It’s that time of year again for the Boston newspapers to check in with the state of BC Athletics. In what feels like a once a year happening one of the two papers in Boston has come up with the real reason why BC athletics is not succeeding. This time, one of the greatest boxing writers of all time dropped in to tell everyone that the reason BC is struggling is because of rigorous academic requirements. From Ron Borges’ most recent column:
I once asked a former BC coach what it was like to work there and he succinctly described it this way: "They won’t let you lose to a guy named Tyrod Taylor but they won’t let you recruit a guy named Tyrod Taylor, either.’’
His use of Taylor, who of late has been quarterbacking the Buffalo Bills better than most of his teammates play their individual positions, may have been apocryphal but the point was not. The hard truth is some guys who are stars at Clemson or Florida State or most of BC’s ACC opponents are not getting into Boston College. At least, not enough of those kind of athlete-students (as opposed to the more traditional other way around) are going to be admitted to allow BC to be truly competitive.
Borges then rattles some stats about how poor BC has been under Bates’ watch, which probably wouldn’t even surprise the most lax BC fan. Then Borges finishes off with:
The fact of the matter is, whoever BC convinces to come into this mess to replace Bates either needs assurances from Leahy that he is going to start running an ACC-style admissions program as well as ACC football and basketball programs or would be wise to rent not own because he or she won’t be here for very long.
While BC’s academics requirements are certainly a hurdle in the recruiting game it isn’t this Stay Puft Marshmallow Man sized handcuff that everyone wants to make it out to be. Do the academic hurdles make it challenging at times? Absolutely. There’s no doubt there are certainly players that BC has passed on taking a flyer on because the player probably wasn’t good enough to take the risk on.
However, with the amount of kids going the prep route instead of the traditional high school route it isn’t becoming any harder for BC to qualify players. Trust me when I say if a BC coach really wants to get a player qualified they can make it happen in a lot of cases, just not for every player on the roster. Don’t think that the current football coach hasn’t gotten a player in with less than a 3.0 GPA. Could there be a better line of communication between admissions and the coaching offices for players that on the line? Yes, but that’s another story for another day.
Instead of taking the extra time like Bob Hohler did last year to expose the real problems at the Heights, Borges took the lazy way out and got a quick quote from a former coach and a former Globe colleague on the state of the program and ran with it. If Borges had taken the extra time to dig through the real issues he probably would’ve found many of the same things that Hohler started to expose last year in that the BC administration has not adapted to how big-time college athletics are run in the 21st century.
Obviously it all starts with how things are run at the top, which Hohler explained better than I probably could in his piece last year. From there it trickles down to both the big and little things that BC could do make facilities and accommodations more pleasant for its athletes.
We all know about the lack of an IPF for football which is hopefully getting fixed soon. Are people aware though that the basketball team gets nothing out of that deal? BC will still be the only ACC hoops program without a dedicated practice facility.
You’d think that when the deck is stacked against the coaches with big things like not having modern facilities, that the school might try and compensate with other things like an upgrade of dorm rooms for athletes. At the very least that would make it so BC doesn’t have the worst facilities AND the worst living accommodations for recruits. Nope, instead the administration holds its nose high and uses the cop out line of "we don’t need kids who care about that." Don’t kid yourself that it stops there either. There was a situation that a player told me about where the basketball team had to stop on a chartered flight home from Tallahassee to refuel because it wasn’t done before the players got on the plane. The result was the players rolling in around 2:30 in the morning in the middle of the week. What kind of Mickey Mouse company was hired to provide transportation? Do you think stories like that don’t get around?
Look, at the end of the day there are a ton of things which make BC a great destination for recruits and I don’t have to repeat them here. But why is part of that equation that BC has to have the worst facilities and perks to go along with all of the great things it offers? Why is it some sort of badge of honor that BC doesn’t make things more accommodating for athletes? Please spare me of the line once again that the type of kid that wants to go to BC doesn’t care about that. Dude, it’s 2017 not 1997! You are now the old guy at the family party that is proud to tell everyone he is never going to learn how to use a computer. Times are changing and BC is getting left in the dust. It's nice to dream that the new AD might come in and fix some of this. You're kidding yourself if you think the change starts with a new AD though.
Eric can be reached at EricHoffses@gmail.com