Interhall Football at Notre Dame
"The act of cavorting with women in an ND dorm room," says Kevin Coyne, who spent a year at Notre Dame and profiled it in his 1995 book, Domers "is so fraught with dire consequences that, frankly, it's safer to go outside and play tackle football."

Notre Dame placed second in a jock school ranking according to Sports Illustrated
Knott vs. Keenan in the 2004 Interhall Championship Game
"American football remains the arena par excellence in which a young man can demonstrate his masculinity" (Waddington 13).  Displays of strength, violence, and skill are all forms of masculinity and are all very present in football.  Monday Night Football as made popular by ABC has tapped into hegememonic masculinity: "Football's historical prominence in sport media and folk culture has sustained a hegemonic model of masculinity that prioritizes competitiveness, asceticism, success (winning), aggression, violence, superiority to women and respect for and compliance with male authority" (Trujillo 225).  Alan Dundes writes in "Into the Endzone for a Touchdown: A Psychoanalytic Consideration of American Football" that the game provides the platform for male initiation rites.  He further writes that the equipment worn represents the male physique with the hard plastic helmet and broad shoulder pads.  Football also offers one team the chance to guard a territory from another team which historically has been vital to male dominance.  Stopping the running back a yard shy of the end zone on a fourth down play has the same symbolic implications of preventing an enemy from breaching the walls of a castle or the frontlines of a phalanx during war.  Dundes discusses in great lenghth the verbal abuse and the symbolism of the game as males continue to attempt to put others down.  He stresses that the game has many homosexual elements but any explicit homosexuality is strictly prohibited.  An example is the three point stance that linemen engage in.  It leaves the body exposed to a homosexual attack from the back as the rear end is pushed out, but it creates a ferocious stance that provides intimidation for the opponent lined up in front of you.  There is no question that American football reinforces masculinity and those that excel at it are perceived to be more masculine.  The question that remains is why, at a school responsible for the movie Rudy (the against-all-odds, David vs. Goliath story of a walk-on Notre Dame football player who never gave up and defied all expectations to win the hearts of the other players and student body) would intramural sports be preferred to playing at the varsity level for some players?

Collegiate football in the South was founded based on the principle of brotherhood.  Just after the Civil War, young men began travelling far distances from home to go to school (Gannon cites Wake Forest) rather than war.  The brotherhood that surfaced during the war became essential to the young men who did not have their immediate family to rely on.  As the war ended, and young men started to leave home for school, brotherhood was found on college campuses and most commonly in the sports that the campus offered.  Notre Dame is similar in that its student body is from all over the world, with many students apart from their families for semesters at a time.   Notre Dame has become that perfect place to find brotherhood.  The University of Notre Dame is also one of only a few universities that do not offer Greek life.  At Notre Dame, your dorm is your fraternity.  Your dormmates are your fraternity brothers.  These are the people you become close to and form relationships with.  As Csikszentmihalyi argues in "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience," almost every activity is more enjoyable in the company of others.  The people who make up that company matter.  As a walk-on, you are not playing with your brothers.  You are disresepected by coaches and pummeled by other players.  Your friends are other walk-ons, but neither you or your close friends have much impact on the success of the team oustide of the scout team at practice.  Interhall, however, offers that stage where one can play with his close friends (his brothers) and directly impact the nature of the team.  Dex played harder in interhall than at the varsity level because he wanted to be there when he was needed by his brothers.  I, as a lineman, put forth that extra effort to protect my running back because I lived with him and I knew we could be successful together. 
Notre Dame senior Ann-Marie Woods was right when she stated that Interhall Football is a unique aspect of dorm life.  The program is about the dorms and the camaraderie that the players establish for a common goal: to win a championship.  Interhall football offers Notre Dame men a chance to display their masculinity in a sport with rules and boundaries.  If these young men were left to their own devices, as many anthropological studies have shown, they will find other stages to prove their masculinity which would likely be more violent and deffinitely less controlled.  The school is interested in keeping its overwhelmingly athletic studnt body active in monitored sports while the atthlete is interested in displaying his masculinity and supporting his brothers.  Interhall Football provides a very happy medium which makes $20,000 a year well worth it.
Works Cited:
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper Perenial: New York, 1990.

Dundes, Alan. "Into the Endzone for a Touchdown: A Psychoanalytic Consideration of American Football. Western Folklore. Vol. 37, No.2 (Apr 1978) pp. 75-88.

Gannon, Kelly. "Herald the Story and Die for the Glory: Muscular Christianity, Reconstruction, and Collegiate Football in the New South."

Trujillo, Nick. "Machines, Missles, and Men: Images of the Male Body on ABC's Monday Night Football." ContemporaryIssues in Sociology of Sports. pp. 223-236,+Missles,+and+Men:+Images+of+the+Male+Body+on+ABC%27S+Monday+Night+Football&ots=eAXiJFg7ik&sig=gjECsQEs6e-fNixAfM8SuubTXC0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Waddington, Ivan and Martin Roderick. "American Exceptionalism: Soccer and American Football"