know if you could date one. We're a well-tanned, rich, 45-year old on a yacht. Why are we hitting on chicks at TGI Friday's?