Xavier and St. Mary’s are playing in the sweet 16 and getting positive national recgonition that is priceless.
Again, I write this email each year…and i’ll keep writing and hoping that one day someone takes it seriously.
Also…to be honest, if the idea of Loyola ever going DI is going to be explored it should be now.
UNO is dropping down from NCAA Division I to Division III. Our city will have only one division I team…and let’s be honest…Tulane has always been looked upon by locals as an “outsider” school.
The greater New Orleans area is a huge catholic stronghold and I truly believe the fans here would support Loyola teams if the school decided to move up to NCAA division I.
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, Xavier, St. Mary’s and Siena 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.
I wrote the blog below two years ago and figured I’d post it again.
Dear Rev. Kevin WM. Wildes, S.J.
As a former Loyola University baseball team captain (and a friend of yours who has tremendous respect for what you’ve accomplished not only at the university but also in the commuity) 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 impossible.
Seattle University is a small Jesuit University (very comporable to Loyola New Orleans) that recently moved up to 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 on top of being tremendous academic instutions 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 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.
Moving athletics up to the NCAA division I level helps the university. Just like in Seattle University, more students and alumni would join this cause than oppose you.
I’ve even found a perfect conference that would no doubt seriously consider Loyola.
The Atlantic Sun Conference.
As far as travel and creating natural regional rivals goes, the A-Sun would be perfect!
The Atlantic Sun consists of 12 schools representing 5 southeastern states. (8 private universities and 4 public universities form the Atlantic Sun).
, Campbell University
, East Tennessee State University
, Gardner-Webb University
, Florida Gulf Coast University
, Jacksonville University
, Kennesaw State University
, Lipscomb University
, Mercer University
, University of North Florida
, University of South Carolina Upstate
, Stetson University