Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sage Advice From New York

Mike Vaccaro writes a good column today- full of warnings to the Tulane fan who wants more and more investment and a move to the SEC. Read the whole thing- but I am including a particularly relevant excerpt below:
... and emphasizes just how far ahead of the game schools in that city (Philadelphia) are, as compared to their haughtier cousins 90 miles away (New York). The Philly schools certainly don't work in collusion with each other, but they do tend to follow similar blueprints that have allowed them to maintain a certain level of success year after year.

Consider: Each of the Big Five schools plays precisely in the league it belongs in. St. Joe's, Temple and La Salle anchor the A-10. Villanova has been a Big East staple for 28 years. Penn has long been the pride of the Ivies, even if it has fallen on lean times. They know who they are. They are committed to who they are.
Amen. They know who they are. They are committed to who they are.

Basically, the last thing St. Joes needs is a 10K seat arena and a move to the Big East. Then they go from being a classy program to doormat- the Philadelphia version of St. John’s or Seton Hall.
Those Big 5 schools routinely field proud programs drawing 2k-6k without zillion dollar arenas (Villanova is an exception), zillion dollar coaches, while participating in mid-major conferences.

Can we have a good proud program in a mid-major league with a fun crowd and budget like urban St. Joe’s or Temple or Penn? How do St. Joseph’s and Temple do it? Why do LaSalle and Temple and Penn run programs broadly considered a “success”- and we’re not? Ask questions. Be curious.

The answer ain’t throwing dollars or buildings at the problem. It actually helps here to have neither. They do it the hard way. These schools have spent a generation knowing their League, cultivating mid-priced coaches with real roots, knowing who they are and who wants to play for them. Are you a Philly Catholic school kid with a jump shot? –St. Joes! –are you the same kid from public school with talent a notch below the Big East? -Temple! The last thing St. Joes needs is a giant new arena. The last thing Temple needs is Bob Huggins.

I suggest there is a lesson for Tulane here.

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