Upon reading the Report of the Faculty Football Survey it was no surprise to me that faculty opinion was overwhelmingly against a potential move to the Big East. What was a surprise to me was the fact that so many intelligent people uttered such ridiculous and shortsighted arguments against such a move.
Paraphrasing some of these comments made by Faculty:
- Football is too violent.
- Football somehow contradicts with Villanova's mission.
- Football should be dropped entirely.
- One faculty member went so far as to single out the poor performance of one of the football players they had in their class.
- Villanova should move to Division III.
- Athletics have become the "tail that wags the dog"
- Big time football somehow compromises a school's academic integrity.
I cannot claim that I lack bias in this matter because I have always felt that Big East football would be a tremendous opportunity for Villanova to elevate itself into a national university while also protecting Basketball, which whether the faculty is willing to admit or not is the single most important asset the school has to recruit new students. One faculty member in favor of the move pointed out how the school's average SAT scores have increased by 200 points since the 1985 NCAA Championship.
Do not get me wrong, strong academics are an integral part of Villanova's identity, but the schools that Villanova considers its peers (Notre Dame and Boston College) prove that strong academics and Catholic values can coexist with a big time football program. In order to continue growing as a university, Villanova must put its basketball team in the position in which it is least vulnerable to the changing landscape of college athletics, and upgrading football is the most obvious vehicle through which that can happen.
I would simply like to ask the faculty to not completely dismiss such a move, and I would like to remind them that if they do not like the conditions at Villanova, then there are plenty of other institutions of higher education (ones with neither the football nor the national reputation) that would welcome their services.
An Educated Fan Tired of Penis Envy by Academics Directed Toward Intercollegiate Athletics