Is USC’s Trip to Notre Dame in Jeopardy Due to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law?


USC made waves on Tuesday when athletic director Pat Haden said that he would not be heading to Indiana to participate in meetings for the College Football Playoff Committee this week. By sitting it out, he would be boyoctting Indiana’s passing of a state law that many have interpreted to allow discrimination of the LGBT community.

Haden, the father of a gay son, took this as a fantastic opportunity to both rally behind his son and join in on what has been an out-pouring of condemnation for an Indiana law that has made many Americans uneasy.

He’s not alone as an outspoken member of the sports world. NCAA President Mark Emmert has been vocal against it, and Charles Barkley wants this week’s Final Four to be the start of a boycott and exodus of major events.

This of course raises the question: If Haden is adamant about not going to Indiana for the CFP committee meeting, what will be the plan of action when USC takes on Notre Dame in South Bend this October?

While most of USC’s traveling party stays in nearby Chicago, the team itself has stayed in rural Michigan City, Indiana in recent years.

And of course, the game itself will take place in Indiana.

Could Haden use this debate as a way to open up discussion on moving the game or will USC simply boycott the law by staying out of state and busing into South Bend?

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The first option sounds extremely improbable. While the idea of USC and Notre Dame playing at Soldier Field once again is all kinds of enticing for the history of the rivalry, this is not the circumstance that you probably want to see that happen under.

In a perfect world, that’s saved for 2027 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the rivalry. Though Soldier Field would be a dandy option if the Chicago Bears were willing, and the Irish were open to it.

But why exactly would they be? Notre Dame would likely not want to willingly lose a true home date, especially when moving one game in protest could open the flood gates for more opponents to demand playing elsewhere.

So staying either in Illinois or Michigan seems to be the most reasonable middle ground for the Trojans here. By staying out of state, they would not directly support the state’s tourism.

The problem is that the closest city to South Bend other than Michigan City or Chicago with a modest capability of hosting USC’s football team would be Kalamazoo. That’s a 70 mile trek.

Is it worth it?

It’s hard to say right now. The mayor of South Bend has slammed the law and there’s still a chance an amendment could be made, depending on which brand of news you listen to.

But what we do know is that Pat Haden has made an emphasis to continually do the ‘right’ thing throughout his tenure as USC’s athletic director.

That hasn’t always made him the most popular among fans or critics. But he’s exactly the kind of human being you want to be in charge of your athletic department.

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What say you, USC fans? Should Pat Haden and the Trojans take a stance and boycott the state of Indiana this October? If so, how should they go about doing it? Vote in our poll and have your say in the comments.

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