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

Just Wait ‘Til Next Season

Hoyas everywhere were given a tremendous gift this year. On a campus known for being opinionated and politically active, there are few things that can draw near-universal support from Georgetown students. But for the last two months, Hoyas past and present found common ground cheering for their classmates in blue and gray whose awe-inspiring basketball prowess stunned the nation.

Even as its last minutes drained out in Atlanta in Saturday’s heartbreaker against Ohio State, everyone knew the 2006-07 basketball season had been a pivotal one. Just three years after failing to qualify for a postseason tournament, the Hoyas had charged back to prominence, winning the Big East and emerging as one of the last four teams standing.

If that glorious season’s premature ending has any silver lining, it’s that a season that promises to be even better is just eight months away. If we live up to the promise our team showed on the court this year and make a few adjustments where they are necessary, there is no limit to what the Hoyas of next year will achieve.

An Encore Performance?

Every time the feet of the men’s basketball team touched the hardwood during this memorable season, there’s been an elephant in the stadium. There’s been that issue, driven by press reports and fan speculation, that no one wants to think about: that some of our most beloved Hoyas may be considering forsaking the Hilltop to play or coach at the professional level.

The reasons are obvious. By May, they could be making millions of dollars. They could sign a contract, wear an NBA jersey, buy an expensive car and move from the Hilltop.

But they shouldn’t go this year. And they shouldn’t go for reasons that might never make sense to an NBA star.

Fortunately, the best reason for staying just might make sense to a team that came out to spend time with the 300 people waiting in line overnight for tickets to the Final Four. It makes sense to a team that understands that Georgetown is certainly a different community than one finds at a large state school. It’s smaller and intensely passionate about the university’s identity. This community has rallied behind the basketball team more so than it has about anything in the last 20 years – nothing has ever prompted a Hoya stampede to the White House.

But student athletes and their coaches must consider just when those careers will begin.

With the basketball resurgence of the last two years, Georgetown has found itself again basking in the limelight of athletic success. But even more than dominance in athletic pursuits, Georgetown prides itself as a top-tier university for its academic standards and high graduation rates for athletes. What makes this year’s successful season even more impressive is that a team that became one of the best in the game is a team that brought not just basketball players to Atlanta, but a classy team of scholars.

Keeping A Coach

Another issue that the university and Athletic Department will be forced to consider will be the return of – and compensation for – Coach John Thompson III. Coaching jobs around the nation are opening, and, having proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the NCAA, JTIII’s name has been thrown around as a potential replacement for several outgoing coaches around the country.

University President John J. DeGioia should recognize that keeping JTIII at Georgetown is the first step to ensuring successful basketball seasons to come. At present, he is grossly underpaid compared to his colleagues. According to the most recent records, released in 2005, Thompson was hired with a starting salary of about $450,000 per year in 2003 – ranking 12th out of the 16 Big East coaches in pay. Thompson certainly deserves a raise.

Former coach John Thompson Jr. has publicly said that he will tell his son to leave Georgetown if the university does not construct improved facilities for the basketall program – a request that must be met if this school’s administration truly values the legacy being built here.

Students are united and involved. Alumni are boasting. The positives that have come out of the last two months are exceptional, and the people who most made this season happen should be back next year for a repeat.

And those students not on the team must be prepared to do their part. The 12 men of the Georgetown basketball team have given the university a tremendous gift. Students should remember the team’s dedication. When the team returns next season, behind the leadership of the Class of 2008, students should continue to give their support.

Ticket Access

If hundreds of Hoya students are willing to camp out for hours for the chance to see their basketball team play in the Final Four, how many will jump at the chance to buy season tickets for next season? Two thousand? Three? More?

No one knows the answer to these questions just yet, but the number will surely be larger than the university has seen in quite some time. And the Athletic Department must begin planning early to accommodate student demand in the fairest possible manner.

Ideally, all Georgetown students who want to will be able to buy season tickets. As long as the team is playing in the massive Verizon Center, this is not an unreasonable goal.

Preference during the ticketing process should be given to upperclassmen. The Class of 2008 has only one year left to enjoy cheering on their classmates, and for them to miss their chance would be a tragedy. Upperclassmen were faced with this situation at the beginning of this year, when incoming freshmen were allowed to reserve tickets before the rest of the student body. Of course we want every new class of Hoyas to feel like it is a part of the Georgetown basketball experience, but upperclassmen should not be the last to gain access to season tickets.

In addition to maintaining student involvement, the university should also encourage greater alumni support. The Athletic Department should ensure that all recent alumni have the chance to purchase season tickets for the Young Alumni Section. Many of these fans have shown dedication to the basketball program during and since their time at Georgetown and should not be left out at this exciting time.

Implementing these suggestions will ensure that all Hoyas have an equal chance during their years on the Hilltop to cheer JT III and his squad on to their next Final Four.

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