Playing By His Own Rules

WINNING AT BOSTON COLLEGE is a difficult trick. DeFilippo often jokes that some alumni want the school to be Harvard on Monday through Friday, and Alabama on Saturday afternoon. In order for BC to upgrade its athletic reputation from Notre Dame Lite to something like Duke or Stanford, the school would need to do something that it’s never done under DeFilippo: make it to one of college sports’ truly big-money events, either a major bowl game or a Final Four. But there’s a price to be paid for that type of on-field success. Check the news, and it seems that nearly every NCAA football or basketball title comes bundled with diminished academic standards, out-of-control spending, and embarrassing ethical lapses.

DeFilippo is not that kind of AD. Rather, he is exactly the kind of AD that university president Father William Leahy wants. Famously indifferent to sports, Leahy is likely more impressed by his school’s ability to draw 40 percent more applicants from the South since joining the ACC than by its performance on the field. Thus, DeFilippo can feel free to jettison players who fail to meet BC’s academic standards. This summer, for instance, the Eagles’ presumed starting quarterback, Dominique Davis, failed out. A different school might have fudged Davis’s grades to keep him around—after all, he was the Eagles’ only option at quarterback. DeFilippo didn’t do that. That type of decision-making is probably why, in the wake of the Jagodzinski affair, Leahy signed him to a contract extension through 2014.

Granted, DeFilippo’s overbearing style may mean that Boston College won’t be able to lure the sort of hotshot coach who could vault the school into the top tier of the nation’s football programs. But it also means that BC’s athletic program won’t ever sink to the moral depths seen at places like Memphis and the University of Miami. On the field, the Eagles may be worse for it, but Boston College is better.

Staff writer JASON SCHWARTZ profiled Boston Globe union chief Dan Totten in the June issue.

  • Mark

    not sure i need to go any further than my subject line?? in either case; as the article notes, the FB and hoops team are neither BCS bowl or Final Four calibre. and while BC alums think their academics are on par with Notre Dame; US News says William & Mary have surpassed them….

  • Sea

    From the fan of a team that has never beaten BC on the gridiron nor in academic rankings. Enjoy getting taken behind the woodshed by ND…oops, you already have…nice away, away, not even playing in CT schedule you guys worked there.

  • paul

    The switch (to ACC) was unpopular with some alumni and fans…. Oh really Jason, what alumni might those be? I don’t think you know anything about BC.

  • thezenmaster

    Horrible article. Why would you imply that Flip is a hypocrite and then directly show why he isn’t when you quote him talking about recruiting issues with Jags looking around, a job with ADs do not do?

    The agenda was clear with the Barber quotes, a big check-writer who had a mancrush on coach O’Brien. Flip told him to go pound sand when he whined like a sissy when TOB was allowed to walk.

    95% of BC alums under the age of 90 love this ACC move.

    GDF is guilty of one bad hire in Jags. We’ll see on Spaz.

  • john

    The current Forbes has BC ranked as 16th best college, just ahead of Northwestern, Bowdoin and Vassar.

  • Mark

    really, john? you’re actually going to cite the forbes rankings? the same poll that listed centre college (KY) ahead of BC at #14?? the same poll that listed dartmouth at #98??? at least the USNWR rankings have some standing in the academic world. the best use for the forbe’s poll is in a bird cage or litter box – it is utter garbage. sadly, i’m not surprised a bc student/alum would cite it.

  • Mark

    really, john? the same forbes poll that listed centre college (KY) ahead of bc at #14? the same poll that listed dartmouth at #98??? at least the USNWR rankings have some standing in the academic world. the forbes poll is best used in a bird cage or litter box – it is utter garbage. sadly, i’m not surprised a bc student/alum would cite it.

  • Los

    The only thing that’s obvious, Mark, is your pathetic jealousy of BC. Their students, alumni, and fans don’t have answer to your childish accusations. The school’s application rate speaks for itself.