"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Challenge Facing Jumpin' Jesuits

Here's an interesting article in USA Today about the challenges facing Jesuit universities that want to compete at an elite level in college hoops. Clearly the greatest impediment is money, where Jesuit institutions, without the benefit of state funding, rely nearly exclusively on alumni participation and men's basketball to fund the rest of the athletic program.

The article discusses the specifics of many Jesuit institutions, and here's what it says about MU: "Marquette, in Milwaukee, has an enrollment of 7,242 and athletic revenue of nearly $15.2 million. The Golden Eagles have challenged the University of Wisconsin, with its 28,583 students and $58.1 million in athletic revenue."

Certainly the athletic revenue numbers are a bit misleading, as MU does not have football, yet it brings into focus the importance of scheduling and alumni participation. Jumpin' Jesuit programs have a baseline of home games required to make ends meet for the athletic department-- for Marquette that number is apparently 16 (or so; correct me if I am wrong). Moreover, increased alumni support for athletic endowments are a critical factor in keeping top quality coaches and facilities on campus.

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