The company you keep

They are up in arms in Richmond, were boosters and alums are evidently not eager for the Spiders to move their football affiliation to the Patriot League.

According to today's Times Dispatch:
Sources said that studies conducted by UR reflect no significant financial savings to the school if it chooses non-scholarship football. Rather than paying for 63 athletic grants-in-aid, UR would be paying roughly the same amount for players to attend school on need-based financial aid.

Operational costs wouldn't appreciably rise or fall. Academic requirements of players would remain static. The major motivation for a downgrade to non-scholarship football, according to a source at the school, is that UR would "rather be affiliated with Colgate, Bucknell, Holy Cross and Lafayette than larger public institutions' in a scholarship league."
That is interesting in a couple ways.

First, it might give those Holy Cross folks who want to leave the league some insight into the minds of college president types, who worry more about the overall reputation and image of a school than the athletic programs.

Second, if those studies are true, does that mean the reverse scenario-- Patriot League schools giving football scholarships-- would not cost more than the current arrangement? And if so, what is the hold-up? The desire to have that "We don't give jocks special favors" image? Isn't that already gone with the other sports getting them. Or is it a gender equity issue? Would giving football rides require far more scholarships for women's sports?

But the third, and biggest question we have is this: Why in the two stories we have read now about Richmond's consideration of the Patriot League, has nobody bothered to mention that the Patriot has become a pretty damned competitive league in I-AA even without the scholarships. I seem to recall a big blown-up picture hanging in the lobby of Colgate's gym from the snowy day not long ago that the Raiders beat A-10 power UMass on their way to the national final. Seems somebody should mention that the difference in play is not as great as it once was.

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