Ostensibly, Boston College is searching for a new athletic director, but according to several sources familiar with the process now underway at BC, the overall plan is far greater than that, involving not only a change at the Presidential level, but a different overall philosophy of the way BC views athletics.
Officially, the process of finding a replacement for Brad Bates as the Eagles AD has begun, with the primary focus involving fund raising, facilities and an upgrade in the performance level of the prime revenue producing sports of men’s basketball and football.
But the first task which will be given to a new athletic director and presumably a new President, will be to reconfigure the way BC approaches athletics at every level, with the first priority being in reducing the number of varsity sports at The Heights.
Right now, BC has 31 varsity sports, which is far above the Atlantic Coast Conference average of 24. BC also has 26 club sports, many of which are also available at the varsity level.
In an ideal world, with an unlimited budget and lots of space, that is a plan that most colleges would embrace, offering opportunities for the entire student body.
BC doesn’t have the budget to handle that and it certainly doesn’t have space on a compact campus with only limited areas for expansion.
Cutting sports at any level is a dangerous area for administrators and BC President Father William Leahy, who has guided BC to financial security over the past 20 years, does not want to have the reduction of sports as part of his legacy.
This is where it is complicated. The chatter of Father Leahy’s retirement continues to be heard at The Heights, with the latest rumors being that Father Leahy will make a trip to Ireland in June and announce his retirement. That date also coincides with the end of the term of John Fish, the Chairmen of the BC Board of Trustees.
It would also be the end of the school year and allow a new President and a new athletic director to have a few months to settle into their new roles. The contract of outgoing BC athletic director Brad Bates also expires in June, so the timing of all these moves would seem to fit. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.