In my four years at Binghamton University, I’ve watched a mountain of athletic scandals and shortcomings unfold. It has been a crying shame for both the University and for Bearcat nation.
The athletic department certainly has to get its act together, but students also need to be more patient about our faltering program. It pains me to say that, but we don’t really have much of a choice.
First of all, when things get bad, kids need to stop saying we should just get a football team. It would be really, really cool, but also really, really stupid. The majority of college football programs are not profitable, even when they are finally established, and doing so takes a ton of resources. Football does not belong here.
Secondly, when teams suck, students should still go to games more than they do (and not just the basketball games). I mean, if all else fails, get hammered and go nuts. At least it’ll be interesting. Support your fellow students; you have no idea how much time and effort they put into what they do, even if they don’t win much. That’s how a program starts the rebuilding process.
The tough thing about rebuilding an athletic reputation is that it takes time. Just give these guys a chance. They deserve to be criticized when they do wrong (I have done so quite a few times in my days at Pipe Dream), but do you give equal praise when they do something good? The program is headed in a new direction under new athletic director Patrick Elliott, just as the University is headed in a new direction under new President Harvey Stenger.
During a recent meeting, Stenger and I discussed the athletic messes of the past and present. He asked me what I would do if I was him, and that was a hell of a loaded question. I emphasized the importance of the relationship between Stenger and Elliott and how everyone needs to be on the same page at all times, and that page had better be the right one.
In the men’s basketball mess, the shameful resignations of former President Lois DeFleur and former AD Joel Thirer illustrate a tremendous failure to ascend in the right way, which allowed former head coach Kevin Broadus to have free reign. Those individuals are no longer with the program, but Broadus still gets paid a pretty penny by this school for doing absolutely nothing.
Former head coach Mark Macon was a victim of this. I had my doubts when it came to his coaching abilities, but it was his first coaching gig, so I thought he deserved a little time before I passed judgment. Revamping a program usually involves cleaning house. But Macon inherited these problems and didn’t deserve what he got.
I guess the fact that I’m from Buffalo makes me predisposed to support teams that frequently suck, so I’m used to long-suffering athletic programs. But just let these guys do their thing. I believe that the program will get back to doing things the right way, and in several years that will pay dividends.
On a completely different note, I want to thank all of the Pipe Dream staff I’ve worked with throughout these four years. And my RA friends, I love you to death. Remember that you always have a voice, even though the system is designed against you. Everyone else I’ve had the pleasure of befriending, from Rotary to 420, you’re all amazing.
This has been the best four years of my life. From the first moment I stepped on this campus, I knew this was where I wanted to be, and now the last thing in the world I want to do is leave.
But now I’m off to law school, and I’m going to miss a lot of things and people here, Pipe Dream among them. I’m going to miss writing articles, sitting courtside at basketball games and seeing practically every Pipe Dream staffer shwasted in Tom & Marty’s every single weekend because production nights were always so damn brutal.
Above all, thank you for reading. It means a lot to me when I see students all over Lecture Hall with their heads buried in this publication. I appreciate you all reading what I have to say and I’m honored that I’ve been able to do it for so long.