No, I don't think so. I'm certainly interested in the long view also. I've been a Virginia Tech sports fan of some sort for about 35 years now. Aggressively so for almost 30 years. Got two degrees at Tech specifically to facilitate my pre-existing sports fandom and relationship to Blacksburg. (My dad went to school at Tech; my mom's whole family is from Blacksburg.) This is a life-long interest for me. I would prefer 20 years of "really good" to 1 or 2 years of "brilliant" followed by 20 years of "mediocre to terrible."
Originally Posted by Buy These!
It's not that I don't care if we break the bank because I need my winning fix right now and don't care what happens afterward. It's that I'm not convinced there's a meaningfully strong relationship between an athletic department's debt load and its ability to survive and/or flourish. Maryland and Tennessee are collectively about a trillion dollars in debt, but: a) that didn't stop Maryland from recently joining the most important and recognizable college athletic conference (give or take the Ivy League) and b) the biggest problems that Tennessee has right now are that they are still recovering from a couple of bad hires (Kiffin and Dooley) and aren't selling out Neyland Stadium anymore. If Butch Jones gets them winning again, nobody is going to care about the credit rating of the UT athletic department. There are terrible athletic departments in the red and terrible ones in the black. There are also excellent ones in the red and excellent ones in the black. (Maybe instead of "terrible" and "excellent" I should use the words "unenviable" and "enviable.")
I want Virginia Tech sports to be successful in the future also. I just don't define that success by the balance sheet. That doesn't make me "right." It just makes me a sports fan. If your actual day job involves intercollegiate athletics, then you're going to have a totally different perspective. Success takes on a different meaning and you experience it in a different context. It's a job and you have to care about the same kind of minutiae that other people have to care about at their jobs. You understand things that other people don't about the complexity of the world in which you work.
So, to circle back to whatever the point was more or less...do I expect Jim Weaver to lure Tom Izzo from Michigan State? No. Do I judge him a failure for not doing so? No. Am I disappointed that we hired a DOBO from a high school gig? No. Categorically, no. I couldn't care less about that. My expectations are, actually, really quite reasonable. (I can't emphasize this enough. From a stereotypical "sports fan" standpoint, my expectations are insanely reasonable. All I really want is to just not be tortured.) That said, I don't need to hear that we can't spend money on men's basketball because we're managing debt or we're still paying the last guy or Steger's dropping the budget hammer or this, that, or the other thing even if all of those things are true.
I don't have to care about any of that. It's not in my job description as a fan. My job is to care irrationally about the teams, go to the games, and provide financial support to the greatest extent that I can justify. From a fan's perspective, the fact that the athletic department is run in a fiscally sound fashion is a terrible trade-off for being a non-factor in men's basketball for an entire generation. Occasionally going to NCAA tournaments is, like, 50% of the point of being a college sports fan. Taking that off the table as even a possibility is just aggressively anti-fan. It might be different if we weren't being actively encouraged to consider our relationship with Virginia Tech sports to be essentially a business transaction. There was a time that I would happily give the benefit of the doubt because, you know, we're all in this together, we're all Hokies, blah blah blah. But over the last couple of years we're now just being brazenly trolled by the athletic department with respect to men's basketball, and I am not remotely interested in JLARC or the role that student athletic fees play in any of this. I understand that there's no fixing it under the current regime, but I don't want to hear justifications for why we are where we are now. All there is to do now is just wait for the circus to leave town so we can start over.