Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Championships and Building BC

A lot of the other sports blogs have gone into the details about Jerry York's latest national championship.  I love watching hockey, but simply don't know enough about it to write intelligently about the ins and outs of the game.  I'm incredibly happy for Jerry York, for the guys who worked so hard throughout the year to bring this championship home, and most of all for the university.  Championships like this remind us why college athletics is a worthwhile pursuit for mission-oriented universities such as BC, and help our alma mater build a brighter future.

College hockey will probably never get the exposure that its football and basketball counterparts receive, but don't underestimate the huge publicity that BC is receiving because of its latest championship.  I was checking into the airport in Austin yesterday and the attendant behind the counter saw my BC hat and congratulated me on the win and Texas isn't exactly a hotbed of college hockey fans.  Grantland did a fantastic feature on Jerry York and the Frozen Four in general, and obviously there was the TV coverage of the event nationally as well as pretty extensive local coverage.

All of this PR will help the university attract more applications, and hopefully help achieve a more competitive incoming freshman class.  I'm not pretending that college hockey is on the same level as basketball or football (in fact, this win will likely not help BC as much as Matt Ryan did in 2007), and I am not saying that high school kids are going to flock to BC simply because of the hockey team.  But what exposure like this can do is get high school students to think about BC, and to pick up the computer and see what resources BC can open to its students.  Hockey might be just a minor factor in deciding where to apply at the end of the day, but anything that gives the university an opportunity to make its sales pitch to students will ultimately help the university in the long run.

Again, I'm not saying that hockey is the only reason for this, but look at our enrollment statistics from Minnesota, the heart of hockey country; 1980-27, 1985-38, 1990-77, 1995-71, 2000-110, 2005-116, 2010-151, 2011-154.  There is definitely a jump between 2005 and 2010 that can't be totally ignored.  

The exposure the team has been receiving is even more sweet given the class that Jerry York and the program have shown over the years.  We're not just going to attract kids who watch to watch great hockey similar to what Kentucky is doing with basketball.  We're also attracting kids who want to go to a high-character institution, a place where character is on display from the top down.  How many college dynasties don't end in scandal these days?  The final chapter isn't written on the York dynasty yet, but I'd be willing to bet that it ends with him gracefully riding off into the sunset, double windsor knot intact.

If you have time:  What first attracted you to Boston College?  
And for those not in the Massachusetts-New York area:  How did you first hear about Boston College?


  1. Great article! im a current freshman. what first attracted me to BC was that it was super balanced. From what I knew of it, everybody balanced their lives out between academics, athletics, and their social life (ill add spiritual life in there as well). I was right- BC doesn't lean too heavily on any one of those things. now that I'm here, I'm wishing that people were more into athletics

    i first heard about BC when i was 11. my brother had jaw problems and the specialist was at MGH, so my family came along. i loved boston and my parents told me that BC was in the area, so I've wanted to go here ever since. matt ryan came pretty soon after that, and then I was hooked.

    sports play a big role on campuses. i wish the BC students were more passionate about the teams- it'd make our college experience a whole lot better. love BC, i always will. I'm actually writing a paper for first year writing seminar about how to boost student support- could i send it to you guys at ATR after its done?

  2. I am an incoming freshman and i've wanted to go to BC my entire life (my dads an alum) Pretty much everything attracted me to BC, but I would've applied here if there wasn't big time sports. There is a facebook group that is for the class of 2016 and sports is a HUGE topic of discussion. When someone who is considering going to BC and another institution, kids use school spirit as a way to sway them. So far, kids have chosen BC over NYU, Villanova, Emory, Wash U, and Yale. We're an long way off from an Alabama or Ohio State in terms of school spirit, but as a school with such academic caliber, I can't really expect much more. Only schools like USC, UCLA, UNC and maybe Duke have more school spirit than us and have similar academics, and those schools are MUCH bigger and don't have a pro sports market like Boston to compete with.

  3. Adam, I agree 100%. UCLA, UNC, and Duke have all fielded better teams as of late than BC too (well, maybe not UCLA). Ive heard so many stories of what it was like to be at BC when Matt Ryan was here and when the basketball team was dominant in the early 00's, and they're all nuts. The school spirit is here, but it'll all come out the most prominently when we have a good football and/or basketball team. I think the level of school spirit BC has is at a great level, considering the New England sports market factor as well as the "we have terrible football and basketball teams" factor. i know that it can be improved with an increase of student involvement in athletics (UGBC, administration, and AD promotion of the teams; spirit groups; etc). school spirit ties a community together

  4. I can remember coming to freshman orientation at BC when I was a soph or jr. They had a meeting in McHugh Forum and the speechs droned on and on. It was hot and most of the upperclasspeople were sleeping when for some reason the band starter playing Hail Alma Mater. All of us jumped up and sang proudly. BC has always had good school spirit - it's something a school has or doesn't have. BC has it - and I think they always will.


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