Dear Rev. Kevin WM. Wildes, S.J.

Once again I look at the field of teams in the NCAA men’s division I basketball tournament and I see schools very similiar to Loyola University (New Orleans).

Loyola is one of 28 schools forming the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Jesuit schools in the NCAA Men’s Tournmant:

Gonzaga University

Marquette University

Xavier University (Ohio)

Georgetown University

St. Peter’s College

On top of these AJCU schools, other universities that are very comporable to Loyola University that are in the tournament are:

Belmont University

Wofford University

University of Richmond

Butler University   

Pointing this out leads me to a blog I republish each year:

Dear Rev. Kevin WM. Wildes, S.J.
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 impossible.
Seattle University is a small Jesuit University that moved from NAIA to NCAA division I.
Seattle’s decision to move up was lead by former 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.
I’ve even found a conference (that does not sponsor football) that would no doubt seriously consider adding Loyola.
The Atlantic Sun Conference:
As far as travel goes, the A-Sun would be perfect!
As far as being competative with schools similiar to Loyola…the A-Sun would be perfect.
Am I dreaming to believe that a Loyola president and the board of trustees will get behind the idea of Division I athletics? Probably, but I’ve been on this soap box since 1995…and I’m not ready to step down yet!
Before I go I also want to add that now is the time to seriously explore this move.  UNO has withdrawn from being an NCAA Division I member and Tulane is struggling  mightly! 
Take a chance Rev. Wildes…you’re an amazing leader who’s done a heroic job leading the recovery of Loyola and assisting in the recovery of the city of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina…adding Division I athletics to your resume would only enhance your legacy!

Thanks for reading.

-Fletch

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