Thursday, November 8, 2012

Open Letter to Men's Basketball Team

Men's Basketball Team:

Congratulations on beginning another year of ACC basketball.  This is the most excited I have been for a basketball season since 2009.  I am looking forward to seeing the progress you have made, and I have every confidence that this team will continue to represent Boston College extremely well both on and off the court.

In the past several years I have noticed a trend of players leaving the program due to playing time concerns.  This is certainly not unique to Boston College.  Looking at the frequency of transfers over the past few years, it seems likely that at least a few players will consider leaving Boston College within the next two years.  I hope that this unsolicited advice reaches those players before they decide to transfer solely on the basis of playing time.

With few exceptions, your long term interests are best advanced by obtaining a degree from Boston College, regardless of playing time.  Boston College is a near-elite undergraduate institution.  As such, holding a degree from this university opens up a world of post graduation opportunities.  Countless former BC athletes are now enjoying successful careers in a variety of fields, and many have continued their education at highly regarded graduate schools.  A Boston College degree has been integral to the success of these players.  Simply put, many of them would not be as successful as they are today if they held a degree from a lesser school.  Do not sacrifice your long term future for the short term benefit of seeing playing time at a lesser university.

One of the reasons that you are so successful is that you have the innate athleticism to compete at the ACC level.  Another is that you have a work ethic that has capitalized on that athleticism.  You have spent countless hours lifting weights, shooting free throws, and running wind sprints.  You are successful because you have made the conscious decision that basketball is an important part of your life and the time you spend practicing represents that commitment.  Accepting less playing time can often seem like an end to a dream, and in some ways it is.  It also represents an opportunity to refocus on the larger picture of where you are headed in life.

Although basketball has been important to your success thus far, especially considering that it has brought you to Boston College on full scholarship, too much emphasis on the game can be a hindrance at a certain point.  Not every ACC player is cut out to play in the NBA.  Every athletic career eventually ends, and few college players actually earn a living playing basketball.

At some point, you will likely embark on a career that does not involve playing basketball.  At first, you will do so to provide for yourself.  Eventually, you will do so to provide for your family.  This is a daunting task, but an extremely important one.  The decisions you make now, about your college, your major, and your study habits, will directly effect how easy it will be for you to embark on a career that compensates you well and brings you personal satisfaction.  In that respect, you want the best education possible.

I cannot emphasize that last point enough.  The education you get today will effect how easily you can provide for your family years from now.  This is not to say that you can't provide without an elite degree.  Many of us come from backgrounds where our parents did not receive an elite education.  If you come from such a background, ask yourself candidly how your parents' lives would be different if they had an elite degree.

There are better universities out there than Boston College.  If you find that you can receive more playing time at one of them and wish to transfer, I believe that would be a wise decision.  I think it is foolish, however, to transfer to a significantly worse university for a moment in the spotlight.  It simply is not worth it.

Again, this letter is not directed at any one person, but rather is my response to a trend I see with the players.  There is no substitute for an excellent college education.  You should place the highest value on the education you receive at Boston College because it will be the best asset you have when you begin working to provide for a family.  Cherish the education this university provides and realize that basketball is a temporary part of your larger development as a person and a professional.

Good luck this season.

Michael Reer

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