EDITORIAL: Pennies on pigskin

Editorial Board

Just a look around the Oreo between classes will tell you that Villanova is a sports school. Blue and gray hoodies abound, proudly bearing team names, from men’s soccer to women’s water polo. Villanova supports 22 men’s and women’s sports, most at the highest level of competition, lest one glaring example: football. Whereas most universities around the nation pride their shimmering stadiums and pigskin traditions, let’s be honest – we’re more of a basketball school.

However, as not to enrage Coach Talley and the boys, football is an expensive sport, and Villanova does not put up the money for the highest level of football. Athletics at the college level is a business, and we have chosen to invest elsewhere. Despite this, the team has experienced great success this season and is off and running toward this year’s playoffs for the first time since 2002. Though our first game will occur over Thanksgiving break and without the roar of the student section, this season has demonstrated that students will come out in droves to support a successful team. The well-publicized homecoming game against James Madison University drew an unprecedented crowd, even during a torrential downpour. There is a distinct potential for Villanova football, especially with such a young team, to do well in coming years. The question is: Will the University invest?

For some schools, expensive football programs can unite the student body and send its admissions numbers and its donations soaring. In addition, schools with winning football teams tend to attract more male applicants. At Villanova, there is an obvious imbalance between the sexes, so a better football program may help to even out the trend.

On the other hand, with the Campus Master Plan in place to revamp facilities and residence halls, the money could be better spent in the classroom or on financial aid. Investing in a football program does not mean that they will win, either. Coaches’ salaries would need a hike, too. Some university football coaches make more than the university presidents. In short, a more expensive team could be a big drain on Villanova’s budget.

So where will our money be best spent? It’s up to the administration to decide whether Villanova’s true ascent to the national stage will take place through academics, facilities, athletics, or all of the above. Once the economy makes a turnaround and the University spending freeze is lifted, there will be some decisions to make. While improving the football program is just one option, it is one that the University should give significant consideration.