Here are three exciting things that happened off the court from the past few days that has to do with Villanova Basketball:
Val Ackerman Visited Us on Friday:
Big East Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman was invited to campus to speak at the much-hyped retirement party for outgoing Philosophy professor Dan Regan. Ms. Commissioner delivered her address, “Academics and Athletics in the Catholic Social Tradition: the Big East and its place in Intercollegiate Athletics” in front of a packed Connelly Center crowd, and her remarks did not disappoint. Ackerman touched on the present and future of the Big East and where it stands in the changing world of college sports. She was pleased with the smooth transition the conference saw during the Great Realignment two years ago, as the one private (Butler) and nine Catholic schools that would come together to form the new Big East were all of a mutual basketball-oriented focus and actually care about academics (we’re looking at you, SEC). Ackerman was also pleased at the immediate TV deal with Fox Sports 1 the conference landed, as the Big East’s partnership with Fox has not only reigned in ever-increasing revenue but has lifted the national exposure of the Big East. Ackerman was not as happy with was the changing direction of college sports. The Big East is on the verge of being left out of a Power Five semi-professional super league. A conference of small private schools with a focus on academics would not be welcome in a league wishing to make amateur college sports obsolete. Yet Ackerman is determined to not compromise the character of the Big East. Villanova fans should be happy with the direction the Commissioner is going, not jealous of the money-hungry power schools. ESPN and the power five conferences may conspire to leave the Big East out of the future super league, but Villanova will be better off for it.
Class of 1981 alumnus and NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long has been flaunting his Villanova roots lately. He was seen at Villanova’s Admirals Dinner over the weekend, which made for a great picture of him throwing up his V’s with Father Peter and Jay Wright. If there ever was a Mount Rushmore of Villanova greats, this picture would be it. Then on Sunday, the Fox Sports analyst was on set in Pearl Harbor with the rest of the NFL on Fox crew. Before coverage of the football games that day, Long was able to interview the four coaches facing off in the Pearl Harbor Invitational tonight. Much was made of Coach Wright’s dashing good looks (despite him dressing down in jeans), as well as the recent success of Jay’s squad, which has the best record of any Division 1 basketball team of the past three years. At the conclusion of the interview, Fox colleague Curt Menefee called out Howie for his donation of the new Strength & Fitness Center coming soon to Villanova’s campus, which has put Long over the one million dollar mark in donations to the University. Villanovans are lucky to have such a famous alumnus as the face of our college, but even luckier to know that he embodies the spirit of charity and giving Villanova stands for.
New Lottery Rules:
This being the third year in a row that Villanova is a consistent top ten basketball team, more students than ever wish to attend the on-campus games in the Pavilion. Demand has overwhelmed the 2,000 seat section designated for students, resulting in many avid fans being left without a ticket to games for the first time in their Nova fanhood. Nationers were upset that some of the most devoted fans on campus found themselves unticketed while many uninterested underclassmen were awarded seats. Criticism and calls for reform of the ancient lottery system which awards students tickets rained down upon the Student Government and Office of Student Involvement over the past month. This morning, Director JJ Brown notified the student body of a solution.
“SGA will be experimenting a new idea with this game against LaSalle,” Brown said. “We will be holding 100 student tickets and making them available at the door of the Pavilion one hour before game time. Students who do not receive a ticket from the lottery may come claim these tickets on a first come, first serve basis.”
Those who show up to claim these tickets will receive the same amount of points as if they were awarded a ticket by the lottery. Brown ended the email by saying “We hope that this new idea provides a secondary chance of winning a ticket to the Pavilion games.” Honestly, this idea is perfect. Those who are awarded tickets via the lottery are not harmed. Those who were not awarded tickets but still have a strong desire to go can show up an hour early, thereby proving their need to attend. These fans will then have a better chance in the next lottery because they are awarded the same additional points, and by mid-season only those most dedicated to their Nova fandom will be given tickets. I fully support JJ Brown’s solution, and I hope he implements it for the rest of the year for the good of the student section.