Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly seemed to have a lot of strange things on his mind leading up to the Sun Bowl. Things like nude beaches and Mexican drug lords. Ok, well maybe that last thing wasn't so strange. The Fighting Irish will be renewing their famous rivalry with the Miami Hurricanes on Friday in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. The town is just across the border from Juarez, Mexico -- one of the most dangerous towns in North America. Notre Dame officials have seized all players' passports, and Miami officials told their players to leave theirs at home. So, hopefully, there will be no brutal drug gang killings of American college football players.
According to the AP, Miami officials had all their players leave their passports at home and the team met with both local law enforcement officials and the FBI to further drive home the point that a quick trip across the border to Juarez may not end well. The town is overrun with drug-trade related violence and there were 2,600 murders in Juarez in 2009, which, suffice it to say, makes Miami's murder rate look relatively sane.
Which isn't to say a trip to Juarez is necessarily a death sentence, but if you wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time and get involved with the wrong people, well, let's put it to this way: not everyone is going to be able to Nancy Botwin their way out of that.
Players and fans shouldn't let the nearby violence over shadow the hospitality of El Paso itself.
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According to The Herald, the players, who arrived in town yesterday, are having a great time so far. They were greeted with mariachi bands, sombreros and dancers in traditional Mexican garb.
"Talking to a lot of the guys, this was the best welcome we've had since any bowl game we've been to. Just a great feeling," cornerback Brandon Harris told the paper.