Tom Wisnauckas: Football success

Posted: 11/26/2021 14:50:28 PM Modified: 11/26/2021 14:50:12 UMass is a great school with an excellent academic reputation. But w...



Posted: 11/26/2021 14:50:28 PM

Modified: 11/26/2021 14:50:12

UMass is a great school with an excellent academic reputation. But when it comes to sports, football reigns supreme. Too bad for UMass and many other schools that their reputation is based a bit on the record of their football teams.

For UMass however, to have any success in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), they must belong to a conference. As a 20 year subscription holder, I have seen the difference this can make. When UMass was still in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) under coach Mark Whipple, the 3-9 records in 2014 and 2015 might not have been that impressive, but several of the losses were 7 points or less. The Minutemen were getting competitive. Yes, as an indie in 2017 and 2018 they had 4-8 seasons, but the writing was on the wall.

To have continued success in college sports, you need a constant supply of rookies. When it comes to football, UMass doesn’t quite have the pulling power of Notre Dame and has to be in conference to recruit players.

When UMass declined the MAC’s offer to join all sports, I understood the university’s decision to stay in the Atlantic 10 (A-10). The A-10 as a whole is a high profile basketball conference, and for some reason UMass still relives the glory years of the late ’90s and considers itself a school of basketball. Since 2000, men’s basketball UMass has competed once in the NCAA tournament in 2014, and made five appearances in the NIT. They’re not quite the powerhouse they once were.

Looking back, UMass should perhaps have accepted the MAC’s “all in” offer. Even if the MAC is a lesser conference for basketball, the Minutemen would likely have a better chance of winning conference titles and winning playoff appearances. A banner is a banner.

Tom wisnauckas

Worthington



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