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Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
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WMSportsBlog Offline
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Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
With significant changes to W&M Athletics, it's fair to ask: is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?

In our most recent post, we explore W&M's ultimate goal of attaining elite academics and elite athletics at the FCS level.

Can it be done? Time will tell.

Article: https://wmsportsblog.com/2020/09/17/is-w...ble-dream/
09-17-2020 03:49 PM
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Zorch Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
Your last line is:

"But one thing is for certain: W&M is headed in a very different direction than it has ever headed in before."

Actually, in my opinion, W&M did head down this path before. In the late '40s and early '50s W&M was a regional football power and had a good basketball team, too. Then a nasty academic scandal hit the athletic department and resulted in numerous resignations (including the school president). W&M has never been the same since. Likewise, we had another chance to enter the big time in the '70s after South Carolina left the ACC but that chance was blown, too. So, I do think that W&M has headed down the path of emphasizing athletics (mainly football and basketball) before.

Also, did you actually almost say that JMU is an elite academic institution? Boy, you must really be whipped. 04-cheers
09-17-2020 04:06 PM
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HyperDuke Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
Big brain energy.
09-17-2020 06:54 PM
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LeadBolt Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
The Villanova model would seem to be pattern we seem to be pursuing on an athletic program.
09-17-2020 07:35 PM
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(09-17-2020 07:35 PM)LeadBolt Wrote:  The Villanova model would seem to be pattern we seem to be pursuing on an athletic program.

Slightly complicated by the lack of pedigree and media revenues. Otherwise it’s only a matter of time.
09-18-2020 05:39 AM
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Tribe32 Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
Don't forget that Villanova cut football in the early 80s.
09-18-2020 05:59 AM
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LeadBolt Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(09-18-2020 05:59 AM)Tribe32 Wrote:  Don't forget that Villanova cut football in the early 80s.

Unfortunately I remember their 2009 team more vividly.
09-18-2020 07:03 AM
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WMSportsBlog Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(09-17-2020 06:54 PM)HyperDuke Wrote:  Big brain energy.

02-13-banana
09-18-2020 12:14 PM
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Florida tribe fan Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(09-17-2020 03:49 PM)WMSportsBlog Wrote:  With significant changes to W&M Athletics, it's fair to ask: is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?

In our most recent post, we explore W&M's ultimate goal of attaining elite academics and elite athletics at the FCS level.

Can it be done? Time will tell.

Article: https://wmsportsblog.com/2020/09/17/is-w...ble-dream/

There is a place where College leadership has managed to elevate the profile of Tribe athletics. If one googles "college athletic budgets" and then clicks on news, "William and Mary eliminates seven sports" has consistently appeared among the top search results since Sep 3.

It was never clear (at least to one fan) how the 2025 vision would transition from aspirational word salad to tangible resources needed to compete successfully year in and year out on the pre-pandemic landscape. The sports reduction announcement laid this bare.

All of us have heard and read the mantra that there are no other schools/college athletic programs like William and Mary, and consequently, finding a better conference fit than the CAA wasn't worth the effort. Guess what, having dropped seven sports, William and Mary is perhaps not the unique athletic program that existed prior to Sep 3.

We should be willing to admit that a big challenge for the College leadership is that it has to determine not only its own resource outlook, but also figure out what competitors/potential competitors will be left standing sponsoring which sports. It's not hard to envision some FCS football programs giving up the ghost, or others downgrading to, for lack of a better description, the Davidson model.

The above challenge notwithstanding, I think it will be a mistake if Tribe athletes, fans and donors are left with a scaled down version of the pre-pandemic vision. When the dust settles I hope Tribe sports land in a league where they can affordably thrive, and generate more fan interest, generational rivalries, and attendance, and larger donations. Anything I understand about the program at this point leaves me a bit like the guy with the sandwich in the Liberty Mutual commercial -- "I don't see it."
09-19-2020 04:15 PM
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wmmii Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
The dream of being the next VCU for MBB and the next ODU for WBB in the state of Virginia is an achievable dream with our renovated Arena and proper allocation of resources to these programs. Also we have the facilities and resources to return to our success of being a National contender in football.

This however should be done in a transparent and honest way.

Our other sports programs should not be held hostage to achieving these criteria and be permitted to survive and prove they can be self sufficient. This criteria for the other sports programs should be based more on our traditional W&M view of success especially for the individual performance sports like swimming plus track and field.
(This post was last modified: 09-21-2020 08:56 AM by wmmii.)
09-20-2020 02:17 PM
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(09-20-2020 02:17 PM)wmmii Wrote:  The dream of being the next VCU for MBB and the next ODU for WBB in the state of Virginia is an achievable dream with our renovated Arena and proper allocation of resources to these programs. Also we have the facilities and resources to return to our success of being a National contender in football.

This however should be done in a transparent and honest way.

Our other sports programs should not be held not be hostage to achieving these criteria to be able to survive and prove they can be self sufficient. The criteria maybe should be based more on our traditional W&M view of success for our remaining programs.

Alex, I’ll take chasing an impossible dream for $200. What is drop football, lower academic standards, increase enrollment to 23,000 to generate higher student activity fees, and magically obtain an invitation into the A10 with its higher media revenues, and Tribe basketball can be the spitting image of VCU men’s basketball?
09-20-2020 08:49 PM
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(09-17-2020 03:49 PM)WMSportsBlog Wrote:  With significant changes to W&M Athletics, it's fair to ask: is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?

In our most recent post, we explore W&M's ultimate goal of attaining elite academics and elite athletics at the FCS level.

Can it be done? Time will tell.

Article: https://wmsportsblog.com/2020/09/17/is-w...ble-dream/

As long as we're dreaming, the one discussed in link has its merits.

https://richmond.com/opinion/columnists/...944f0.html

Pertinent quotes:

"William & Mary follows the predictable pattern of tweaking the budgets without looking at curbing the real cause of the continuing budget issues — the persistent growth of...football and basketball expenses without corresponding revenues or donations."

"While I commend W&M for looking hard at its own specific issues, I can think of no better school to take another approach. With its leadership and reputation, it is the perfect institution to lead a collective effort among a number of similar colleges to dramatically reduce the costs of these programs."

"When each school focuses solely on its situation, it faces the unfortunate choice of a unilateral attack on the problem, when in fact it is a uniform plight impacting many, if not most, of its peer institutions."

"...if an entire conference or consortium of colleges would move in the same direction, everyone would stay on the same playing field. Even with a pared-down program, I believe the wonderful fall days in Cary Stadium still will be filled with loyal alumni and students enjoying football and tailgating."

"Parents would applaud W&M’s serious effort at reining in the ever-increasing costs of attending this great school while still attracting great students and maintaining high levels of alumni financial support."

I've yet to be convinced this the rock was turned over. And I don't think the 2025 arms race strategy will fly at this point.
10-27-2020 07:01 AM
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nj alum Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
This rock has not been turned over, despite the efforts of some of us to get our College “to see the light.”

I agree with the opinion piece.

Thanks for posting!
10-27-2020 07:19 AM
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Tribe2011 Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
It's a valid overall point for the school, albeit one I'm not sure I agree with. But if we're doing that, we should go D3 and cut athletic costs everywhere across the board. The worst possible thing we could do is take a middle ground approach that has both the downsides of elevated spending AND lack of success. There's no point in fielding D1 basketball and football teams if we're going to doom them to irrelevancy with barebones funding (largely what we did with our basketball program for decades until we got lucky with Shaver).
10-27-2020 08:42 AM
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mrjoolius Online
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Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
Interesting podcast featuring former Tribe S&C coach Keir Winham-Flatt. It is a strength coach pod, but the topic is "systemic issues within sports performance and collegiate athletics." W&M isn't cited, but it is exactly who Keir is talking about. Points to the short coming of half-assed supporting sports programs.

"If athletic departments were truly serious about winning championships, they would only have 14 sports (NCAA minimum) and put all of their resources into those teams"

https://www.sprint-jump-throw.com/sjtper...dcast.html
(This post was last modified: 10-27-2020 09:22 AM by mrjoolius.)
10-27-2020 09:18 AM
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nj alum Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
Now wait a minute.

He’s talking about “truly serious about winning championships.”

In 1979, Millie West was talking about going to W&M for academics, and staying away from scholarships.

I would venture to say that the second sentence is the minority view among the Tribe faithful, and that the third sentence is the majority view among the Tribe faithful.

The more the minority pushes for the championship standard (with the accompanying reduction in sports offerings), the more the majority will consider D-3.

I think W&M wants to compete at D-1, but the cost of competing at a championship D-1 level is too high.
(This post was last modified: 10-27-2020 09:36 AM by nj alum.)
10-27-2020 09:33 AM
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Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
If the goal is really to offer as many club sports as possible as varsity offerings, than we might as well go D3. Is that really what the majority favors? I always envisioned our peers as academic minded D1 universities. Is our goal to stick to D1 and fund sports that none of our peer schools emphasize and short change the banner sports that all of our peers focus on? Is the goal to merely get our yearly D1 participation trophy? How is that desirable? I don't want the win at all costs model, but if we aren't consistently pushing to out compete our peers, why bother competing?
10-27-2020 09:50 AM
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(10-27-2020 09:33 AM)nj alum Wrote:  I think W&M wants to compete at D-1, but the cost of competing at a championship D-1 level is too high.

Well said NJ. I think something that needs to be mentioned is that there is value to being a "just ok" D-1 school. We'd still get to play (and probably lose more than we win) against our "peer" schools. And that's ok! Championships should always be the goal of every team, every season. But as an institution our goal should be to maximize meaningful competitions against like school across sports offerings.
10-27-2020 10:00 AM
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Blow Gym rat Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
I never thought I would see these words emerge from my keyboard, and I resist this idea with every fiber of my being, but maybe the Patriot League is the answer.

D-3 is not, IMHO.
10-27-2020 10:11 AM
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WMTribe90 Offline
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RE: Is W&M Chasing an Impossible Dream?
(10-27-2020 09:50 AM)mrjoolius Wrote:  If the goal is really to offer as many club sports as possible as varsity offerings, than we might as well go D3. Is that really what the majority favors? I always envisioned our peers as academic minded D1 universities. Is our goal to stick to D1 and fund sports that none of our peer schools emphasize and short change the banner sports that all of our peers focus on? Is the goal to merely get our yearly D1 participation trophy? How is that desirable? I don't want the win at all costs model, but if we aren't consistently pushing to out compete our peers, why bother competing?

I did not win a national championship when I was at W&M. My sport was bottom half of the conference in terms of facilities and spending. I lost quality coaches to bigger paychecks. We did win a conference championship and make the playoffs. However, I never considered anything less than a national title, as settling for a DI participation trophy. I think those in favor of focusing on the revenue sports to try to make them “nationally relevant” are well-intentioned, but not looking at this from the vantage point of the student athletes and what’s best for them. Is it really in the best interest of our student athletes to cast off of 118 of them, so we might win a couple more football games a year. Would winning an FCS title really do that much for a College like W&M, whose brand is based on its rich history and academic standing? A better argument can be made for basketball ROI, but even then we could spend millions more on basketball, but still not attract a top tier coach or recruits and have roughly the same odds of winning a one-bid CAA as we do now and at what cost to all the other sports? So yes, to me, the promise of W&M is not how many championships we might win to bring glory to the College and its alums, the promise of W&M was the opportunity to compete at the DI level and test your limits at a high academic school that valued both sides of the student athlete equation equally. Producing top notch, balanced human beings is the end game. No one is advocating going bare bones, but we had a sustainable balance that served us well for decades. Driscoll gets a lot of flack because change was slow under his watch. Staff was treated as much as family as employees to be fired at the drop of a hat. Maybe there was wisdom there that should have been more appreciated in hindsight. I think Driscoll recognized the inherent value of athletics and its mission at the College. There was progress on a number of fronts, if the pace was slow, it was at least sustainable and he kept the ship afloat. We lost our way under Huge and the student athletes (all of them) are now paying the price.
(This post was last modified: 10-27-2020 11:21 AM by WMTribe90.)
10-27-2020 11:18 AM
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