Last Friday, Villanova president Father Peter Donohue sent an email out to Villanova students and alumni, updating them on the latest events as they related to Villanova athletics (full text of letter after The Jump). While it was the standard cookie-cutter information we've come to expect from the Office of the President, there was one sentence in particular that got a rise out of me. And in the wake of Temple picking up steam as a legitimate Big East candidate, we just can't afford to walk the path that our president is leading us on.
We will continue looking at all options at the national and conference levels that will enhance our current position as a premier athletic program, including revisiting the possibility of moving our football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.
Think about what that says for a second. We will REVISIT the possibility of moving to FBS football? What is there to revisit? Weren't we prepared months ago to accept the Big East's invitation, only to be told no at the 11th hour? Haven't we been chomping at the bit for the Big East to extend another olive branch?
Judging by Father Peter's letter, it sure doesn't sound like it - and that is very worrisome. If you haven't noticed our Fan Confidence Rating (top left sidebar on the homepage), our confidence is in a nosedive. Sitting by idly hoping for a miracle rarely works, and in an environment where almost every other options is clamoring for an invite, praying is not going to work.
If you've been following TNB for the past few weeks, you know that myself along with the members of our community have called for Villanova to announce it's desire publicly to move up once again. Let the conference know we're anxious and ready to help solve their problem of finding viable football programs to stabilize the conference.
Instead, we're still only thinking about it while our crosstown rivals are grinning ear to ear at our ineptitude. As Temple football continues to increase their profile and is gaining traction with the media, we're nowhere to be found.
Donohue is not only risking his own legacy with this course of action, but the future of Villanova University as well.Jay Wright restored the basketball program to national prominence, in turn increasing Villanova's national profile. Our football team is coming off some of the best years in the program's history. The head coach wants to move up. The players want to move up. The students want to move up. The alumni want to move up. Everyone is fully behind this, except for the administration it appears.
I don't want to pretend to know Donohue's master plan - but I'm personally becoming increasingly worried that he DOES NOT want this for Villanova. It is starting to feel like he wants to do just enough to say he tried, but it was out of his hands.
Prove me wrong Father - make the full commitment to football that is needed to secure the future of this University.
As mentioned above, full letter is after The Jump.
Letter from Father Peter Donohue:
As many of you know, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University announced last week that they will join the Atlantic Coast Conference. The announcement caused a jolt nationwide and what ensued was a week of rumors and speculation about how the major conferences might expand and realign. As a long-standing member of the Big East Conference, we are fully aware of the impact this had on the ever changing landscape of college athletics.
Throughout this week, I have been actively engaged in efforts to ensure that Villanova is positioned to move forward aggressively and strategically. I have had numerous conversations with my colleagues around the country and continue to work proactively with the other Big East presidents. My singular goal is to protect Villanova’s national reputation both athletically and academically.
We are committed to the Big East and to its long-standing tradition of success. I want to assure you that Villanova will never waiver from its pursuit of excellence both in the classroom and in competition. We will continue looking at all options at the national and conference levels that will enhance our current position as a premier athletic program, including revisiting the possibility of moving our football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.
I am confident that no matter how the conferences align, Villanova’s tradition of both academic and athletic success will continue for years to come.
Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.