Re: Boise state news
Posted by Idaho on 4/19/2017, 9:54 pm, in reply to "Re: Boise state news"
Earlier today, I sent the following email to BSU student leaders, BSU leaders, and the state board of education. The embedded links (used to support numbers) are not showing up on this... |
My name is Mike Randles and I am an Idaho resident, a taxpayer, a parent of three, and an Idaho educator of nearly twenty-five years. Yesterday, like so many Idaho wrestling fans, I was shocked to hear of Boise State’s decision to drop wrestling and add baseball. A decision that was made so tightly behind closed doors, so far removed from even the most immediate stakeholders that Boise State wrestling coaches were busy recruiting in the moments leading up to this announcement. Not only was the announcement handled with a lack of professional courtesy and forethought but the decision itself is flawed on too many levels to count.
First, Boise State is a state college and should—by any standard—be a reflection of the community that it inhabits, not the community that schools in Hawaii or Reno or Las Vegas inhabit. Over the last ten years Idaho high school participation numbers in wrestling and baseball have been roughly the same. Some years wrestling has had a few more participants, some years it’s been baseball. In short, participation numbers cannot be used as a factor to justify this decision.
Second, wrestling is a more culturally diverse sport than baseball. Nearly twice as many African Americans participate in NCAA wrestling than NCAA baseball. If Idaho colleges are to consider themselves bastions of cultural diversity, adding an NCAA sport that is comprised of 82% white participants is not a step in the right direction.
Third, the argument that Boise State wrestling is steeped in tradition is an emotional appeal but one that should be considered, nonetheless. Arguably, outside of football no program has been more successful at Boise State than wrestling, producing multiple national team rankings, winning multiple conference championships, and producing multiple NCAA All Americans. In short, Boise has proven itself again and again capable of producing a national-caliber program. Additionally, it should be noted that on the very day the program was cut, the NWCA announced that Boise State wrestling (gpa 3.10) finished as one of the top 30 academic programs in the nation. If potential for success in the classroom and in the arena is a criterion for this decision, this decision fails the test.
Fourth, many people in the community see this as a business decision. Business decisions are predicated on profit. Dropping wrestling and adding baseball is not a profitable decision. Administrators at BSU cleverly noted that wrestling finished the year in the red. Did any other BSU program finish in the red? My guess would be that nearly all of them finished not only in the red, but a much deeper scarlet than BSU wrestling. Because of travel, scholarships, and facilities, baseball is typically far more costly to operate than wrestling. The omission of other program’s financial stability obviously made a false implication regarding the profitability of those programs and a justification for this decision.
So why the decision? Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey spoke to a long-term vision and brand without providing any specifics. Evidently, Idaho residents are not part of that vision or brand. Apsey wants to buy a Mercedes Benz when really there is no practical reason other than to have it parked in front of the house. The Mercedes might offer the house a certain glean, a shimmer…maybe even give an impression of affluence—that all-important Brand! Ultimately, though, it will come at an expense to those living inside the house.
Stakeholders who weren’t invited to the tightly-closed door meeting when this decision was made may want to consider the following:
• Will this decision increase enrollment? No.
• Will this decision save money? No.
• Will this decision eliminate a program that cannot be nationally competitive? No
• Will this decision eliminate a program that has suffered from academic issues? No
• Will this decision eliminate a program that lacks community connections? No
• Will this decision better reflect the Idaho community? No
What then will this decision achieve? A vision and a brand. Wow.
Sorry, Curt Apsey, but Boise State University is a state college. It resides in a state whose climate does not lend itself to baseball. It is great that places like Nevada and Hawaii have those conditions but they are meeting the needs of their geography—not Boise’s. Ultimately, though, if Apsey and Company want baseball than Apsey and Company should accrue those funds necessary to add that sport without having to eliminate a sport. Apsey spoke of how difficult a decision it was to make. That’s the biggest load of garbage to come out of BSU in decades. If Apsey wants to make a difficult decision, than make the decision to keep wrestling, make the decision to secure the funds necessary to support both programs—and a women’s sport (e.g., women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation) if Title IX demands it. That, Boise State, would be a difficult commitment to make. Cutting wrestling for the sake of baseball is the easiest shortcut to take.