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.