UPDATED 10/30/10 – 4:15 p.m.
By RICK GANO, AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A moment of silence was observed and a prayer offered before Saturday’s game between Notre Dame and Tulsa in memory of Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old student videographer who died when the tower from which he was filming practice from fell over.
Both Notre Dame and Tulsa players wore helmet decals in the shape of a shamrock with the initials DS in the middle.
Just before the team captains met, a moment of silence was observed as Sullivan’s name and picture were shown on the scoreboard.
The Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, then stood at midfield and offered the prayer, saying that the value of a life is not in its length but its generosity.
About two blocks from the stadium, outside of Notre Dame’s practice fields, six bouquets of flowers were left on the ground at the spot where the scissor lift that Sullivan was in fell over Wednesday. Gusts at the time of the accident reached 51 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
A Mass was held Thursday night on campus for the junior from Long Grove, Ill. There will be a wake for Sullivan on Sunday in Lake Zurich, Ill. His funeral is Monday in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
State regulators have launched an investigation into the incident to see if the school violated safety rules by allowing Sullivan to shoot the practice from the lift on a blustery day.
On another windy day Saturday, fans and tailgaters were going about their business before the game — eating, grilling, sipping refreshments and tossing around footballs. On one of the big lawns on campus, a dog fetched a tennis ball.
But Andy Warkoczeski, a 45-year-old fan from Coldwater, Mich., said he noticed a different tone.
“It’s been pretty somber. Everyone was late arriving today and it’s not your normal crowd,” he said. “It’s been part of everybody’s discussions, and there are a lot of answers people want to know.”
Mary Zeisz Dunfee of South Bend said the Irish band’s trumpeters dedicated a pre-game concert to Sullivan.
“There were people choking back tears. So it depends who you talk to. Those close to the tragedy are more somber and reflective,” she said.
“For others it is game day as usual. There are not has many people on campus this game, but perhaps it is fallout from the Navy loss.” Navy beat the Irish last weekend, 35-17.
Rolly Bernhold, of Minster, Ohio and a graduate of Notre Dame, also noticed a difference.
“We come to all home games,” he said. “The mood today is much more somber this weekend in light of the tragedy.”
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