Conference expansion is coming, whether Villanova is ready or not.

Father Peter Donahue, the university president, recently shared a list of considerations with a Philadelphia blogger about many issues involved in considering whether to join the Big East as a ninth football member.

Quite complex, moving up from Football Championship Subdivision to Football Bowl Subdivision status. Getting an academic community to agree on anything is a major challenge. Convincing alumni and other benefactors to fork over additional millions even more so.

Impacted by a decision to move up:

  • Present strategic plan
  • Academic programming and the ratio of athletic spending to academic spending
  • Positive or negative effect on national exposure
  • Effect on the basketball program
  • The need to upgrade playing and practice facilities
  • Financial issues:
    • Endowment in comparison to many who participate in the FBS
    • The increased cost of salaries and personnel
    • The necessary upgrade of women’s sports due to Title IX requirements
    • Potential expenditures and revenues

The process of developing a strategic plan requires months. Attempting to insert a major football program in that plan is like starting all over, likely requiring the sacrifice of other long-standing and cherished university  goals and aspirations for a long while.

Then there’s the Philadelphia community with all of its competing interests in sports, academia, philanthropic resources, as well as political considerations.

Arriving at a consensus on a football upgrade by spring will be nothing short of miraculous.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

4 thoughts on “Football decision mega challenge for Villanova community”
  1. Sounds like a 50-50 proposition to me unless they have Lilly Foundation in town that’s not committed to all of the other universities in Philadelphia. Maybe since they’re doing this so publicly, they’ve already decided they will take the step. If not, they are risking huge embarrassment.

  2. Hey, they’ve announced they want to go D1. Either fish or cut bait, Wildcats. ECU and TCU…that’s the ticket if you guys can step up to the plate.

    1. Why spend time looking at all of the issues involved? Just plunge head first into a decision without all the facts. That makes a whole lot of sense. (Sarcasm)

  3. Jumping to the FBS level is hard enough. Going straight to the BCS level is impossible. I am not aware of any program that has taken such a leap. Can’t understand why a small private school with no football tradition, a strong academic and religious environment, a small fan base, located in an area with a general indifference to college sports is seen by the Big East as the perfect candidate to make such a daunting jump. Do not see Villanova ever being competitive at the BCS level. It would be just another drain on the Big East and erode the national image of the league even more. I hope they decline the invitation.

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