BC needs new leadership at the top

The rumors started floating around the Boston College campus last summer. And they never really went away, although the sounds of silence at The Heights has grown louder when the future of BC President Father William Leahy is discussed, with retirement prominently mentioned. By almost every measure, Father Leahy has done an outstanding job during his 20-year reign at BC. Overall he has done a great job fund raising, he has been the driving force in Boston College moving from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference, which financially has been a hugely successful move for the Eagles. He has increased the academic profile of the school. But athletically–at least for the past seven years–the Eagles have tumbled into an abyss. And while Father Leahy’s overall involvement in athletics is minimal, his influence in who gets hired and fired has been and remains enormous. And now, as BC faces another change in management and perhaps direction with a search for a new athletic director underway,  Father Leahy’s influence presents a major road block to success. Several sources familiar with BC contend that as long as Father Leahy remains in charge, the pool of qualified candidates for the athletic director’s job will be shallow. BC, of course, will emphatically deny this. But in the fast lane of big time college athletics, perception is often reality and the perception about...

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BC must change the way it operates

So once again Boston College is at a crossroads in its athletic future.  With the expected announcement on Monday that athletic director Brad Bates was leaving, the Eagles will have a change in athletic leadership which could include also football and men’s basketball within the next 12 months. And, don’t be stunned if there is a change at the Presidential level as well. Let’s start with the job of athletic director. Normally, any Power 5 conference AD opening would be regarded as a prime time opportunity. Here’s the first reality check for the folks at The Heights: The consensus opinion in college athletics is that NONE of the other 73 Power 5 conference athletic directors will apply. Think about that for a minute. Right now BC is not a destination point. Oh, there will be candidates and if BC does it right, there will be quality people who step forward, people with the credentials to make things better at BC. BC has subpar facilities, a small fan base and an administration which has not had a history of  support without lots of restrictions. Add the academic standards in an area of the country where support for college athletics is fragile and you have a tough sell. Before ANY  changes occur, the BC administration, starting with President Father William Leahy, must make some concessions. Not in academic standards. There are...

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BC needs to get AD search right

So now the elephant which has been in the offices of Boston College athletics for the past several months has become visible. Boston College acknowledged on Tuesday that athletic director Brad Bates would be leaving The Heights in June to start a new job–as a vice president of a search firm headed by former UConn AD Todd Turner. The irony in that move, of course, is that Turner’s firm tried to get Bates another job in athletic administration, but couldn’t, so it did the next best thing–it hired Bates, who will be a good administrator in that role. What he was not–during his four and one half year stint at BC–was a good athletic director, which was why Bates was given a simple message last summer that he had a year to find a new job, because his contract would not be  renewed at BC. The bottom line for Bates at BC was that the revenue producing sports were floundering, fund raising and attendance were down and the core group of a small, but loyal base of BC fans was declining. Since Bates now has another job, BC will not have to “fire” him, which has always been the preferable mode of operation for BC. But before things can get better, whomever is making the decision–the final call will still be BC President Father William Leahy–needs to hire the...

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BC: On the road to???

(An outsiders musings about BC, aka The Heights) It has been a quiet winter at The Heights. The Boston College football team is getting ready to start spring practice, with a sense of optimism generated by the end of the season three game winning streak and bowl victory. The basketball team is again mired in the depths of the ACC standings, headed to another losing season, with the only positive vibes generated because the Eagles’ have been more competitive in a losing streak, which is now at 10 games and counting. This all but guarantees the Eagles will  be again done with their season by the Ides of March. Even the Eagles’ gold standard, Coach Jerry York’s men’s hockey team, has dropped into second tier status as a national hockey power. This is not to suggest that there is tranquility at BC. The questions of direction for the athletic department remain. Athletic Director Brad Bates continues to operate in what almost everyone thinks are his final months as the Eagles’ AD, working from the shadows, quietly doing his job. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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Gonzaga looking like the best of the best

There now seems to be a clearer line separating the No.1 seeds, with Villanova, Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga establishing control of the top line in our projected NCAA men’s tournament field Baylor and Kansas will meet on Saturday to determine the front runner in the Big 12. And Gonzaga continues to chase history as the only unbeaten team. And the Zags look like the best team in the country, although that is open to debate. Heere’s TMG’s latest look at the Top 16, seeded by region. EAST Villanova, North Carolina, Florida, UCLA MIDWEST,  Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Virginia SOUTH Baylor, FSU, Kentucky, Butler WEST Gonzaga, Oregon, Duke,...

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Final 4 Countdown: The Field 2

Here’s our second look at the 68 team NCAA tournament field as we get closer to conference tournament time. Our list (still really  a guess) of the 32 automatic qualifers and 36 at-large teams, conference by conference. We will make projections of the automatic bids based on the current conference standings. The major conferences such as the Big 12, ACC and Big Ten will flourish with mulitiple bids as long as there are no upsets in the mid-major conferences. So here’s our first guess at the full field. America East (1)–Vermont American Athletic Conference (2)–Cincinnati, SMU Atlantic 10 (2)–VCU, Dayton Atlantic Coast Conference (9)–North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia, Louisville, Virginia Tech,  Syracuse, Duke and Miami Atlantic Sun (1)–Florida Gulf Coast Big 12 (7)–Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, TCU. Big East (5)–Villanova, Creighton, Butler, Xavier, Marquette. Big Sky (1)–Weber State Big South (1)–UNC-Ashville Big Ten (8)–Maryland, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa Big West (1)–UC-Irvine CAA (1)–UNC-Wilmington Conference USA-(1)–Middle Tennessee Horizon (1)–Valparaiso Ivy (1)–Princeton MAAC (1)–Monmouth MAC (1)–Akron MEAC (1)–NC. Central MVC (2)–Illinois State, Wichita State MWC–(1)–Nevada Northeast (1)–Mount Saint Mary’s OVC (1)–Belmont Pac-12 (5)–Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, USC,California Patriot (1)–Bucknell SEC (4)-Kentucky,  Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas Southern (1)–Furman Southland (1)–Sam Houston SWAC (1)–Texas Southern Summit (1)–North Dakota State Sun Belt (1)–Arkansas State WCC (2)–Gonzaga, St. Mary’s WAC (1)-New Mexico...

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First look at Sweet 16 seeds

February is here, which means the countdown to Selection Sunday on March 12 has begun. In making our first break down on the potential NCAA tournament field, one trend jumped out-it’s tough to come up with 68 tournament–worthy teams. That will change, of course, as the regular season concludes. For now, we will stick with the Top 4 seeds,  slotting them into their regions. So here’s our first guess at how we think the top of the bracket will look when it is announced. East Regional Villanova  2. Louisville   3. Florida  4. Oregon South Regional Kentucky  2. Baylor   3. Virginia   4. Duke West Regional Gonzaga  2. Arizona  3. Florida State  4. Creighton Midwest Regional Kansas  2. North Carolina   3. Butler   4....

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Baylor keeps lowering the bar

More headlines this week from Baylor. And, as has been the case for several years now the news is from off the field and isn’t good. A Baylor coed filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging sexual misconduct by the football team coached by former Bears’ coach Art Briles. Ok. We’ve heard that tale before. Briles got fired, So did the AD and the President and everyone else involved with this hideous bit of business which said that during a 4-year period (2011-2014) 17 women were sexually assaulted by 19 different football players. An external investigation portrayed a picture of a program which operated by its own laws. Anything goes, which often happens at places if the team can generate wins, because wins generate money.  And under Briles, Baylor won a lot. From 2011-2014, the Bears compiled a 40-12 record. The Bears went to four bowls, including the Cotton and Fiesta Bowls. They were better than Texas, which in Wac0, 90 miles to the North of the boys from Austin and perennially in the shadow of the Longhorns, was a big deal. But this time they crossed the line. So something had to be done. And it was. But the investigation, conducted by a Philadelphia based law firm, may have just skimmed the surface of what was going on under Briles’ Watch. The rest of this article is available to...

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Matty Ice won’t melt under pressure of Super Bowl

You will hear the stories now. Lots of them, which is part of  the profile of a National Football League quarterback who is likely to be named the league’s MVP in a couple of weeks, while playing in his first Super Bowl. I haven’t dealt much with Matty Ice, aka Atlanta Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan, for the past nine years. That’s what happens when you cover college football and watch boys turn into men as careers get started and blossom like Ryan and  Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly who had his NFL coming out party in last year’s Super Bowl. But I watched and got to know both Kuechly and Ryan when they played for Boston College.  And in 46 years as a sportswriter, I can say without hesitation that Ryan and Kuechly are my two favorite football players, not for what they did on the field, but for the kind of people they were and are. So let’s go back and let me tell you some up close and personal Matty Ice stories. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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ACC hoops leader showdown: FSU vs. Notre Dame?

(Just wondering about some things as we slide into the heart of the college basketball season) We know that the Atlantic Coast Conference won the national championship in college football with Clemson’s pulsating victory over  Alabama in the College Football National Championship game. And we know that the ACC considers itself THE elite league in college basketball (argued only slightly by the other conferences). But what was startling this week was to see a match up on Wednesday in a BASKETBALL showdown between Florida State and Notre Dame for the top spot in the ACC. Excuse me? Not Duke, Not Carolina, not Virginia. Not Louisville. But the Seminoles, ranked No. 10 and the Irish, ranked No. 15. FSU won 83-80 in the game at Tallahassee.   This not a fluke, folks. The Seminoles are 17-2 and have already posted wins over Duke and Virginia. They did lose at North Carolina, but that’s almost never an upset against any team on the Tar Heels schedule. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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TMG Newsmaker of the Week: Barack Obama

Whether you liked him, supported him, voted for him or agreed with him, there is little question that President Barack Obama has brought a style and civility to his public appearances in the  White House for the past 8 years. Therefore it is not surprising, now that we are in the final  days of No. 44’s term in Washington, that President Obama concluded the public portion of his job with a trifecta of appearances in which he topped the charts, including his farewell speech as President in his home town in Chicago, an emotional ceremony honoring his friend Vice President Joe Biden last week and on Monday, a ceremony at the White House honoring the World Champion Chicago Cubs, a tough task for a life-time White Sox fan. But the President, like he has done so often–our favorites were his White House Correspondents Dinner appearances and his yearly selection of his NCAA basketball tournament brackets on ESPN–pulled it off with style, grace, and humor. For these efforts and perhaps a possible new job as President of the NCAA if  he wants to really get invested in college athletics,  President Obama is this week’s TMG’s Newsmaker of the...

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Edsall did nothing wrong

It was a simple transaction, but it created a firestorm. New UConn football coach Randy Edsall was in the headlines again on Tuesday when word filtered out that the Huskies had pulled a scholarship offer from a recruit who had verbally agreed to come to UConn last summer. The twitter world when viral with moral indignation about how Edsall was destroying the dream of a deserving athlete. Let’s cut to the chase on this one very quickly. First, former UConn coach Bob Diaco offered the scholarship to Ryan Dickens, a 6-foot-2  inch 210 pound linebacker from Raritan, New Jersey, not Edsall. Diaco was fired last month for a variety of reasons, including a lack of enough talent to compete. In Diaco’s world, Dickens may have been the right player for UConn, which was the only scholarship offer Dickens received from the other schools–Rhode Island, Cornell and Monmouth–who expressed an interest. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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