I consider myself to be a dedicated Hoya fan. I go on the message boards, follow recruiting and am a season ticket holder. I cried when we beat Duke in 2006, and was all in on JT3.
I watched the entire Seton Hall game last night and didn't change my expression the entire time. Didn't yell, didn't cheer, didn't feel anything except sad indifference. I have completed the long slow descent as a Hoya fan from excitement about our program, to anger and now apathy. This post is my last attempt to stoke my inner Hoya fire before the flame goes out.
I don't pretend to know more about basketball then JT3. I'm not one of those message board ranters who says we should play a certain style. I consider myself to be a logical reasonable fan.
One major expectation I have for the teams I root for, both professionally and collegiately, is that those in charge set clear expectations for the direction of the franchise or program. For example, I am a long time Celtics fan and was thrilled by the team's resurgence when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined the team. But, when it was time to rebuild Danny Ainge told fans exactly what he was doing. It was painful, but Celtics fans trusted him and supported him because he was honest about the state of the team. We were comfortable as fans, because we knew he had a plan.
When you are dishonest with your fans or just silent, that is when the problems occur.
Which brings me to the current state of our Hoyas.
There is silence on the Hilltop about the current state of affairs for the hoops team. And I am not talking about the coach. I don't care what JT3 says to the media about the team or direction of the program. He's not going to give the media any good soundbites. It's in his DNA not to. I'm sure he is disappointed, I'm sure he is frustrated. We all are.
Where I am most frustrated is that we do not have an athletic director or University president willing to set clear expectations for the signature program at Georgetown.
Here are the facts if you believe what you read on the internet. Georgetown spends money on its coach and basketball as if we are one of the nation's elite programs.
Based on its spending, Georgetown seems to care about basketball as an institution as much as any school in the country. I am really pleased that the school is willing to spend a lot on our coach and the program - if, and only if, it gets results. At this point in time no one can argue that Georgetown is getting a good return on its investment.
It looked like back in the mid to late 2000's that we were on great path. Sweet 16 in 2006, Final Four in 2007. We were averaging over 12,000 fans per game at Verizon Center. I was ready for program liftoff. But, since that point Georgetown has not made it into the Sweet 16, despite being ranked quite high in recent years. Almost ten years away from our last good journey in the tourney we are a program at the crossroads. The team is average. Hoyas attendance is down to Escherick era numbers. We get little to no local or national media coverage. Fans in attendance spend most of the game sitting on their hands. Student attendance is woeful. A small group of alumni and students try to generate social media and in-game interest, with little to no success. The MVP of Georgetown this year is Chris Grosse, the marketing guy in the athletic department. He is trying his best to generate excitement and engage fans using zany promotions and working social media hard. He is doing his best to engage with fans.
The same cannot be said for Lee Reed. I wrote to him on Twitter. Also, on two occasions I wrote him emails expressing my concern, as a season ticket holder, in the lack of direction the school administration provides fans about expectations for the program. My point to him was simple: if the school truly spends as much money as is reported they do on the hoops program, isn't it fair to expect a better product? I was polite, did not call names, and just asked for a response. A simple "thanks for the feedback" would have sufficed. He, or someone on his staff, decided to ignore my email. It really bothered me, and motivated me to write this post.
So, where do we go from here? I'm writing this post with the hope that a few thousand Hoya fans read it and decide to do something too. I'm hoping that as a fan base, we join together to demand accountability for the state of our program. I'm hopeful that we press the Athletic Director and the University president to make public statements about what they expect to see from the program. As fans who put money into this program through ticket purchases and school donations, we have the right to demand a better return on investment. Return on investment means having a first class product on the court that generates fan excitement. It means having a coach who recruits top level talent every year, and molds that talent into a team that has consistent NCAA tournament success. It means a team that fills the lower bowl of the Verizon Center no matter who the opponent is.
My belief is that if the Georgetown administration does not want to run a basketball program that competes with the nation's elite, then it is time to cut the budget and tell the fans the truth. Don't throw money away if you really don't want to be great.
Well, this was cathartic. I guess I do still care and to quote from the movie Network, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore".
Come on Georgetown - give fans the program they deserve!
-hoyabish, Class of '97