Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Don’t Take Them Out to Montgomery Co.

Don’t Take Them Out to Montgomery Co.

Baseball Team’s Ejection from On-Campus Site Is Wrong Direction

By Sean P. Flynn Hoya Staff Writer

Georgetown released its 2000-2010 plans for campus expansion last week, including three new buildings and an increase of enrollment. Missing, of course, from the plans, was an on-campus home for the Georgetown baseball team.

After much speculation over the last couple of years, the administration released its plan, in which the baseball team, a non-scholarship varsity sport that plays in the Big East Conference, would play its games at a park in Montgomery County, d.

Gone is the baseball field, carved snugly between the Leavey Center, Kehoe Field, ICC and the Jesuit graveyard. In its place will be science and business centers, parts of the school’s proposed expansion.

Baseball is Georgetown’s oldest varsity sport, yet it is also Georgetown’s least supported varsity sport. The Hoyas play roughly 50 games during their season, which goes from mid-February until early May, not including a vigorous fall season that includes scrimmages and games against other schools.

As the only Big East baseball team without scholarships, the Hoyas struggle. While the Hoyas usually amass a decent record against the non-conference opponents, usually comprising low-level Division I schools as well as Division III teams, Georgetown is just plain overmatched in the Big East. While conference rivals Providence (which just lost its baseball team because of Title IX) and Notre Dame have scholarship programs producing major leaguers, Georgetown fields a non-scholarship team that cannot help but struggle in conference. The Hoyas, who have not qualified for the Big East tournament since 1986, hit rock bottom last season with a 2-24 record in league play, one of the worst seasons in Big East history.

What this program needs is support, and the university’s plans to move the team off campus and out of the District is not that sign of support. Winning baseball games in the Big East is an inherently difficult task for Georgetown because it does not offer scholarships, but it is not impossible. Georgetown is an attractive place to go to school, even without the scholarships, and while you may not get the scholarship players other teams have, you can still get quality players who want a good education in Washington, D.C.

What is hard to understand is why Georgetown has a baseball team at all if it’s not going to put a full effort to putting the most quality team possible on the field. Why the school would let the program wallow in mediocre season after mediocre season. Why the school would have a team that could have no fans at home games. Why the school would allow a varsity sport to play under conditions similar to that of a club sports team.

A perfect example of care for sports teams is Notre Dame. Somehow, some way, Notre Dame puts a quality team on the field for every varsity sport. Volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, football, even lacrosse, Notre Dame is a tough team to play. If Notre Dame has a team, that team is going to be tough to beat.

This is the way that Georgetown should look at its sports teams, even if Notre Dame-like sports support at Georgetown is not a reasonable thought. Georgetown should put care into all its sports programs, shooting for excellence at all times.

Having a team, letting it suffer and then sticking it out in the middle of Maryland is not the way to support a Georgetown sport.

Thompson, Georgetown Head to Springfield

This is an example of an amazingly common conversation when I meet someone for the first time: “So, where do you go to school?”

“I go to Georgetown.” “Now, where is that?”

“It’s in Washington, D.C.”

“Ohhhh, so how’s my least favorite basketball coach?”

Forget Bill Clinton. Forget the Washington location. Forget the foreign-service school. When the average Joe thinks of Georgetown, he may not know that the president went to school here, he may not know that Georgetown is near the White House and he most likely doesn’t have a hair of a notion what classes are offered here.

All he knows is John Thompson, the Hoyas’ former head coach who was enshrined in the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., on Sunday.

Thompson’s enshrinement was a shoo-in, although it did not happen – possibly because of his controversial actions – until his third year on the ballot.

His strong and outspoken politics allowed him to become a lot of very important things to a lot of people. To black coaches, Thompson is a father figure who, through stubbornness, outspokenness and success, proved that blacks could coach and win. On social issues, Thompson never shied away from an opinion and became an important advocate for the black community, especially in college basketball. Thompson’s walkout of two 1990 games in protest of new eligibility requirements that he found racist brought about a rescinding of the rule the next year.

But on another level, he represents a whole era of college basketball. Before Thompson, Georgetown was nothing, but now, 27 years, three Final Fours and one national title later, Georgetown is a name that seems to still bring out the wrath of opposing fans, even when wins are hard to come by. Just ask a Syracuse or Villanova fan.

Thompson is one of very few figures in sports history who are more famous than the teams they represented. In his time, perhaps only Coach K at Duke and Bobby Knight at Indiana transcend their schools to Thompson’s level.

Thompson had a way of inciting his opponents, with not only the tough defense and perceived “basketbrawl” but also political opinions, and Georgetown became the team that people loved to hate.

Now, Thompson’s plaque is on the wall at Springfield. With him, Thompson brings his political stances, his quotes, the long shadow he cast over the game of college basketball. But right there with him is the Georgetown name that will always represent winning.


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