The Battle Over the Gipper's Body

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The legal fight over exhuming the remains of Notre Dame football great George Gipp may have ended.

The Michigan Court of Appeals last month refused to hear an
appeal of a decision to reject a lawsuit filed by two men who say
they are Gipp's distant cousins. Ron Gipp and Karl Gipp live near
George Gipp's boyhood home in the Upper Peninsula and sued in
November 2007.

The previous month, his body had been removed from a cemetery
near Laurium to determine if he had fathered a child out of wedlock
before dying in 1920. DNA testing produced negative results.

The lawsuit accused those responsible for the exhumation of
trespassing. Other family members said the testing was justified.

Gipp was Notre Dame's first All-America selection. He scored 21
touchdowns, passed for eight others and held the school career
rushing record for more than 50 years.

He is best known for the deathbed exhortation attributed to him
years later by coach Knute Rockne. During a pregame pep talk,
Rockne inspired his underdog Fighting Irish with the story of a
dying Gipp urging the team to "win one for the Gipper."

The phrase became a political slogan for Ronald Reagan, who
portrayed Gipp in the 1940 movie "Knute Rockne, All American."