Notre Dame's Brian Kelly Threatens CFP Boycott ... If Players' Families Can't Attend

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Notre Dame could REJECT an invitation to the College Football Playoff if officials don't allow players' families to attend ... so says Irish head coach Brian Kelly, who just made the threat on Friday morning.

Kelly spelled out his feelings on the matter in a heated Zoom sesh with reporters ... saying, "I'm not sure we'll play in the playoffs if the parents can't be there."

"Why would we play if you can't have families at the game? If you can't have families at bowl games, why would you go to a game where your families can't be part of it?"

Kelly continued, "What's the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?"

The NCAA had planned to hold one of its CFP semifinal games at the Rose Bowl this season ... and, despite Los Angeles not allowing spectators at sporting events due to COVID, the org. is still pushing forward with that plan.

Kelly clearly believes that's a ludicrous idea ... saying the NCAA should just move the game to another site so players' family members can watch in person.

"Maybe they need to spend a little less time on who the top four teams are and figure out how to get parents into these games because it is an absolute shame and a sham if parents can't be watching their kids play," Kelly said.

"My kids have been on campus since June. They haven't seen their families very much at all. They've had to fight through COVID, some of them have had COVID. They can't be around their families for Christmas, and you're going to tell me we're going to have a playoff and maybe one site can have families and the other can't? Please."

Kelly added, "Somebody's got to wake up in that room and figure this out or you might as well call this the professional league. I am so sick and tired of this playoff committee talking about having sites where you can't have parents at and their families. It's ridiculous."

For now, Kelly's Fighting Irish team is firmly in the CFP picture, currently ranked No. 2 behind Alabama and ahead of Clemson and Ohio State.

Louis Nix III Ex-Notre Dame Star Shot In Terrifying Incident ... At Florida Gas Station

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"I JUST GOT SHOT!"

Louis Nix III -- a former star Notre Dame defensive lineman -- was shot in the chest in a horrifying incident in Florida ... but thankfully, he says he's doing alright now.

Cops in Jacksonville, FL say they responded to a gunfire call at around 9 PM Tuesday at a local gas station ... and found Nix lying wounded on the ground.

Officers say emergency medical personnel immediately rushed Nix to the hospital ... and there, a doctor told them Nix had said he appeared to be the victim of an attempted robbery.

In the police report, obtained by TMZ Sports, cops say doctors told them Nix said, "the suspects put a flashlight into his face" and said something along the lines of "give me..." to him.

Officers say doctors told them Nix felt a gunshot to the chest when he pushed one of the suspects away.

In a video Nix recorded and posted to social media shortly after the incident ... you can see he was terrified about possibly losing his life due to the injuries.

In the clip, Nix -- who had a heavy bandage on his chest -- said, "If I don't make it, I really do love everybody."

Thankfully, in an update Nix posted to his official Facebook page on Wednesday, the 29-year-old said he's doing better.

"I'm alive everyone," Nix said. "The bullet that hit me ricocheted off my sternum into my lung. Surgery is the next step so keep praying for me."

Nix balled out in his 3 seasons as a starter for Notre Dame from 2011 to 2013 ... and he was eventually drafted by the Houston Texans in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Nix played for Houston, the Giants, Washington and Jacksonville up until the 2016 season.

According to the report, one witness said the suspects fled from the scene before officers arrived. No arrests have been made yet, and the investigation is ongoing.

Get well soon, Nix!!!

Lou Holtz Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom ... Praises Trump

10:21 AM PT -- 12/3 -- Holtz just received the award at a ceremony at the White House on Thursday ... and the college football coaching legend raved about Trump after getting the honor.

"I want to assure you how proud I am not only to receive the award," Holtz said, "but I'm even prouder to receive it from President Donald Trump, who I think was the greatest president during my lifetime."

Holtz had a big smile on his face after Trump adorned him with the medal ... and POTUS gave a little fist pump as they were posing for pics.

It should be noted ... people at the ceremony were NOT wearing masks.

Both Holtz and Trump have had battles with coronavirus recently.

Ex-college football coach Lou Holtz will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, the White House announced.

The award is recognized as the "Nation's highest civilian honor," according to the White House ... usually given to someone who has "made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public endeavors."

So, why Lou? Here's what Trump's team is saying ...

"America recognizes Lou Holtz as one of the greatest football coaches of all time for his unmatched accomplishments on the gridiron, but he is also a philanthropist, author and true American patriot."

83-year-old Holtz is most well known for leading Notre Dame to a 12-0 record in 1988 -- when the Fighting Irish were crowned national champions.

His career record as a college football coach is 249-132-7 -- with 22 bowl appearances (he won 12 of them).

Outside of football, Holtz has been a staunch Trump supporter who campaigned for POTUS ... and even spoke at the Republican National Convention.

In fact, it was at the RNC when Holtz attacked Trump's opponent Joe Biden over his position on abortion -- saying the former Vice President is a "Catholic in name only."

During his presidency, Trump has given the M.O.F. to several sports legends -- including Tiger Woods, Jerry West and Roger Staubach.

Originally Published -- 12/2 9:33 AM PT

Notre Dame Legend Lou Holtz Angry at 'Fighting Irish' Criticism ... Don't Change the Name!

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Lou Holtz does NOT want his beloved Notre Dame to drop its "Fighting Irish" nickname ... claiming it stems from a group of students who battled the KKK back in the day.

One tiny little problem -- it's not exactly true, Lou!

Here's the deal ... the former ND football coach was on Fox News this week and was asked about a recent "Fansided" article which questions if the school should move on from the whole "Fighting Irish" thing -- which it calls "a stereotype of the violent Irish."

83-year-old Holtz was OUTRAGED by the mere suggestion -- and told this tale explaining the origin of the Fighting Irish name.

"They were named the fighting Irish because the Ku Klux Klan tried to attack the Catholics," Holtz said.

"They went down and fought the Ku Klux Klan and that is where the name the Fighting Irish came."

That's news to Notre Dame -- which states on the official school website, "No one really knows for sure how Notre Dame became universally linked with the Irish."

"All we have is conjecture. But that’s the Irish way, isn’t it? Never let the truth get in the way of a good story."

There are several theories ... but nothing is really concrete.

The University says the first use of the nickname may have been in 1909 -- stemming from a fiery half-time speech directed at the football team's Irish players.

Notre Dame also noted the media had referred to Knute Rockne's football teams as the "Fighting Irish" in the early '20s.

The school does acknowledge an incident involving a student clash with the KKK in 1924 ... but it seems unlikely to be the origin of the nickname. Here's what ND says ... 

"A little-known event occurring in 1924 may have inadvertently contributed to Fighting Irish lore. In a recent book, alumnus Todd Tucker describes how Notre Dame students violently clashed with the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan in that year. A weekend of riots drove the Klan out of South Bend and helped bring an end to its rising power in Indiana at a time when the state’s governor was among its members."

Doesn't matter to Lou though -- who's made his stance clear and warns that he'll REALLY get pissed if the cancel culture reaches his tribute at the school's stadium.

"Next thing you're gonna tell me, they wanna topple my statue at Notre Dame. That's when I will really get mad."

Lou is a legend in South Bend -- famously leading the football team to a national championship in 1988.

Notre Dame QB Breaks Cheerleader's Nose ... with Errant Pass

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OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Notre Dame QB Ian Book TRIED to throw the ball out of bounds during a busted play against Louisville on Monday ... but ended up hitting a cheerleader and BROKE HER NOSE!!

It happened in the 4th quarter as ND was trying to protect its lead against the Cardinals ... Book was pressured and tried to get rid of the football, opting to just heave it out of bounds to avoid the sack.

But, the ball sailed past the sidelines and stuck an unsuspecting UL cheerleader RIGHT IN THE FACE!!

The woman immediately dropped her poms and walked off (presumably to get medical attention).

After the game, the cheerleader -- named Liz -- tweeted about the damage.

"My broken nose is twitter trending huh," she wrote ... adding, "Well my nose is crooked but I'll always have a good story to tell."

Yeah, we know ... it's like that scene from "The Brady Bunch" ... or "Varsity Blues."

Hopefully, Liz is recovering well and will be back on the sidelines soon!

Oh, as for the game ... Notre Dame won. Bad night for the Cardinals across the board.

Notre Dame vs. Clemson Tigers Bald Eagle Lands on ND Fan in Stands ... That's Gotta Hurt

A Notre Dame fan became a human perch at the Cotton Bowl Classic after a bald eagle swooped down and landed on his shoulder.

The incredible (and probably incredibly painful) moment went down Saturday ahead of the Fighting Irish's game against the Clemson Tigers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Sports Illustrated writer Ross Dellenger caught the landing on camera.

Somewhat surprisingly, the fan was able to keep his composure as the bird stood on him for nearly 20 seconds. It flapped its wings a bit as people whipped out their phones to take pictures, and the guy kinda seemed more giddy than terrified in the moment.

The eagle eventually flew away ... and obviously left the crowd wowed by its close encounter. For the record ... an adult bald eagle's talons can exert a force of up to 400 pounds of pressure per square inch when hunting. They're also really, really sharp.

Smile through the pain, bud. It's a once in a lifetime thing, after all.

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