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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Sunday, November 28, 2004

Fly higher as an Eagle,

For Kyle is the wind beneath their wings?

Monsieur Whelliston came to Beantown -- without dropping by to say hello (cue Stephanie Tanner: "How rude!") -- and inquired about the future of the Boston College Eagles.

Once they're free of the lane-clogging brawl-ball of the Big East, the Eagles will have a chance to cut their teeth against the very best - the Tobacco Road squads - on a year-in year-out basis. If they can manage to escape the good-team-in-a-great-conference trap that Clemson finds themselves in every year, maybe they can hang around and compete. Give them a few years of increased recruiting and funding, maybe they can start contending. Maybe even winning. It's a valid question: could the Boston College Eagles realistically become one of the top teams in college hoops someday?

I wish, but no. Desire is a prelude to success and the Boston College administration prefers not to field a Top 10 squad. Yes, you read that right. BC bigwigs are against greater athletic success and its attendant drawbacks.

First, the college's primary reason for changing conferences wasn't for greater athletic opportunity, but for a better academic reputation. From the Boston Globe:

BC was intrigued by linkage to schools with strong academic credentials. That, as much as anything, was behind the strong push by the administration to switch conferences, a move that [athletic director Gene] DeFilippo had to embrace publicly.

Second, consider BC's football program. Absent Miami, the Eagles could have dominated Big East pigskin. But with Miami and Florida State in an expanded ACC the Eagles are an also-ran. If the BC administration so highly values athletic elitism, why make a move that all but assures its football program will never attain Top 10 status?

Third, think back to the experience that drove basketball coach Jim O'Brien away to Ohio State (and forget what you now know about Obie).

Jim O'Brien wants out and is whispering vows to leave BC...O'Brien, a BC alum, is furious. He feels that the administration pulled the rug out from under him by recently rejecting two recruits: South Boston's Jonathan DePina and West Roxbury's Elton Tyler...

By NCAA eligibility standards, DePina easily qualifies to play while Tyler, who will take his SATs again, is only partly qualified...It must be stressed that BC admission standards are not the same as the NCAA minimum eligibility requirements...

BC admissions gave DePina and Tyler the thumbs down. That snowballed into O'Brien losing The Three AAU Amigos: DePina, Tyler and Worcester's Mike Bradley. Bradley became incensed when he was accepted by BC, but his AAU teammates were not. So he ripped up his letter of intent to attend BC.

Fourth, let Rev. William P. Leahy, the 25th president of the college be crystal clear about priorities.

"We don't want to accept a student here just because he might give us a good year of athletic competition. I don't think that's fair. We want student-athletes who we think can graduate. Sometimes we are wrong in our judgments. But I don't want us selling our souls for the sake of athletics. That is not what this institution is about."

Are high academic standards a prelude to Final Fours? No. Witness Duke. But BC's admissions guidelines make the scenario Kyle envisioned highly unlikely.