The University of Notre Dame joins the You Can Play team in working for diversity and inclusion in sports including for all athletes, staff and fans.
Notre Dame's video features coaches, athletes, and Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, who tells LGBT athletes, “Welcome home.” Every Notre Dame athletic team, both men’s and women’s, is represented in the video. On campus production of the video was spurred by two current Notre Dame student-athletes, Matt Dooley and Olivia Kacsits. Kacsits, a rower, identifies as lesbian. Dooley, a tennis player, identifies as gay.
Said Kacsits, "Our goal was to increase visibility of the supportive atmosphere created by the Notre Dame student community. Unfortunately, many Notre Dame observers have a different perception of the on-campus atmosphere. The athletic department and its student-athletes are visible representatives of the Notre Dame family, and we wanted to make it clear that Notre Dame Athletics is founded on respect and acceptance. Something I believe to be unique to Notre Dame is that we believe in fostering and practicing unconditional, Christ-like love. In my four years here, I have never felt or believed in that more than while working on this You Can Play video project."
“We are honored to have the nation’s foremost Catholic University step up to embrace and support LGBT athletes, coaches, and fans,” said You Can Play president Patrick Burke, a 2006 graduate of Notre Dame. “We have long felt that our message of acceptance, love, and inclusion was directly in line with Catholic teaching. It is important for the next generation of LGBT Notre Dame student-athletes to know they will be supported by teammates, coaches, and administrators alike. We look forward to continuing our work with Notre Dame and other Catholic Universities around the world.”
Said Dooley, whose came out publicly earlier this year, "It's hard to put into words what the You Can Play video has meant to me. As a public demonstration of Notre Dame's support for its LGBTQ students and athletes, it is the assurance of both an inclusive environment and the university's commitment to equality. Throughout my four years here, Notre Dame has consistently influenced and shaped me in to the man I am today. Personally, I find it remarkably humbling to have been just a small part of changing the University in kind."
Notre Dame and You Can Play also announced intentions to collaborate on further LGBT inclusion endeavors, including on-campus presentations and other opportunities.