Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why do BC boosters behave?

With Real Sports about to unload on Auburn tonight and the Ohio State booster-tattoo scandal still gaining steam, I keep coming back to a topic I've long pondered and occasionally touched on: why don't BC fans cheat? Now let me preface this by saying I am 99% sure some BC fans have broken some NCAA rules in the past and will in the future. It wouldn't surprise me if minor violations are occurring as we speak. But in general, I've never heard of the out and out, cash for play, "$500 handshakes," signing bonus nonsense and what not that is all too commonplace at the major football powers.

Unfortunately, my theory as to why BC fans behave comes back to football culture and fans passion, and is less about integrity. We know money is not the issue. There are plenty of BC grads with big wallets and big egos. If the going rate to get a Cam Newton to campus was $180,000, there are plenty of BC grads who could have doubled that. But to even be in on those conversations, you have to really be into BC football and have a lot of excess cash. We just don't have many of those guys. Just look at Donor Based seating -- not enough demand to fill all the spots. Our luxury boxes rotate pretty regularly due to faining interest. The Yawkey Center was driven in part by money freed by the Red Sox sale, not by someone attaching his name and ego to BC sports.

But we also have a culture around BC sports that doesn't really cater to the big donors' needs. Sure the bigger checks get Gene's attention and some nice perks, but it doesn't get you a say in anything (see Greg Barbour's frustration with the coaching transition from TOB to Jags). At other schools, the donors call the shots and run the fundraising. Since we are a private school, the fundraising and athletic budgets can be housed under one roof.

I would also be very surprised to ever hear of BC boosters slipping high school kids cash. Once again, there is just not that much interest. Rival's BC site has less than 1,000 paid subscribers. So there are only a limited number of BC fans/boosters who even know who BC is recruiting. When you have ten times that amount from a SEC fanbase, you increase the odds of a rogue fan showing up at a high school and handing out hard cash.

I also think it is a cultural issue. Our fanbase is still primarily from the northeast and reared on pro sports. So the mentality of supporting the team is more about watching and cheering and not getting actively involved in recruitment. Sox fans may pay top dollar for their seats, but they're not going to go up to David Ortiz and slip him a hundred. In fact they are more likely to call him out for the money he is making.

I love college sports, but I also turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy around it 90% of the time. I like BC's image and culture but would also like our moment in the sun. I know Auburn fans who say the Cam Newton situation was worth it for the championship. I don't think many BC fans would say the same. Whether it is because we hold ourselves to a higher standard or just don't care enough, I will never know.

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At 5:37 PM, Blogger Erik said...

What's a True O/U on # of people that know who BC is recruiting. For football we'll say the person can name 10 people we've offered scholarships to, which only takes casual reading...

I'd guess 300 people is fair. Thoughts?

At 6:07 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

ATL -- this comment is just so wrong: "Unfortunately, my theory as to why BC fans behave comes back to football culture and fans passion, and is less about integrity"

Intergity is issue #1. Believe it. BC people are different than SEC types; Different than Clemson, Miami and FSU types. Believe it.

Could you imagine a billionaire from Harvard or Yale doing so? an ND alum? No to all. Frankly, one reason to not do it, is because if the dirty alum were caught, he would be ostracized for being unethical.

At the SEC schools, he would be lionized.

BC boosters are not about to be handing out bribes and goodies to players that violated NCAA rules.

So, you ask: "Whether it is because we hold ourselves to a higher standard or just don't care enough, I will never know" Go with the former, and have no doubts about it.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

SEC millionaires own car dealerships. BC millionaires own hedge funds. The risk of getting caught and ostracized is much worse for our boosters.

At 7:52 PM, Blogger harrow said...


I could not have said it better, it's not the whole reason but a big one. Some big boosters at state schools sometimes never even attended the university.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I would never want to see any sort of championship reached by any questionable means. I pride myself on the affiliation I have as a Boston College athletics fan because, for the most part, the athletes we go for are a reflection of the university as a whole. We pride ourselves on players who aren't just athletes but students as well. When we (read our teams) achieve success, we can point to our players and say "Can your players do all this? Can they meet the demands of the game and still be a true student?"
When they don't achieve success, we still take pride in their representation of BC. Take Dom Davis for example. Clearly, he is a gifted athlete. But I'm okay with his suspension and ultimate transfer, because I don't want to see our definition of a student athlete compromised.

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Chris P. said...

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At 1:50 AM, Blogger Bob B. said...

I spoke to Reggie Jackson today and he said that Dallas Elmore is gone for sure too. He said Dallas is looking to transfer to a school out west, closer to home, to Colorado St., Montana, UNLV or USF. Dallas didn't get much playing time and doesn't really fit the system so it makes sense, despite being a senior.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger John said...

I may be naive but I'd like to think our Jesuit training in ethics has a major effect.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Snuffy said...

The SEC is not about bribes or slipping $100s. It is about a passion for football. The teams with the best traditions, the best game-day atmopshere, win, and win regularly.

The SEC is a special league.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Danny Boy said...

In the spirit of the article, why don't we all pitch in and see if we can make staying at BC a little more attractive for Reggie. God knows avoiding a sophomore slump will be huge for Donahue's recruiting efforts.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger EaglesBro said...

wow, trolling with a post on your own blog. interesting.

pretending you were serious, i would think you would advocate for lessened admission requirements, especially for the football and basketball teams. ethics aside, it seems that this would be an easier (and legal) way to immediately improve our teams.

At 2:04 AM, Blogger chicagofire1871 said...

I support the Lou Holtz rule (recently reinstated) that says that ND football gets 3 guys every year who do not meet academic standards for admission. They get tutored up, must be able to stay in school and play football at the same time. Seems like a good deal to me.


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