Tuesday, March 10, 2015

REJOICE! Bollinger Channels Sheldon Hackney




The good news just keeps rolling in when it comes to Columbia football.

In an interview with the Columbia Spectator yesterday, President Lee Bollinger uttered the following words about football to a University-wide audience that we've been longing to hear from every Columbia president since Eisenhower:

“You cannot have a program, especially one that’s highly visible, that everyone thinks is uncompetitive, that is losing so much. It’s not good for the players, it’s not good for the University, so we really need to overcome that and be supportive.” 

Sure, Bollinger said as much to the football fans at the Rick Taylor event and the introductory news conference for Al Bagnoli last month. But saying this to the Spectator means even more and is eerily similar to the message then-Penn President Sheldon Hackney made in 1982 that I've written about so many times here. And that message is: in the end, winning in football costs a lot less for an Ivy League school than losing. The University's image improves, alumni engagement and donations improve, and more.

Not only has Bollinger backed up this sentiment by doing and spending what was necessary to bring Bagnoli and his new staff here, but it's also significant that he is finally communicating and communicating well with the students and alumni. His message was clear and genuine, (unlike the disingenuous message he made last year in support of Dianne Murphy and Pete Mangurian), and finally answers the question many people ask about why you need a competitive football team at an Ivy school in the first place.

It's important to remember that while Columbia football hasn't won a thing on the field yet, some of the most important off-the-field battles are finally being won. A key part of the administration is getting it.

Finally.



13 comments:

Coach said...

Jake: aside from hiring a football coach, could you expand on the "off the field battles"? Did we get a waiver to continue recruiting or to accept more players in each band- what changes has the administration made or going to make and WHERE IS THE TAYLOR REPORT?

Jake said...

For one thing, the overall staff budget has been boosted big time. And that means Columbia will become the first Ivy school to have a dedicated recruiting coordinator for football. That coordinator will not be an on-the-field coach in any way, recruiting will be his full-time job. This is a big step and something I will delve more into in the coming days.
As far as the Taylor report goes, I don't think it will ever be made public. Most of it will be known and has leaked out in many ways anyway. I suppose I could make a big deal about that, but it won't change anything. Perhaps I will revisit if this good momentum we're seeing with real action from the administration is ever reversed in any way.

Coach said...

A full time recruiting coordinator is great news.
The Dartmouth Taylor report was summarized in detail by the Dartmouth AD and was made public to the alumni- It would be astonishing if the Columbia Football Alumni did not demand to see a report. Jake, you have done your best.

oldlion said...

I can see good reasons to keep it confidential. People may have spoken to Taylor on the understanding that their comments would be kept confidential. Taylor publicly summarized his conclusions at the recent meeting: that should be sufficient onto the day.

Coach said...

It is not being made public, I assume, because it is embarrassing to the school.
Here we go again with more excuses.

alswingman said...

The dirty laundry has been aired too well. Time to move forward.

The results of the exercise are a massively increased budget and a new attitude that hopefully stands the test of time. In exchange, the football fan, alumni community is asked to throw in financial support. Seems a good trade off to get the new era off the ground.

Jake said...

I agree. I'm more interested in the actions of the administration as opposed to the words printed on the Taylor Report pages.

WOF said...

I am most encouraged by Lee making public pronouncement that he wants success. This lets everyone int he admin know that they have to get on board with this.

Coach said...

Jake - it is incredulous that you are not interested in seeing the Taylor report, and that, at the least, a summary is not made to the football alums.

Jake said...

Oh I'd like to see the report, but I think it's unlikely any of us ever will.

Coach said...

Another assistant coach from Penn is coming

Boom Boom said...

If Lee wants to make a huge statement, he should be photographed on the sideline at one of Columbia's early spring football practices.

Coach said...

Bollinger should have dinner with the team the 1st night of spring practice-