It wouldn't be an official Boston College Athletics Department town hall meeting without a question on reviving the Eagles varsity men's lacrosse program. So you can officially put Monday's "State of the Heights" meeting in the books as the question -- once again -- was asked of the school's new Athletic Director Brad Bates.
Here's what Bates said when asked if there are plans to bring back men's varsity lacrosse.
"We're in the process of identifying how we resource our programs. If you think about this, athletics is, in so many ways, a marketing vehicle for the entire University. When you picked up the paper this morning you didn't see a physics section. And so, whether it's right or wrong, that's the way our society is. We value sports, and so my responsibility, and the athletic department's, is to take advantage of that social emphasis on athletics in ways that really expose Boston College to the country. So in our strategic planning process we are going to look at all programs and identify those that can be nationally competitive and nationally distinctive and figure out how we are going to resource those programs in ways that best serve the University."
Basically, we'll get back to you.
While Bates approach is a little more wordy, a little more gentler and a little less bait-and-switch-y than his predecessor's response to the same question, I don't believe BC is any closer to adding men's lacrosse than they were under the previous administration.
If anything, this quote seems to suggest that Boston College may soon have less, not more, varsity sports programs -- a proposal that I've long backed. Here's the money quote. "We are going to look at all programs and identify those that can be nationally competitive and nationally distinctive and figure out how we are going to resource those programs in ways that best serve the University."
If the school isn't going to invest in facilities for varsity sports already at a competitive disadvantage in the Atlantic Coast Conference, what is the point of sponsoring those sports? I have no problem focusing on student-athlete development as a goal for the athletics department, but winning conference championships (just one since 2005-06) and marketing the school need to be priorities as well.
Could BC go the slash-and-add route, eventually adding men's lacrosse back into the varsity sports mix after cutting a few programs? Perhaps. But you've got to think that this is far, far down on the list of priorities for Bates.
SB Nation's College Crosse also picked up on Bates' quote, arguing that if you were starting over from scratch and picking schools that should sponsor Division I men's varsity lacrosse, Boston College would be at the top of the list. Which, coincidentally, may be the nicest thing a Syracuse fan has ever said about BC.