It’s funny if you read the Holy Cross board. They despise the Patriot League, and sounds like their alumni would love them to leave. Not sure where they would go, but I guess A10 would be the dream. I realize we are hooked on to Lafayette and Bucknell, but I am not sure we are that comparable with those schools. We are larger, and are a national university, while those 2 schools are more on the smaller academic oriented colleges of the northeast. I would think we do a lot more in the way of research than those institutions.
I guess I am in the minority, but as I get further away from graduation, the sports are more important to me than the academic reputation. Like it or not, Lehigh is cemented in the lower portion of the top 50 national universities. They will stay in the mid to low 30’s irregardless of the sports affiliation, in my opinion. I could care less about the graduation rates of the football team, or the entry level requirements for the basketball team. As an alum, I just want to see a winner, at the highest level. And, the current winning of the programs makes me want to see them step up in competitive level.
I don’t think a move to another, less prestigious academic conference, would really affect the academic standing of Lehigh. Certainly hasn’t hurt Vanderbilt, who is a top notch national university (higher ranked than Lehigh), among the academic mediocrity of the SEC. Hasn’t hurt Duke, who is a top notch national university, among a very mixed academic ACC (strong Virginia and UNC, and not much else). Hasn’t hurt Rice, who is a strong academic national university in the sometimes academically challenged Conference USA (outside of a couple of schools). So, I don’t really buy the “it’s going to hurt the academics if we leave the Patriot League” argument.
At this point, I would rather win a national title in lacrosse or wrestling, than move up a couple of notches on the US News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities. Maybe we can do that in the Patriot League, as wrestling is often Top 10 and lacrosse was this year. But, in basketball, it is obviously, not possible, and in football, we could win an FCS title, but nothing other than that. As we open another football season in September, it is difficult to get too hyped up for a matchup with Monmouth or Central Connecticut State. And, it is tough to get hyped up for Arcadia and Maryland Eastern Shore in hoops.