ESPN has gotten away from what made them great.
Make no mistake about it that the Boston College Eagles have never been a national power in men’s basketball or football, but they have always been respectable. However the Eagles went without a win in both men’s basketball and football in the Atlantic Coast Conference during this academic year. And in the process, Boston College became the first school in ACC history to suffer such a fate. Now the Eagles will attempt to dig themselves out of this rubble that they themselves created.
Boston College was a charter member of the Big East Conference in 1979 in men’s basketball along with being there in 1991 when the conference got involved with football. The Eagles would have some success under the Big East banner which included 11 trips to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and four conference regular titles, while also winning the Big East Tournament in 1997 and 2001. Boston College was also no stranger to sending players to the NBA such as Howard Eisley, Dana Barros, and John Bagley.
In football, the Eagles only won the Big East Conference once in 2004, but in their last six seasons in the conference they finished each season ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press Poll. The Eagles were never world beaters but you knew who they were as they were always a tough out. But little did the school know that their greed would set their athletic program back as much as it currently is.
On October 12, 2003, Boston College school president William Leahy chased the almighty dollar when he agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. But after having initial success in both men’s basketball and football within the ACC, the Eagles success down on Tobacco Road has faded.
Since 2010, the Eagles have never had a record better than 7-6 in football while they’ve failed to reach the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 2009. Since 2006, Boston College has had four different head football coaches and three different men’s head basketball coaches since 2010. And in both sports it has been a common theme for Boston College which is the inability to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It’s not that the Atlantic Coast Conference was a superior league to the Big East, but Boston College thrived when their brand was solely focused on the Northeast region of the United States and now they have not been able to keep up. Locally the Eagles have to compete with professional sports franchises in the New England area such as the Boston Celtics and New England Patriots while many other schools within the ACC are the only show in their respective towns which gives them that added local support. That lack of support has also hurt Boston College on the gridiron as even when they have a decent season, they tend to get pushed down on the conference totem pole for as they don’t travel well. Boston College has always primarily recruited locally which was good enough to stay afloat in the Big East, but not in the ACC. However Boston College is not the only former Big East school that has struggled since turning their backs on the conference in favor of larger paychecks.
The University of Miami left the Big East in favor of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004. From 1983-2002, Miami won five national titles in football while playing for it all on three other occasions. Miami would also claim nine Big East Titles and that success hasn’t traveled with the Canes as they’ve never won the ACC and they have also failed to produce a 10-win season. In 2013, the University of Pittsburgh along with Syracuse University would join the ACC. Pitt and Syracuse were basketball powers that had mediocre football programs in the Big East. But now down on Tobacco Road, both schools have gotten lost in the shuffle. West Virginia University decided to leave the Big East in 2012 for the Big 12 Conference. And after finishing the college football season ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press’ Poll in six of their last seven years in the Big East, West Virginia has not been able to achieve that same success in the Big 12. That same greed would see Rutgers University join the Big Ten Conference in 2014. The Big Ten sought Rutgers for the New York media market and in turn the school has become a conference whipping boy as they finished the past college football season with a record of 4-8 while going 17-47 over the last two years in men’s basketball.
We’ve seen school administrators chase a bigger payday from a conference that will have a better television deal due to their irresponsibility in managing finances. Men’s basketball and football are the only two collegiate sports that are lucrative enough to justify the spending that it takes to support them. However many schools spend in the same fashion on other sports which then can drive them into debt. Many of these schools have chased that paycheck, and in the process they’ve sold themselves short on the athletic field.
Syracuse men’s head basketball coach Jim Boeheim was a person that was vehemently against his school joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. Boeheim knew the importance for him to recruit the Northeast for his program, but the school simply looked at the bigger picture for football which has been a laughing stock at the Central New York campus for more than a decade. Like myself, Boeheim was able to foresee the future as he knew that these athletic programs that primarily focused on the Northeast would be fish out of water in other regions of the country.
But in the case of Boston College, they will always be fighting an uphill battle due to the fact that the play in a major metropolis. Last month, Boston College athletic director Brad Bates unveiled a plan for a $200 million upgrade to the school’s athletic facilities which is good even though it might not allow them to take that next step in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles have long had a history of underpaying their athletic coaches which is also a practice that they’ll have to get away from if they want to turn things around which means that the alumni must pony up the bread.
The Boston College family has to be embarrassed after going winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference which is going to help them attempt to get the ball rolling as far as turning things around. But typically when people chase something; especially money, they tend to look past things that have been helpful to them along the way. Like other schools that chase a paycheck, Boston College thought more of themselves than what they were and all they have to show for their trip to Tobacco Road is more money in their bank account while the losses have mounted and their respectability has been tossed out of the window. And once you added all of this up, it simply amounts to Boston College completely bottoming out in the ACC.
Tennessee Volunteers head football coach Butch Jones and his program are in the midst of facing a pair of opponents that are more fiercer than any foe that they’ll meet in the Southeastern Conference on Saturday afternoons. Those foes are the media and the court of public opinion. Tennessee’s entire athletic program is currently entwined in a federal lawsuit where the school has been accused of violating Title IX which is a law that bans discrimination in education. And it also appears that sexual assault is something that the school could be covering up as well.
In a sworn affidavit, former Tennessee wide receiver Drae Bowles reportedly assisted a woman who claimed that she was sexually assaulted by two Tennessee football players in November 2014. But in the report, Bowles was called ” a traitor to the team” by Jones when he alerted him of the incident. According to the testimony, Jones would later apologize to Bowles, but the ship had already left port as the youngster was ostracized from the team as he was confronted by several of his teammates which resulted in him suffering a bloody lip at the hands of teammate Curt Maggitt. Bowles has since transferred to Tennessee-Chattanooga while the Vols are left to deal with the turmoil that is increasing in Knoxville as the days go by.
This is a Tennessee program that is already dealing with accusations against former Volunteers and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning who allegedly sexually assaulted a female athletic trainer at the school during the mid-1990’s as the storm clouds of the NCAA will be forming over the Smokey Mountain Region real soon. If these accusations against Tennessee are indeed true, the sanctions that the school could potentially face from the NCAA would only rival that of what we saw when Penn State was hit with lengthy sanctions in wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal in 2011. Jones, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart, and other school administrators would be out of work if these allegations are true as sexual assault is nothing that should be approached with kid gloves.
But this is an issue that is bigger than Tennessee or the NCAA as there has been a culture in place for years where criminal activities on collegiate campuses have been covered up when involving athletic programs; especially those of the football and men’s basketball variety as they are the two money makers for universities. We saw it at Penn State with Sandusky, at Florida State where former quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of raping a female student as the school attempted to cover it up, and at numerous institutions around the United States as some administrators tend to shove this issue aside in the rush to see their football team make a big bowl, or their men’s basketball team reach the NCAA Tournament which means a big payday for the school.
Unlike on Saturday afternoon’s in the fall at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, there won’t be any winners in this one as Tennessee is already suffering, and if the accusations are true, the victims will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. The eyes of a nation are now focused on Knoxville while other football coaches within the Southeastern Conference are using these issues surrounding the Vols to sway potential prospects from attending school there as no top-tier high-school kid wants to play big-time college football for a program that could be hit with NCAA sanctions which could mean less television exposure and no bowl game. Regardless if these allegations against Tennessee are true or not, the school’s public relations department has to put on the full-court press in order to smooth things out while they are more than likely spending top dollar on quality attorneys.
Tennessee has spent the past few years attempting to get back amongst the elite teams in the Southeastern Conference, and they have been getting back to that under Jones. The Vols are coming off of their first 9-win season since 2007 and there is a growing consensus that they could be in the mix to win the SEC in 2016, but at this rate they’ll be lucky to have a football program in 2017 if the allegations that have been levied against them are true which would force the NCAA to drop the hammer on them.
A few months ago Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany sent shock waves when he suggested that freshman should be ineligible to participate in football and men’s basketball. Delany called for a “year of readiness” to the college lifestyle for incoming freshman. Delany was attempting to get other conference commissioners from the Power Five Conferences to come on board with his idea, but he was unable to get overwhelming support for his plan as freshman ineligibility looks to be a thing of the past in collegiate athletics.
Prior to 1971, freshman were ineligible to participate in varsity athletics, but now that the NCAA nearly generates $1 billion annually, it is all hands on deck as far as participation. Head coaches are paid more money and more than ever they cannot afford to have a bad season as they are basically on a year-to-year basis as the pressure to win is so immense which has paved the way for underclassmen to do big things in competition.
In 1991, it was unheard of for five freshman to start for a major college basketball program. But former Michigan Wolverines head basketball coach Steve Fisher defied the odds and by the mid-point of 1991-1992 college basketball season, he had inserted five true freshman into his starting lineup. And the combination of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Howard would lead Michigan to the Final Four in 1992. Underclassmen have also contributed immensely on the gridiron as well, where in 2007, Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore in history to win the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top college football player. And since Tebow won the Heisman in 2007, two sophomores along with a pair of redshirt freshman have won the award and you know that the idea of a true freshman winning the award is not that far fetched.
Delany’s proposition of sitting freshman down is just a way to prolong their time in college; especially for men’s basketball. Delany is worried about the readiness of freshman, but he is only concerned about it as far as men’s basketball and football which happen to be the two sports that generate the most money for college athletics. In 2005, the NBA implemented a rule that in order the be eligible for the NBA Draft, a player must be out of high school for a year and be at least 19-years of age. This rule was put in place to prevent players from making the jump straight from high school to the NBA and all that it has done is turn men’s college basketball into a joke as there is a constant flow of players that only spend one year in college before they decide to turn pro. And if a player is a one-and-done player in men’s basketball, he theoretically only has to attend class for one semester.
In football, a player must be out of high school for at least three years in order to be eligible for the National Football League Draft. But being that football is such a violent sport, players want to get their as quickly as possible in order to earn a paycheck and you cannot blame them as they are left out in the cold financially in college.
The name of the game is money and with all of the revenue that is generated, the folks that work the hardest (the student-athletes) are the ones that are left out. The NCAA can attempt to come off as a non-profit all that they want to, but make no mistake about it that they are a business just like everything else.
With the expansion of large cable networks such as ESPN and the overwhelming access that is available on the internet, high school players are able to become household names like never before and as soon as they arrive on college campuses, they can become the big man on campus as they are building their own brands. From 7-on-7 football camps to the McDonald’s All-American Game in boy’s and girl’s basketball, the exposure for high schoolers has become unprecedented. Recruiting has become so intense that some football players graduate a semester early in order to enroll in college to take summer classes so that they can participate in football immediately.
If Delany were so concerned about student-athletes getting accustomed to the college lifestyle, he would have attempted to push it across the board that all freshman would be deemed ineligible to participate in varsity athletics as opposed to just in the case of men’s basketball and football. The purpose to attend college is to get further educated in order to increase your earning power in the workforce. But we’re talking about young people that play men’s basketball and football who possess tremendous athletic talents that are able to earn them a living right now. So why should they be punished and not allowed to draw a paycheck while the fat cats at college institutions continue to fill their wallets off of their blood, sweat, and tears? Student-athletes in men’s basketball and football are forced to attend autograph sessions with fans where they don’t get a dollar for their services and the NCAA continuously makes money off of their likeness through jerseys and video games; not to mention the revenue that comes in to respective universities for their football team making a big bowl game or participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Delany’s greed has already allowed the Big Ten to expand as they are now no longer just a Midwestern conference as they have expanded to the East Coast and into even bigger media markets with the addition of the Rutgers Scarlet Knight and the Maryland Terrapins. In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko famously said that “greed is good” and that can be attributed to collegiate athletics as well as the NCAA and its institutions due to the fact that they are cash cows. But just like the film and everything else in life, what goes up, must surely come down.
Super Bowl 28-Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills
the first half the Bills defense was able to slow down the Cowboys
powerful running attack led by running back Emmitt Smith. The Bills took
a 13-6 advantage to the dressing room at halftime, but little did they
know that the roof was about to cave in on them.
In the third quarter
the Bills were driving when running back Thurman Thomas committed the
first of his two costly fumbles. The ball was recovered by Cowboys
defensive back James Washington who returned the pigskin 46 yards for a Dallas
score which knotted the score at 13.
The Cowboys entered the game
favored to defeat the Bills by 10.5 points and they began to play like
the heavy favorites that they were while Buffalo lived up to the hype
that surrounded them as underdogs. The Bills would not score in the
second half as they fell to the Cowboys 30-13.
The game would mark
the last time that the Bills would make the Super Bowl while the
Cowboys would win it all again following the 1995 NFL season as they became
the first franchise in the Super Bowl era to win three championships in
2007 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Game-Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Gators
The first half would go the way of the Gators as quarterback Danny Wuerffel accounted for two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing). The Gators took a 17-10 lead to halftime, but they were far from being out of the woods against the Tide.
The Defense dominated the third quarter as all the scoring for the frame came on two Alabama field goals.
Midway through the fourth, quarterback Alabama linebacker Dwayne Rudd picked off Wuerffel and returned the ball 23 yards for a touchdown that would put ‘Bama up 23-17. Alabama head coach Gene Stallings could see the finish line and another chance to play for a national title, but Wuerffel and the Gators were not ready to go away quietly. Wuerffel led Florida on a drive that culminated with him finding wide receiver Chris Doering for a two-yard touchdown pass with under six minutes remaining. Led by defensive tackle Ellis Johnson, the Gators defense would hold off Alabama quarterback Jay Barker and the Tide’s offense to win 24-23.