Columnists, NCAA, Sports

McCARTHY: BC’s moves indicative of a desperate school, not a power player

Quick! Everyone review your human sacrifice manuals and prepare your houses for air assault via locust. I’m not quite sure what we did to anger good ole Zeus, but apparently the apocalypse is upon us. I mean, what other explanation is there for the fact that our Jesuit brothers down the street are pulling the strings in the latest installment of the never-ending conference realignment saga? 

As a native Bostonian, I’ve built up a pretty heavy tolerance when it comes to the arrogance that tends to seep out of Chestnut Hill. For as long as I can remember, Boston College has had this inexplicable, holier-than-thou approach to . . . well, everything.

We get it. Flutie was the man, and you guys were like six spots higher than us in the U.S. News rankings. Congratulations.

Unfortunately, that Hail Mary fell into Phelan’s arms 27 years ago, and the rest of the country still thinks you’re the most overrated school on the East Coast.

So, please do everyone a favor and stop pretending that BC was your first choice. It’s unbecoming. You can admit that you didn’t get into the University of Notre Dame. There’s no shame in that.

Now, that being said, I can actually understand the cockiness from the students. As unfounded as it may be, it’s part of the college experience. Plus, it’s not entirely their fault that they’ve been brainwashed into believing that they go to Stanford University-East.

However, what I can’t stomach is that same elitist attitude emanating from their athletic director.  As the head of the athletic program and spokesperson for the university, it is Gene DeFilippo’s job to stay grounded. Unfortunately, it appears as if he has lost all touch with reality.

Somewhat lost amongst the reports of Texas Christian University to the Big 12 Conference and a possible Missouri move to the Southeastern Conference, was the emerging back-story regarding the recent expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A few weeks ago, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University announced that they would both be leaving the Big East Conference in favor of the tobacco-filled pastures of the ACC. Given the uncertainty surrounding the lifespan of the Big East, it was a move that was shocking in timing, but not in outcome. At first look, it made sense for all parties involved.

Pitt is a brand name university with solid athletics from top to bottom. Its football program is more than respectable, and the fact that they play their home games at Heinz Field is a nice perk.  It also lays claim to a top-20 basketball program led by up-and-coming coach Jamie Dixon.

The same was true of Syracuse. Undoubtedly an elite academic institution, its location also expands the conference’s reach into the northernmost part of the country. While their football program has been down of late, the tradition is there, and the basketball program is one of the nation’s standard-bearers. It was a slam dunk, so to speak.

However, shortly after the move, the University of Connecticut became unabashedly vocal about what they regarded as a big-time snub. They wanted in too, but apparently the powers-that-be in the ACC did not even extend the offer.

Now, the complaint alone is reason enough to raise an eyebrow. According to conference representatives, there were three criteria that were addressed while considering potential schools for inclusion. These were, in no particular order: football prominence, basketball prominence and a location in the Northeast.

Seeing as how UConn was coming off a Bowl Championship Series bid in football and a national championship in basketball, one would be hard pressed to find a school that was a better fit. In fact, according The Boston Globe, the majority of the ACC came to the same conclusion.

However, it was BC and DeFilippo that put their foot down and black-balled the Huskies.

To anyone with even a passing knowledge of BC’s past record, this shouldn’t come as a shock, but in a pseudo sucker punch to the entire state of Connecticut, DeFilippo does not even attempt to deny it.

“We didn’t want them in,” he said. “It was a matter of turf. We wanted to be the New England team.”

Wow. Apparently they don’t stress sharing at parochial schools.

The ADs at the University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University could practically play a game of three-way catch from their respective campuses, yet the mere thought of a conference foe residing an entire state away is too much for DeFilippo to handle.

Clearly, he feels that the BC holds a significant recruiting advantage in being the only ACC representative in New England. While said stranglehold has brought the program limited success on the field, it is still a luxury that DeFilippo seems vehemently unwilling to give up.

So, once again, and as always, BC finds itself defined by its abundant insecurities. Some things never change.

As a result, UConn may shortly find itself left out in the cold without a home, while BC resides comfortably entrenched in mediocrity.

I always knew that Catholic guilt was a sham.


  1. 6 spots higher in USNW? Try 25. Lets look at average SAT scores BC 1342 NU 1341, BU doesnt report their average SAT of enrolled students anymore, only misleading accepted students. Last year the average SAT score for enrolled students was 1296. Sucks to BU

    • ARROGANCE AT IT’S BEST. bc’s AD back stabbed the Big East schools when he took the money to sneak into the ACC yars ago. Why would he change? This is bc at it”s best!!!!!!!

  2. The way you lash out at BC and denigrate its well-earned academic and athletic standing shows who is the insecure one around here. Your wandering into anti-Catholicism is classy too.

  3. Oh, and its been, what 628 days since BU’s beaten BC in hockey?

  4. Arrogance at it is best what? BC at it is best what? It’s hard to see how the those sentences could make any sense, but that’s no reason to leave off the ends entirely.

    Unrelated: Is Sal Squeglia actually your name? That’s a pretty awesome name.

  5. I loved you in Less than Zero and St Elmo’s Fire but you havent done crap in over 20 years and that includes this craptastic article from a school without a football team.

  6. Why did you delete my comments? They were perfectly reasonable to say in light of your attack on BC. I think someone was rejected from a certain highly regarded area university…..

  7. BU Law is ranked higher than BC Law? Do you believe it!!!?

    So is BU Med, Dental, Public Health, etc. (warning: misleading statistics i.e., BC lacks such schools altogether).

    BU has a world class hospital as well! And an absurd amount of research grants, federal funding, and publications….all of which greatly top those from Boston College. (You can waste your time Googling that if you’re bored).

    Oh wait… we’re only discussing undergraduate studies? Okay: BC, certainly squeaks out a win there. And they are a more selective school. For sure. But come on; neither school is Oxford.

    Enjoy your bachelor’s degrees–in the real world (outside of your gorgeous campus) you’ll find that in most fields they simply aren’t worth too much, from any institution.)

  8. I think the real story is the different roads that BU and BC took in terms of athletics. Back in the late nineties BU did the practical thing and cut football and, I believe, baseball to focus more on the winter sports, hockey and basketball. A new stadium was built, the hockey team won it all in ’09, and the men’s basketball team won their conference tournament a couple of times.

    BC, a great hockey school, joined the ACC to be more competitive in football and basketball. But since the conference move their teams’ results have been rather mixed. The football team started off well for the first few seasons, but they’ve been losing more games the last four seasons. The basketball team started off well, also, but have been inconsistent.

    I think BC’s move to the ACC shows how challenging it is for a school to be good in all three major men’s sports. Personally I think BU had more foresight esp. in these economic times by cutting some of their programs to focus on sports where they can be competitive. BC’s approach was perhaps too ambitious and unfocused. And with Pitt and Syracuse set to join the ACC BC will have an even more challenging time trying to recruit top recruits esp. in basketball.

    • Yeah, except for that time when BC won 3 hockey national titles during the 2000s.

      • Ryan, yes BC is a great hockey school, but has been mostly unsuccessful esp. in recent years in the ACC for football and basketball. My point was that it has and will be difficult for any school to be competitive in all three major mens sports.

  9. Ah, John. Great work. There’s no way to compare BC’s hockey to BU’s ’09 championship…unless you count the two that bracket the ’09 one – both belonging to BC! Or the 9 frozen four appearances over the last 14 years or 3 of the last 4 beanpots or 8 of the last 14 conference tournament championships. And they didn’t even have to cut football to do it!

    I won’t even get into the peanuts that BU hoops and puck bring in compared to what BC football rakes in.

    As far as the article “nothin’s gonna stop us now”, there are some fun misunderstandings about major college sports, academia, and Catholicism…I’ve done more research during a shampoo commercial. Cute little middle school piece.

    • Mannequin, so you do admit you’re a dummy? Yes, BC has a great hockey team. No question about it. My point was that BC’s attempt in being great in all three major mens sports is challenging for any school. BU was realistic about their programs and cut football to focus on programs that had some success-hockey and basketball. BC thought that moving to the ACC would be good for their football and basketball programs, but their teams have largely underachieved. The football team is 1-5 now and another change in coaches is probably in the works. The basketball team looked promising under Al Skinner in their first year in the ACC, but then were very inconsistent, which led to Skinner’s firing. Recruiting-wise for hoops, I don’t know if you’ll ever out-recruit the likes of Duke, UNC, and now, Pitt and Syracuse.

      • Haha, so I’m a “dummy”? Seeing as how facts aren’t your strong suit, you should probably quit while you’re not too far behind. Sure, the football team is 1-5 this season, they were 30-18 in the ACC and 54-25 overall since joining the ACC. Underachieving? Really? Not to mention the tons of revenue football brings in.

        And for hoops a winning record in the ACC 4/6 seasons isn’t some easy feat…especially when comparing it to BU’s occasional America East successes.

        You clearly live in some kind of la-la land from which I hope you at some point awake.

        • Well, the BC football team is now 3-7 and ineligible for a bowl game. It’s a shame b/c folks thought the team would take it to the next level by now. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even get in the Meinieke Car Care Bowl this year.

          ‘And for hoops a winning record in the ACC 4/6 seasons isn’t some easy feat’

          Thanks for proving one of my points that BC was too ambitious in joining the ACC. Good luck out-recruiting schools like UNC and Duke.

          BU basketball are 6-time conference champions and 8-time regular season champs. But again, BU is realistic in that there focus is really on hockey. BC is spreading itself too thin in trying to bel good in three major mens sports.

  10. ok drew, you win, I’ll admit I didn’t get into ND if you admit you didn’t get into BC and we’ll call it even..

  11. Just another limp wristed fanboy with access to a computer. Ha. So lame.

  12. I’m a BU alum and even I can see that this article reeks of an unfortunate inferiority complex.

  13. You wrote an entire article about conference realignment while ignoring TV revenue. Just pointing that out.

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