The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of Boston College Athletics? Doug Flutie and that beautiful Hail Mary to stun Miami, of course. The second? Well that would probably be the infamous point shaving of the 1978-1979 men’s basketball team. Almost 40 years later, and the point shaving still appears to be in the public’s view on BC. Evidence to this includes Seth Gordon deciding to direct a movie on the whole debacle. Some BC Athletics analysts have considered the possibility that the point shaving may still be affecting the recruitment of men’s basketball players to the school today.
In my opinion, the impact on recruiting ended not too long after the scandal had. Definitely by the beginning of the 21st Century, recruits considering BC were not using the scandal as a “Con” when making a Pros and Cons list for their perspective schools. Has BC done a great job recruiting for its basketball program? No, it hasn’t. But there is much more to that than the point shaving.
Being the northern-most school in the ACC has made BC a rather undesirable location for star athletes who are also being swayed by other ACC programs such as Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Wake Forest, which are blessed with a more fair-weathered location. While BC has been able to recruit stars like Troy Bell, Jared Dudley, and Reggie Jackson, those guys outperformed expectations. Jackson, for example, was ranked 94th in the country by ESPN in his senior year of high school, which is undoubtedly impressive, but if he had been a top 20 recruit, which he probably should have been, there is no way he would have ended up an Eagle.
Even today, BC basketball is led by stars Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson, both originally from North Carolina, the heart of ACC basketball, with powerhouses UNC and Duke in state. But both of those schools overlooked Bowman, searching nationally for the best players and in-state, recruiting the number one point guard in all of the country, Dennis Smith, Jr. Bowman most likely chose BC due to his desire to compete in the ACC, but had to go to BC because other schools were not recruiting him.
Yes, the Eagles have struggled to consistently land blue chip recruits in men’s basketball. No, it is not because of the point shaving scandal. Boston College does not recruit the best players because Boston College is not a marquee basketball school. Until the team proves that it can consistently compete in the ACC, which if this year is any indication, will not be too far down the road, they will continue to search for diamonds in the rough like Bowman, Robinson, Bell, Dudley, and Jackson.