February 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm #18481
Speaking of promotion, this was the halftime show last night (hi-light reel)February 17, 2015 at 8:38 pm #18574
Rich’s comment about upgrades to Stabler potentially being in the planning stages got me thinking about what would help the fan experience, and maybe increase interest amongst both students and local fans. I found the picture below of the UNCW arena that was renovated in 2012 and features a similar square layout to Stabler (no seats in the corners). A few things that jump out at me are the sideline seats that go all the way down to the floor, and obviously the shiny new video board. Could be a nice template. I think the capacity at Stabler is just too big for Lehigh hoops, so I would be all for removing seats and using the excess space for other purposes.February 17, 2015 at 9:28 pm #18575
I don’t really see a lot of upside for Lehigh football. PL football is not very good. And, even if you win the PL and get a bid into the FCS tournament, you are playing schools 6x bigger than you, and it is nearly impossible to compete. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled when Lehigh football does well, but I don’t see the potential like I do in basketball. PL will never be near the top echelon of FCS football. Wrestling and lacrosse are doing well, forever for wrestling and recently for lax, but those are not prime time college sports, much more of a niche product. That is why I think basketball has the most potential of all of the Lehigh sports. You only need a few studs to build a big program and you can do it at a small school. You can’t do that in football, unless you are Notre Dame, and we don’t have that tradition.
You seem to be trying to shovel dirt onto PL football at the exact moment when we should be seeing the benefits of offering merit-based aid for football recruits. The incoming class will be only Lehigh’s third merit-based aid group, with a chance to see real benefits down the line. Also, did you see Fordham last season? Had Nebrich stayed healthy they would have absolutely had a chance to make a run at the FCS National Championship. They were a Top 15 team all season.
Lehigh isn’t trying to be Notre Dame, nor should it. They should be Lehigh, beating up on their peers in the PL, having the ability to travel to Penn State, Rutgers, or Wake Forest to test themselves against P5 schools, and getting the opportunity to test themselves against the Delaware’s, Richmond’s, and North Dakota State’s of their FCS subdivision.February 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm #18576
QUOTE: “And, finally, I think the administration is very short-sited in this area. If Lehigh had a big time basketball program it would drive applications and admissions to the moon. It has been proven time and time again how athletics and notoriety can drive interest in the school and applications. Flutie put BC on the map, and now BC is in the echelon of Georgetown and Notre Dame, when they used to be more like a Villanova or Providence.
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I hope Eric will see this thread and respond. On the HC board, He has pointed out a number of studies and stats that show much of the above is simply not true. Applications may go up for a year or two after some unusual success – but any increase largely comes from students who are not qualified for admission anyway.
As for the so-called Flutie effect, both Boston U and Northeastern saw bigger gains (applications, SAT scores, etc) over the decade after Flutie than did BC. So it was more about Boston becoming a hot spot for prospective students than about Flutie giving BC some football wins.February 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm #18577
Read some of those. Overall probably true. For PL,I think the dynamic is quite different. Success may only result in temporary increases in applications.That however is not the true measure for us. National exposure,in all sports,but specificall Bball,creates more name recognition nationally. Both for students and athletes. Name recognition both academically and athletically is essential for PL improvement.February 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm #18578
Personally, I love the status of Lehigh sports and I’m even more ecstatic about the direction we are heading. Butler and Gonzaga have equivalent enrollments to Lehigh and yet both colleges have an acceptance rate of about 66% while Lehigh is around 31%. That’s right Lehigh is a prestigious and selective University and I want it to stay that way. The same can be said about much of the Patriot League. Neither Butler nor Gonzaga has a football team. In fact they only support 16 and 17 sports respectively while Lehigh, Lafayette, Bucknell, Colgate etc are all around 23.
What I really like though is that the quality of the student/athlete keeps getting better. Talk to the young men and women who represent Lehigh and you will be highly impressed. Two years ago, we won 6 Patriot League Championships. I’m hearing the word “steal” over and over again when describing the athletes we are getting. Our wrestling team continues to be around the Top 10 in the country. Lacrosse is in the Top 20. We beat Duke, DePaul and Arizona St. in basketball. We have represntatives in the NFL, NBA, MLB and the MLL. We have a *** QB coming here next year and 2 *** in basketball. All of our tennis recruits this year are ****. There are numerous **** in our soccer class. Our softball team is a dynasty. Swimming and track are continuously setting new records.
Butler and Gonzaga should not be a role model for us. We should be a role model for them.February 17, 2015 at 11:19 pm #18579
+1 Just perfect.February 18, 2015 at 2:46 am #18580
Lehigh’s had some very good or fun basketball teams over the years. But no way they’ll ever pack Stabler with the facility in the Valley. This has been going on for about 35 years. What’s that they say about insanity?
Too hard to get to Stabler, especially with more kids living off campus; weather’s awful this time of year. Bucknell’s facility is awesome and in perfect spot — and it looks like they get about 3k per game. Lehigh’s getting about 1,800.February 18, 2015 at 3:13 am #18581
Although the location on campus is certainly a factor for Bucknell, I’m not sure it is the only one. I have only attended one game at the Sojka Pavilion and the place was filled but the student section was not drastically bigger than a Lehigh Patriot League game. The bigger difference was in the locals. They seemed to have a significant following from the town. Does anyone know how many Bucknell games are televised locally? Why do I think that virtually all of the Lehigh home games are on Service Electric? Are there a lot of entertainment alternatives in Lewisburg? Between Steel Stacks, Zoellner, State Theater, PPL Center, Phantoms hockey etc. and even Lehigh wrestling, the entertainment options are almost limitless in the LV. Has live streaming kept people home?February 18, 2015 at 3:54 am #18582
I actually think that if you want an analogy think basketball is to Bucknell what wrestling is to Lehigh. Both have their venue right in the middle of campus. Both attract an impressive crowd to their events. But if you go into Grace Hall, you will have a difficult time finding students. There is however a big attraction for alumni and wrestling fans in the Lehigh Valley. Just a thought.February 18, 2015 at 10:49 am #18584
I was raised in Milton, just across the river from Lewisburg. Great place to grow up in the sixties. My dad was a Bucknell alum and took us to a number of games at old Davis gym. Particularly the annual Penn State visit. They played home and home every year in those days. Thus my very early distaste for Penn State. I can tell you for sure one thing that hasn’t changed in 50 years; there is absolutely nothing to do entertainment wise in the Milton-Lewisburg area on a Wednesday night or a Saturday in the winter. Or most weekends year round for that matter. Harrisburg is an hour, State College is a good 45 minutes. And now most of the local theaters have closed over the years. Bucknell home games are a local event because they have a long winning tradition and they are about the only “big time” entertainment for miles around.February 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm #18585
Bucknell home games are a local event because they have a long winning tradition…
I remain convinced that this is the big one. I realize that this is only anecdotal, but I saw and felt a significant change while at LU. When I got there, we were at the tail end of the P&Q era. There was excitement about basketball. Guys in my house road-tripped to the ECC tourney – in Baltimore, if I remember correctly. It was not the same, even by the time I left. The end of the ECC certainly had an impact; felt like we were in no-man’s-land for a while there. But the hoops definitely dropped off too, crashing soon thereafter.
There are some things that are very hard to study or quantify, and I think this is one. And I’m a data analytics guy by career. I don’t think you can measure name recognition, or identify the factors that lead to spikes in applicants. Too many intangible variables. What lead a kid to pick Lehigh, or any other school? Who knows? But selling the brand ain’t gonna hurt, for sure. Starts with success, IMO. Easton Junior College does better, especially relative to enrollment, in the same general market. Again, because of a hoops tradition, I believe.February 18, 2015 at 5:45 pm #18588
Guys in my house road-tripped to the ECC tourney – in Baltimore, if I remember correctly. It was not the same, even by the time I left. The end of the ECC certainly had an impact; felt like we were in no-man’s-land for a while there. But the hoops definitely dropped off too, crashing soon thereafter.
I went to that ECC tourney at Towson on a weekend in 1991, too, beating Lafayette on a buzzer-beater and beating Bucknell (I think) resoundingly in the next round. Then I convinced a vanload of friends to go to the championship game on a Wednesday, perhaps skipping a few classes to do so, against Towson. Good times.
Two years later I went up to Christl arena to watch Lehigh lose in the first round to Navy. Not quite the same level of excitement. I think a huge part of the problem were the early PIG games. In 1992 Fordham won the PL and was rewarded by being sent on the road to St. Francis (PA) a few days later. It was a crappy way to end a season, and it seemed like the PL was going to be the last team in most years, without hoops scholarships.
Schollies changed everything. They set up Bucknell’s and Lehigh’s first-round shockers and have given the whole league a huge competitive boost. PL schools are no longer easy wins across the board. Holy Cross is a middle-of-the-pack team but beat Harvard.
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