May 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm #5950
VCU has announced a move to the A10 in basketball, leaving the Colonial conference. Would anybody be interested in a Lehigh move to the Colonial in both football and basketball? By my research, a Lehigh move would give the Colonial 12 in both football and basketball. You are clearly taking a step up in competition in both sports. That is a plus. Much better football conference, probably the best in the Bowl Championship series. In basketball, you pick up some better programs as well (GMU). You pick up some regional rivals (Drexel, Delaware, Villanova). Negatives are a drop down in academic standards, with only William and Mary being an academic heavyweight. Another downside is you lose Bucknell and Lafayette as regional rivals in the PL. With Lafayette’s de-emphasis of their sports programs, maybe not a bad thing. But, even with a move to another conference, you could keep the Lehigh-Lafayette football game going. Many other rivals do it around the country.
I would be for it, to move the sports programs forward. I think you would play on a larger stage, generally, with the potential to bring better athletes to the program and increase recognition for the university. It would be sort of a move back to the old ECC, without Lafayette and Bucknell. It would add travel and cost to the athletic program for sure, as you would have to visit Georgia St, UNCW, etc. You would also loose your very loose affiliation with the Ivy league in those cross PL-Ivy games, although that seems to have lessened lately. Interested on what everybody else thinks.May 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm #5951
Not a chance. By the way, last I heard Nova was in big east basketball conference.May 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm #5954
No kidding, but last I heard they play football in the Colonial.May 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm #5956
I don’t see any move like that remotely on the horizon. First I think the Patriot League has been probably the most stable mid-major conference in the country and I like stability. Change has not worked out all that well for Fordham. Second, I think the presidents of the Patriot League schools see themselves as academic institutions first and foremost. Athletics is a means of maintaining academic excellence by getting their name out nationally. It has worked wonderfully this past year. Third, I for one am anxious to find out what effect football scholarships will have as to the Patriot League relevance on a more national scale.
Just my opinion.May 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm #5957
“No kidding, but last I heard they play football in the Colonial”.
Correct, football only, and in the Football Championship Subdivision. CAA is one of the better conferences.
I pride myself as a LU alum, great academics and competitive athletics. CAA is not the place for us unless the PL implodes.May 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm #5958
On a purely sports basis makes some sense but will never happen. We go nowhere w/o Pards and probably BU and Gate.May 16, 2012 at 12:33 am #5963
Despite the obvious sports rivalries, Lehigh, Bucknell, and Lafayette have a relationship academically, athletically, and geographically that began in the early fifties in the old MAC and has evolved into an strong alliance. They are pretty much joined at the hip. Colgate joined this “alliance” in the seventies. Holy Cross a bit later. It would take some sort of sports armageddon for LU, BU, LC to leave for somewhere else without the other two. I’m not as sure about ‘gate & Cross, but I suspect they would feel the same way.
And by the way, does anyone remember the great old MAC football conference? Lehigh, Bucknell, Lafayette, Gettysburg, Delaware (with Tubby), Temple…and a few more….. when beating any Ivy League team or Colgate was quite an upset….
May 16, 2012 at 1:37 am #5965
- This reply was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by jimk72.
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.May 16, 2012 at 2:45 am #5966
I understand and appreciate your position however as an alumnus and sports fan (strictly basketball ?), your perspective is vastly different than that of a University president or trustee member. Duke, which may be the epitome of what you strive for is about twice the size of Lehigh in enrollment with 5 to 6 X the endowment. Vanderbilt and Rice, whose endowments are about 4X Lehigh’s are doormats in bigger conferences. I’m sure that would frustrate you too.
Think about this for a moment, we finished 6th in the nation in FCS football, ahead of all CAA teams, 8th in wrestling, were 7th in lacrosse,made the NCAA tournament and beat Duke in basketball and will out in Norman, OK playing NCAA softball. Lehigh and the Patriot League is making a name for itself. With football schollies, CJ & Co, lacrosse elite status & perhaps the best wrestling recruiting class in the country, the future has never looked brighter for Lehigh athletics.May 16, 2012 at 3:10 am #5967
What you say is true, and, obviously, I am thrilled at the recent run. I really am a follower of basketball, football and, to a lesser extent, lacrosse, although that will pick up now. I would just love a little more, who wouldn’t?
Wrestling seems like the same old story, year after year. We are very solid, in Top 10 or 20, but never seem like a real threat to win a national title. We have 2-3 top notch guys who challenge for an individual title, but, as a team, we are pretty far behind the elite 4-5 schools. I can live with that, of course. It also seems like a sport that the older alumni cling to (pre-’80), but the younger alumni have less of a love for. Nobody ever posts about wrestling on this board, and it is the most successful program at the school.
This basketball run seems like a blip in the school’s history. When CJ leaves, I don’t see us sustaining this. Just like when Queenan and Polaha left, we could be in oblivion for 20 years. Program is on upswing last few years, but I am not sure, we can backfill with enough talent to keep us at the top of the PL with Bucknell. I’m hopeful, but without university support, I think we will have ups and downs.
Football is on a nice run, but I think we benefit greatly from fairly mediocre competition in the PL. If we were in the CAA and had to go up against UNH, Villanova, Towson, Maine on a weekly basis, we are probably a .500 team. We face those teams generally once a year and lose. So, PL is miles behind CAA in football. Football is the real quandary, because they are never leaving FCS, so it is hard to really increase the status.
Again, I’m thrilled at the progress, and realize my desires are far from the President and Board. But, the best thing that has probably ever happened in Lehigh sports was the Duke win. And, it would be nice to see bigger, more important games and wins in the two sports that people care about generally, football and basketball (the traditional revenue sports). If I lived in the Lehigh Valley maybe I would care a little more about baseball and softball. But, I don’t think alumni generally care about the non-revenue sports.
Basketball does seem like the easiest road to national prominence for a school like Lehigh in the revenue sports. We will never rise to the level of the SEC schools in football, but there are a lot of successes in basketball that are not such a stretch. I look at VCU, Butler, Gonzaga, Villanova, St. Joe’s, etc. as models that Lehigh basketball could take with a move up in class.
May 16, 2012 at 3:26 am #5968
- This reply was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by lehigh90.
Lehigh basketball played St. John’s, Michigan State and Iowa State and of course Duke this past season. I believe it was posted that Baylor and Pitt are likely on the schedule for next season. Yes, there will be a token Arcadia but I see the scheduling improving. None of these schools however will ever return the visit though, since they all pretty much require the type of money that could only be supported with a 10,000 seat facility and the fannies to fill it. The rules are so much different for basketball.
Priority #1 this year is filling the stand…from a student, alumni and local fan base perspective. BTW, as I understand it, Coach Reed’s in-box is full. The biggest hurdle is the academics to get admitted.May 16, 2012 at 3:38 am #5970
I hope you are right. But, last year’s schedule, for the most part, outside the guarantee games you mention was terrible, as outlined many times in other discussions. We all know that Lehigh scheduling will be difficult, but Bucknell manages to play a good schedule year after year and they certainly had NCAA success. Their arena is smaller than Stabler. And, they just got a 2-1 Penn State deal. No more excuses for the AD when it comes to basketball scheduling. If you move the basketball to a better place (A10, I know it is a pipe dream), then you can’t play the 300+ puffs we love to schedule. And, if you put Lehigh in an elite football conference, then you get solid conference games, and you are the puff for a couple of D1 FBS teams. Look at a school like Wofford or Georgia Southern, who Lehigh competes with now in football nationally at the 1AA level. They have a game or two vs teams like Clemson or Georgia. Far cry from Monmouth and Central Connecticut State.May 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm #5975
I thought I would sleep on this and perhaps my mind would change but the word FORDHAM kept flickering through my nightmare. I believe they had the same aspirations a few years ago as you do now. They acted on it and now I believe they are in some kind of football limbo and the program is in decline. They joined the A-10 in all other sports and yes, the get bi-ennial visits from Xavier, St. Joes and until recently Temple but they are absolute bottom feeders there with virtually no chance in the near future of ever having the types of moments we are enjoying this year.
Bucknell’s following is something we need to aspire to. However, there is almost nothing else to do in Lewisburg during the winter and they have had NCAA success. Question: Did Bucknell’s scheduling and following change radically after their wins over Kansas and then Arkansas? I seem to remember the Zoo Crew of Lafayette being the paragon of student involvement before then.May 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm #5977
Wofford also played High Point University, UVA-Wise and Emory and Henry. Grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.May 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm #5979
I anyone is attending the class reunion on friday or at least will be in the area, you may want to check out this discussion:
2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
“Lehigh Athletics on the National Stage”
Presented by Joe Sterrett ’76, The Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics
Diamond Theater, Zoellner Arts Center
It’s been a banner year for Lehigh Athletics! The football, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, and softball teams all won Patriot League titles. Eight wrestlers competed in the NCAA Championships, four of whom earned All-American status. Lehigh continued its dominance over Lafayette, going 26-7 across all sports, and yeah, Lehigh beat Duke! Get an update from Joe Sterrett and hear how Lehigh will continue to compete on the national stage.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.