It’s that time of year. As I filled out my bracket for March madness I couldn’t resist picking small catholic universities. My bias toward schools like Gonzaga, Sienna and Xavier is no doubt due to the fact that I attended catholic school from kindergarden through college.
I just wish my university would one day come to the realization that NCAA division I athletics would push the school toward national recgonition and generate countless dollars in donations.
As a former Loyola University baseball team captain (’97) I beg you to form an exploratory committee to research the possibility of moving the athletics program into the NCAA division I.
Keeping this blog entry short and sweet I just want to say that it’s time for the school to make a decision.
Either get in or get out.
And please don’t tell me that moving athletics up in classification is too hard, or not possible. Seattle University is a small Jesuit University that’s currently in the process of adding sports and joining the NCAA division I.
Seattle’s decision to go division I was lead by University president Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J. He and the board of trustees made the decision that moving into the highest classification of collegiate athletics makes the entire university better.
Some of the most recognizable Jesuit colleges and universities are Georgetown, Boston College, Marquette, Gonzaga, Xavier and Fordham.
Why? Because all have achieved national athletic recognition.
How many people log onto the Gonzaga University website each year during the NCAA’s March madness?
Probably a lot more than the Loyola New Orleans website.
Of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities playing sports, 23 are NCAA division I.
3 other Jesuit schools are division II or III.
Only Loyola New Orleans and Spring Hill College are members of the NAIA.
Rev. Wildes, if you get behind the idea of moving athletics to a new level, advancing into the NCAA can happen.
I had numerous conversations with your predecessor, Bernard Knoth, but he never seemed very interested in pursuing this idea.
So I ask that you make athletics part of your legacy.
Now, if you did get behind this idea, would certain university factions stand against you? Absolutely.
But moving athletics up to the NCAA level helps the university. Just like in Seattle, more students and alumni would join your cause than oppose you.
An idea that may garner even more support would be to partner with Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama and apply for NCAA membership together with the intentions of moving into the same conference.
2 schools with high academic standards and tremendous history in their respective cities would make the NCAA and prospective conferences take notice.
I’ve even found 2 new conferences (that do not sponsor football teams) that would no doubt seriously consider Loyola and Spring Hill.