Category Archives: Athletics

NCAA Ranks BC #5 in Graduation Success for Football Team

The NCAA released its Graduate Success Rate rankings today, and Boston College athletics ranked fifth among the Football Bowl Division schools.

BC followed behind Notre Dame, Stanford, Northwestern, and Duke on the list. The class of 2009, which was the class that was analyzed in these rankings, had a GSR of 95.

Thirteen BC teams had a GSR of 100: women’s basketball, men’s golf, field hockey, women’s hockey, lacrosse, rowing, men’s skiing, women’s skiing, women’s soccer, softball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis, women’s track and field, and volleyball.

Specifically, BC football had a GSR score of 90. Football’s score was ranked ninth in the nation. Football moved up from a GSR score of 89 last year.

On average, 82 percent of Division I class of 2004 athletes have earned a degree.

The NCAA originally created the GSR assessment because college and university presidents wanted data that reflected college students’ mobility.

Universities are responsible for transfer students as well. This is different from the federal government’s assessment, which does not take into account students who transfer universities.

The GSR shows that student-athletes are more likely to graduate than a normal student.

Allston-Brighton Task Force Approves Brighton Campus Athletic Fields

The plans for Boston College Athletics to enter the 21st century will have one less roadblock.

On Tuesday evening, the Allston-Brighton Community Task Force met to discuss BC’s plans to build baseball and softball fields on the Brighton Campus. The eight-person board approved the plans 7-to-1, moving the plans onto the next phase at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The project has already been approved in the Institutional Master Plan, yet the task force provided an opportunity for people to air concerns among residents in the area. The plan then goes to the Boston Redevelopment Authority on Sept. 15, before construction can fully go underway.

“The approval today tells us that Boston College is doing a great job,” said Thomas J. Keady, Jr., vice president of governmental and community affairs, and one of the leaders of the Institutional Master Plan project.

BC’s new athletics complex will be in the northern part of the Brighton Campus, bordered by Anselm Terrace, Thomas A. Edison K-8 School, and Glenmont Rd. to the north; Lane Park and Campus Lane to the south; and Lake St. to the west. It will include a 1,000-seat baseball stadium—down from the original 1,500 seats—with FieldTurf, lighting fixtures, a press box, sound system, and batting cages. The seats will be 12 rows back behind home plate, with seating extending beyond the first-base dugout. There will be protective netting that extends beyond both dugouts. Fans, specifically students, will also have an opportunity to sit on St. Clement’s Hill beyond the outfield wall.

BC also will add a 300-seat softball field with all of the same amenities as the baseball field, as well as an intramural field. The plans also includes a 3,000-square-foot fieldhouse that includes bathrooms and concession stands, as well as a parking lot with room for about 750 vehicles.

The plan assured preservation of as much of the green footprint of the campus as possible. BC intends to keep 154 trees and plant an additional 50 or so, while removing 39, many of which have already been deemed sickly. BC will also work with the land to create the field. Though it will be turf instead of natural grass, that surface will only extend to the field of play—all additional surfaces will remain grass. Softball will also be on the ground level, where it currently exists, while baseball will have an elevated concourse as what fits with the land.

BC also presented a plan for both sound and lighting on the fields, both of which were voiced as concerns by the board and members of the community. The light poles will stand between 70 and 90 feet: baseball will have eight, softball will have six, and intramural will have four. All of the light poles are specifically designed to point toward the field and minimize the amount that spills into the surrounding area.

Athletics will also implement a state-of-the-art sound system designed to minimize noise pollution in the neighborhood. BC provided a study that shows that, on average, the area around the Brighton Campus emits 50 to 70 decibels during the day. This sound system, plus the crowd noise, is projected to be about 80 to 85 decibels at peak volume (defined as cheering after a home run) around the seats.

The construction leaders asserted that there will be a “hard-knee” compression system on the speakers. After studies have been finalized, they will preset a maximum level for the speakers that cannot be surpassed once installed, nor can it be revised. Keady believes that, despite the initial pushback, this is the ideal and most agreeable plan for BC and the community.

“The project was approved in the master plan, but once this is built, we’re really going to have to make sure that the sound and the lighting is what we say it’s going to be,” Keady said. “This isn’t like Shea Field, where you’re going to buy some speakers at RadioShack and play it. If I lived beside where it’s really quiet and beautiful and dogs are running, and now we have a baseball field, I’d be here, too. I applaud these people.”

BC estimates that baseball will play six to 10 evening games, with potential start times anywhere between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Athletics could not give a definitive answer on start times, given that any that will be on television will be dictated by ESPN and the new ACC Network, the latter of which is coming in 2019. A majority of baseball and softball games will be in the typical eight-week period of April and May, when weather in New England allows for the sport to be played.

The move to Brighton will give both baseball and softball a more consistent playing surface than the natural grass and dirt of Shea Field, which has been hampered by the effects of bad weather on the natural grass. It will also provide fans with extensive seating options, especially when compared to the parking garage. The estimated time of completion for the new fields will be for the 2018 season.

The approved master plan also calls for a 60,000-square-foot athletics building, which Keady refers to as “Phase Two.” This will include a locker room for baseball and softball on Brighton. Overall, however, BC Athletics is more than happy with the plan, according to Deputy Athletics Director Jamie Seguin.

“I think this is a great facility and great aspect for our student-athletes and our programs,” Seguin said. “We’re really excited for them to have this facility.”

Featured Image Courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority

BC Athletics to Drop “News” From Twitter Handles

The announcement we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived (and it was a lot different from what we expected).

Early Wednesday morning, Boston College Athletics announced that it would remove the “News” from each of its four primary Twitter handles. @BCSportsNews, @BCFootballNews, @BCHoopNews, and @BCHockeyNews will now be @BCEagles, @BCFootball, @BCMBB, and @BCHockey, respectively.

The main account, which launched in 2009, was originally created to broadcast news about the University’s 31 varsity sports. In 2011, BC Athletics added individual accounts for each sport. In a press release Wednesday, the department stated that the “News” in the handles is now obsolete with the evolution of Twitter as a “true social, conversational platform.”

“From the Athletic Department’s point of view, the new @BCEagles Twitter name—plus the three new team usernames—better aligns with our brand and who we are,” J.M. Caparro, senior associate athletics director of external affairs, said in the statement. “For our fans, Twitter has become more than just a means to spread news. It’s about engaging and coming together as a community, and showcasing and sharing the many great stories happening both on and off the field, ice, and court.”

Swim and Dive Coach Concerned About Plans for New Pool, Future of Program

What was expected to be a blessing for Boston College Athletics in a year when little else has gone right may not have as bright of an ending.

In late February, Director of Athletics Brad Bates announced the creation of a $200 million sports complex to replace the Flynn Recreation Center, as well as baseball and softball fields on Brighton Campus and a field house adjacent to Alumni Stadium for teams such as football to use in the winter. Because of specifications to the pool, however, BC varsity swimming and diving head coach Tom Groden feels that his sport may be cut within the next few years.

“I have been told swimming is going to be cut by people who think they know what they’re talking about,” Groden said in an interview Monday morning. “I haven’t been told that by Bates, and he’s probably the only person who could effectively tell me. … Do I believe it? I don’t know. Been asked this question for years.”

Groden, who has coached the Eagles’ swimming and diving team for each of its 46 years of existence, said that the plans presented to him for a new pool are not suitable for competition at the Division-I level, especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Plex’s layout includes an 8-lane, 25-yard pool, with a separate diving well.

Based on the current schematic plan, the new pool will feature an 8-lane, 25-yard pool that is at least 6 feet deep and will be heated at 80 degrees. Adjacent to the racing pool will be a 4-lane, 25-yard pool heated at 86 degrees. Additionally, there will be space for 240 participants on the deck, which, according to Caitriona Taylor, director of campus recreation, is much larger that the current one. The second floor of the new athletic complex will also feature a 200-seat section in which people can view swim meets.

Several new amenities will appear in the athletic center, the inside plans of which have not been made public yet. The center will have the pool on the first floor, as well as two multi-activity courts, which can be used for activities such as indoor soccer and floor hockey, among other sports. There will also be a rock climbing wall, a golf simulator, and a storage and meeting place for club sports, something that those teams have not previously had.

“One of the goals was to increase space and opportunity for club sports and intramurals,” Taylor said.

The ceilings of the pool and multi-activity courts will extend into the second floor. That level features the primary fitness center, which will have a “dramatic increase” in space and equipment. It will also have two multipurpose rooms, a spinning room, and administrative offices.

On the third floor, the athletic center will have three indoor tennis courts—one fewer than the Plex has. While the Plex includes several outdoor tennis courts, these plans do not—however, Deputy Athletic Director Jaime Seguin said there are outdoor courts planned in the Institutional Master Plan, outside of the scope of this athletic center. The third floor also has an Olympic lifting fitness area—something that was heavily requested—a yoga room, another multi-purpose room, and a club sports conference room.

The highlight of the third floor will be a four-court, all-wood basketball gym. Unlike the current courts in the Plex, which are not the regulation sizes, this will be high-school regulation so players can “shoot a real 3-pointer,” as Taylor puts it. She also specifically highlighted how this will help club men’s and women’s basketball. These courts are also lined for volleyball and badminton, and will be the new area for varsity fencing to practice. Taylor said that getting a wood surface for varsity fencing was one of the program’s main requests. In that court area, there will be a 200-plus-seat social gathering area, something the Plex does not have.

Finally, the fourth floor will have a “feature track” that encompasses the whole floor, as well as two racquetball courts, two squash courts, and an evaluation and wellness room for BC’s personal trainers.

Despite these additions, Groden is not content with the pool area.

The four-lane shallow pool is meant as a teaching pool for children, rather than to serve the BC community—the varsity team and general population alike. While it has been approached to Groden as an opportunity to allow more swimmers to practice or as a warm up and warm down area, he says that conditions heated to that temperature are not suitable for that purpose.

Most notably, the new pool complex will not have a separate diving well, and the 1-M diving board will be attached to the deep end of the eight-lane pool. In addition, the new pool cannot accommodate a 3-M dive—a standard event in NCAA swimming and diving—because the current plan’s ceiling is too short, a fact that Groden referred to as “devastating” for his program.

“When [Bates] told me that there wasn’t going to be a 3-meter board, I told him that it’s ridiculous in some version of what it’s going to do to us,” Groden said.

By not having a separate diving well, Groden estimates that the length of time at swim meets will increase by an hour and a half to two hours. That, along with not having suitable practice facilities, will hurt BC on the recruiting trail and dissuade swimmers from wanting to become part of the program, he said,

One of Groden’s biggest concerns is his lack of involvement in the process. He said that, about a year ago, he was initially approached with two plans for a pool in the new facility. Immediately, he replied to Bates with his concerns that the pool would be insufficient for the program, suggesting changes that could help. For months, he had not been contacted further on the matter, he said.

According to Groden, on Dec. 15, 2015, Bates informed him that there would be no 3-M board, and that the plans would be released the following week. In February 2016, days before BC’s announcement, Groden was shown the official plans by Seguin and Taylor. At that point, Groden “was told that no changes would be discussed.” While he has asked for copies of the plan, he has yet to receive one. Groden believes that BC Athletics left the plans “intentionally vague” because they were concerned about backlash.

Seguin stated that NCAA rules do not mandate the 3-M dive as part of competition, and that there are options available to offset that in a competition.

“One of the things to remember is that this building is for multiple constituencies,” Seguin said.
“We’re averaging about 2,500 faculties, students, and staff that use the building on a daily basis. … So with those 2,500, the whole undergraduate population, along with the varsity teams, we had the balance on the building. To be able to do the 3-M board, what’s on the other floors would have to be eliminated. That was one of the compromises.”

Despite Groden’s dissatisfaction, Taylor said he was given the opportunity to express his concerns fairly, and that several surveys and the input of experts was included in these plans.

“Tom had an opportunity to give his input, which was delivered, and there was a lot of groups and a lot of research done,” Taylor said.

Groden said that, while nothing has been official, he has been told by insiders in athletics that the Board of Trustees not only threatens his program but “plans to cut as many as 17 sports,” noting fencing and tennis as two in particular. Bates said these claims were untrue, and that the University is committed to the swimming and diving program.

“We did an analysis of our entire department, and the priority was program preservation,” Bates said. “So the fact that we’re moving forward with a swimming pool that’d be eligible for competition is a sign we’re committed to the program, so that should reaffirm the University’s commitment to swimming and diving.”

Though BC routinely finishes last or next-to-last in the ACC swimming and diving championships, Groden said this is largely because of the program’s inherent disadvantage of not being able to offer scholarships. The men’s side has not had scholarships for over 20 years, while the women’s team had the last of its scholarships moved to women’s hockey in 2012. But Groden does not see a problem with that. BC has the maximum number of athletic scholarships a school can have, according to Groden, and if they have to go to any team, it might as well be women’s hockey.

“They did pretty well with them in terms of them being the top team in the country,” Groden said with a laugh.

BC swimming and diving is the only non-scholarship program among Power Five conferences. Almost every swimming record BC had that was set by a scholarship athlete has been broken by those not on scholarship. Groden specifically highlighted graduating senior captain Dan Kelly, who qualified for NCAA Nationals with a 19:81 in the 50-meter freestyle. BC is coming off of its best season: a 12-1-1 record in which the Eagles defeated longtime rival Boston University for the first time in a decade and the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the first time in 20 years.

Yet if these plans for a new pool are followed through, BC may have difficulty getting those big wins going forward.

“Swimming and diving are the same sport, we score them together,” Kelly said. “And so the analogy I keep going back to is no school would have an 80-yard football field, or no school would tell the baseball team that they can’t bat the last two innings. It’s affecting our scoring, it’s affecting our competitiveness, and I don’t think the administration recognizes that.”

Heights Editors Shannon Kelly, Alec Greaney, and Carolyn Freeman contributed to this report.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

IRS Form 990 Reveals Christian’s 2014-15 Salary, York’s Compensation Doubled

This week, Boston College released this information which details its records from the most recent fiscal year, which stretches from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015. With the completion of his first season as the head coach of BC men’s basketball came the release of Jim Christian’s 2014-15 salary. According to the University’s Fiscal Year IRS Form 990, Christian, who was hired in April 2014, received a salary almost twice that of his compensation at Ohio, the school he worked at prior to BC.

Christian received a base salary of $930,215, with a total compensation of $1,140,225 when including various additional fees, according to the 2014-15 report. That’s about a $100,000 increase from Steve Donahue’s salary in his final year as head coach at BC. Donahue, however, still appears on the report. He received $685,234 in total compensation as a result of his firing on a six-year contract.

Director of Athletics Brad Bates and football head coach Steve Addazio received similar salaries to their first year on the books. Bates’ total compensation was $643,739, a $50,000 decrease from 2013-14—however, Bates received nearly the same salary ($516,715 in 2014-15 vs. $516,701 in 2013-14). Like Bates, Addazio also had a slightly lower total compensation. His $2,333,628 intake in 2014-15 was $200,000 less than what he earned total in 2013-14. Yet, also like Bates, his base salary remained mostly the same ($1,890,130 in 2014-15 vs. $1,810,964 in 2013-14). For the second year in a row, Addazio was the highest-compensated employee at BC.

The biggest jump in compensation went to men’s hockey head coach Jerry York, who signed a contract extension in December 2013 that kicked in after 2013-14 and will last until the 2019-20 season. York earned a base salary of $491,259, yet received $677,311 in “other reportable compensation.” That, combined with other figures, led to a final total of $1,249,617. That total represents a 100 percent increase from his 2013-14 compensation of $626,953.

For the first time since he was fired in 2010, former men’s basketball coach Al Skinner was not on the books in 2014-15. He was paid $585,069 in 2013-14, the fourth consecutive year he had been paid after leaving BC.

The section of the 990 that includes the compensation for BC’s 20 highest-paid employees, however, ends in December 2014 at the conclusion of the calendar year. An employee’s total compensation is calculated by the combination of what is reported as base compensation, “other reportable compensation,” “retirement and deferred compensation,” and nontaxable benefits. Federally tax-exempt organizations such as BC are required to fill out Form 990s with the IRS every year. BC’s full 2014-15 report can be found here.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

BC Athletics Turns Down Potential Fenway Game vs. UConn

Boston College football’s chance for redemption under the bright lights of Fenway Park will have to wait at least one more season.

On Thursday evening, The Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler reported that Director of Athletics Brad Bates had turned down a suggestion from Fenway Sports Management to host a game at the beloved home of the Boston Red Sox on Nov. 19 against the University of Connecticut.

Hohler, whose investigative article regarding the state of BC Athletics made waves in the University community a few weeks ago, stated that this would be a reversed experience to last year’s Shamrock Series game against Notre Dame. The Eagles were forced to dress back on the Heights and only received the ACC-standard 5,000 tickets out of 38,686 total. They also suffered the indignity of having “NOTRE DAME” and “FIGHTING IRISH” painted over both end zones. This time, BC would have been the host and would receive the according pomp and circumstance.

Bates, however, reaffirmed his stance: BC wants to play at least six games every year at Alumni Stadium. Given that the Eagles will take on Georgia Tech in Dublin, Ireland as a home game on Sept. 3, a game at Fenway would take away another opportunity for BC fans to see their team in Chestnut Hill. In addition, fans were put off by Fenway’s poor sight lines, a lack of tailgating, and the exorbitant prices given the stadium holds about 5,000 fewer fans.

“Boston College often receives requests to play home games at venues ranging from Gillette Stadium to Fenway Park,’’ Bates told the Globe. “We have consistently stated that we will consider the possibility only if it is more beneficial for our team, students, and fans, and only during those years in which we still have at least six games in Alumni Stadium. As a result, playing at Fenway Park during the 2016 season was never an option.’’

Fenway Sports Management cannot actually offer BC a spot at Fenway. Yet it appears likely that an offer was on the table, given that Fenway Sports Management is owned by Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, and based on his views of last year’s game against Notre Dame.

“Given the positive feedback we received on last November’s Shamrock Series, the Red Sox would love to see a return of BC football to Fenway Park in the near future,’’ Kennedy told the Globe. “We have extended the invitation for BC to return whenever it works for their schedule.’’

Additionally, Hohler has reported that BC is currently struggling to sell tickets to BC’s game in Dublin. According to several spokesmen for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, BC projected to sell 10,000 tickets but has only sold around 5,000, fewer than the 6,400 bought by the Yellow Jackets faithful. He did concede, however, that BC is closing the gap on Georgia Tech and both schools’ fans will likely purchase 7,500 seats each before they become available to the European public on April 6.

Featured Image by Daniella Fasciano / Heights Senior Staff

Boston College Athletics to Pursue Creation of Indoor Practice Facility

The desires of many frustrated alumni may finally be realized.

Boston College will pursue the creation of three new facilities to help varsity, club, and intramural sports, Director of Athletics Brad Bates announced Monday afternoon. This will include a new recreation center, athletics playing fields, and an indoor practice facility. In total, the project will cost approximately $200 million.

The new recreation center will replace the Plex and be placed over Edmond’s Hall, which will be torn down at the conclusion of the 2015-16 academic year. This was included in the University’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP) from 2009. The project will begin this summer, following the clearance of several permits, and construction will take approximately two years. The 2009 IMP also approved permits for new intramural, baseball, and softball fields to be built on the Brighton Campus.

BC’s newest development, however, is the pursuit of an “athletics field house” constructed adjacent to Alumni Stadium. This indoor facility will provide a desperately needed space for football and the spring sports to practice during the winter without having to rely solely on the bubble over Alumni. Bates, however, confirmed that the bubble will still be used as an auxiliary practice facility for teams during winter months.

University spokesman Jack Dunn reiterated that the plans for the new rec center and baseball/softball fields have been approved and the University is merely awaiting permits—that being said, those projects should begin as soon as this summer. The indoor practice facilities, however, will have to go through the approval and permit process, just as those facilities did when the IMP first came out.

The original IMP had planned for undergraduate dorms to be placed on Shea Field. Since this plan was submitted to the City of Boston in 2007, Dunn said that the University will reevaluate the housing component on Shea with the indoor practice facilityslated to go next to Alumni.

Bates expressed his excitement that an indoor practice facility will bring to BC from a recruiting and standpoint.

“We have a lot of assets that are inherent to Boston College,” Bates said. “When you combine the facilities part of it, with the assets of Boston College, it just adds to the lucrativeness of Boston College to a prospective student-athlete.”

Bates also believes that an indoor practice facility will greatly help the University’s varsity sports, particularly football. Moving practices indoors allows football to avoid inclement weather in fall months. It will also negate time and lighting as an issue, and help BC simulate crowd noise of larger stadiums in the ACC without disrupting the neighboring residential area.

Though Bates said no red flags came up in the process, BC Athletics wanted to make sure that the plan was solid before making it public, given how big of an investment $200 million is.

As of now, contracts have not been estimated or put out to bid. That being said, Dunn believes that this project will create significant construction opportunities and could result in hundreds of jobs.

“We’re looking to work with the city to advance this project and to meeting with the Boston College Allston-Brighton Community Task Force, the mayor’s office, and the BRA to advance this important and noteworthy project for Boston College,” Dunn said.

Bates estimates that, once the permits have been approved for the indoor practice facility, it will take 8-12 months to complete the project. As for what the baseball/softball fields will look like, Bates said that it largely depends on how many additional donations BC Athletics receives—however, he stated that the department has already been given significant money for these projects.

“Once we put a shovel in the ground, we’ll be able to give an accurate estimate,” Bates said.

BC Athletics has provided artistic renderings of the new recreation center and the field house.

IFP

rec

In the press release from BC Athletics, several head coaches expressed their gratitude over the pursuit of this project.

“This announcement represents a commitment from Boston College to give our students the best facilities possible,” football head coach Steve Addazio said in the official release. “We are very excited for an indoor facility that will provide our student-athletes an opportunity to develop throughout the winter months.”

“At Boston College we talk about and believe in “cura personalis”care for the whole person,” baseball head coach Mike Gambino said in the statement. “The BC Athletics Department, and specifically the baseball program, strives to live up to that standard by making sure our student-athletes reach their full potential on the field, in the classroom and as people.  These new facilities will play a huge role in helping our players develop on the diamond and, in turn, helping our program compete on the national stage and for a chance to go to The College World Series in Omaha.”

Featured Image by John Wiley / Heights Senior Staff

Men’s Basketball Returns to Profitability, According to Equity in Athletics Data

Boston College men’s basketball finished 13-19 in head coach Jim Christian’s first season at the helm, a five-win jump from Steve Donahue’s pitiful last season in Chestnut Hill. But that wasn’t Christian’s only success—the Eagles also brought huge returns to the Athletic Department’s pocketbooks. After a down year in 2013-14, the program returned to profitability, according to the University’s Equity in Athletics Data Report. The U.S. Department of Education releases this information, reporting financial information for any institution which receives federal funding for athletics.

Donahue’s final season, an 8-24 campaign which saw only one notable win—a road upset of No. 1 Syracuse University—was hampered by misuse of his best players, a lack of year-to-year improvement, and an inability to adjust to rule changes by the now-University of Pennsylvania skipper. But its profitability problems stemmed from a challenging non-conference schedule that featured several out-of-state games, including trips to Los Angeles (USC), West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue), Auburn, Ala. (Auburn), Brooklyn, N.Y. (VCU), and Manhattan, N.Y. (UConn and Washington). This resulted in a net loss of $1.68 million.

In 2014-15, Christian only scheduled one major out-of-state tournament—a three-game slate against New Mexico, UMass, and Dayton in San Juan, Puerto Rico—while keeping BC’s remaining non-conference games at home. BC’s marquee home matchups against Virginia, North Carolina, and Notre Dame also occurred on Saturdays, likely helping ticket sales at home. Because of these (and other) factors, the program spent $5.68 million, a 20.3 percent drop. This helped men’s basketball turn a profit of $1.12 million, a rise from 14th to 10th in the ACC. Both Notre Dame and Virginia Tech reported losses of $3.15 million and $79,837, respectively. BC, however, is still well behind the conference’s frontrunners, such as first-place Louisville, which turned a $29.05 million profit last season.

Yet men’s basketball wasn’t the only program that showed a notable improvement in only one year. Despite having the exact same 7-6 record in each season, BC football turned a higher profit during the 2014 season than in 2013, increasing from $4.07 million to $5.37 million. Like men’s basketball, this total still pales in comparison to BC’s contemporaries. The program again finished 14th in the ACC, only $20,000 ahead of last-place Wake Forest and well behind the conference average of $16.71 million. Only four schools—BC, Wake, Duke, and Virginia—reported revenues under $10 million, while first-place Notre Dame amassed a profit of a whopping $54.25 million. This is largely due to Notre Dame’s football independence—the Fighting Irish earn a majority of their profits from an exclusive TV deal with NBC.

Men’s hockey also received good news, if only marginally so and for negative reasons. Head coach Jerry York’s team finished 21-15-3 in 2014-15 with a first-round loss to Denver in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Providence, R.I. This was a far cry from BC’s 2013-14 campaign, which featured a Frozen Four run in Philadelphia. But BC’s shorter season helped the program financially. The team still did not turn a profit, yet improved its losses from $1.46 million to $892,650, a 61.1 percent decrease.

Of the four profit sports, the only one that reported worse returns in 2013-14 than in 2012-13 was women’s basketball. Erik Johnson’s crew posted a record that was one win better (13-19) last season, but reported an 11.5 percent decrease in profits—the team reported a loss of $3.1 million. Yet, when compared to the rest of the conference, BC sits at 11th, ahead of Miami, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, and Notre Dame.

The program’s revenue and expenses both totaled about $69.3 million. This is the fifth consecutive year that BC has not reported a profit from its Athletics Department. Pittsburgh is the only other program in the ACC that did not report a profit in 2014-15. Florida State turned the highest profit in the ACC at $23.6 million. The average profit of an ACC school was $5.55 million.

This is the fourth year that BC did not report institutional support for team revenue for its ticketed sports. Because of this policy, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s hockey, and football can reveal their actual profit figures. Every other varsity sport at BC is a non-ticketed event and therefore does not report a revenue or expense without including institutional support. That means that BC reports all sports (other than the four listed above) broke even whether or not they actually lost money. This is a common practice around the NCAA.

The Department of Education asks that schools report their financial information from between June 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015 by no later than Oct. 15, 2015. The schools do not have to report any financial information prior to that point.

The Equity in Data Athletics report also reveals that BC has the lowest salary per head coach—male or female sport—in the ACC. BC has the most female varsity sports in the conference, yet pays its coaches an average of $91,616. While this is $38,000 less than 14th-place Wake Forest, and half of the average female head coach salary of $182,080, it is a $4,000 increase from last season. The salary per male head coach at BC is $384,440, about $30,000 less than Notre Dame, the next closest team in the order. This is a 16.4 percent decrease from last season’s total of about $460,000, and is 419 percent more than the average female head coach salary. Much of this number is skewed heavily in favor of BC’s three male profit sport head coaches: Steve Addazio, Jim Christian, and Jerry York.  

There are 336 male athletes and 380 female athletes at Boston College, without duplication across sports. BC lags, however, in spending an equal amount on male and female athletes in recruiting. In 2014-15, BC spent $2,519 per male athlete, 11th-most in the ACC, and only 23 percent behind the conference average of $3,261—the program has the fifth-most athletes in the conference. By contrast, the department only spent $708 per female athlete, despite having the most female athletes in the ACC by a wide margin. This average is $400 less than 14th-place Virginia ($1,129), and is less than half of the ACC’s average spending on recruiting female athletes ($1,693). Spending on recruiting is a highly variable total per year. It often depends on how many needs schools have in a given year. Additionally, BC recruits most heavily in the New England area, and thus does not have to pay much in terms of travel when recruiting.

BC Athletics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Featured Image by Kelsey McGee / Heights Editor

New Ticketing Policies Will Limit Fan Access To Shea Field In 2015

Thousands of Boston College football fans gearing up to fry up burgers on Saturday afternoons at Shea Field may have to break their long standing traditions.

According to an email sent out by BC Athletics to Flynn Fund donors and season ticket holders this Saturday, procedures for pre-game activities on Shea Field during the football season will see significant changes. As has happened in previous seasons, fans will require a pass to enter Shea Field with a vehicle prior to football games to set up their tailgates. It is anticipated by BC Athletics that season ticket holders will need to donate at least $5,000 to the Flynn Fund for the opportunity to receive these passes. This is up from a donation of $3,500 to access Shea Field, the amount needed as recently as three seasons ago.

Unlike previous years, spots on the field will no longer be determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pass holders will now receive an assigned and numbered parking spot on the field. Selection for the position of these spots will be determined by a descending order of contribution.

The email states that it is BC Athletics’ belief that this “relieves the burden of meeting up with friends outside of campus to park near each other.” Steve Novak, associate athletics director of athletic development, said that donors can now reserve spots on the field next to families or friends with which they wish to tailgate. BC Athletics used several focus groups comprised of BC Gold Alumni in creating the new Shea Field regulations—according to Novak, this idea was the most appealing.

Shea Field pass holders may now distribute as many as 20 tickets to guests so that they can access the area prior to games. This amount is up from a system of 10 available wristbands per car implemented in 2014. Last season, non-wristband holders could also go onto Shea Field prior to games if it was under capacity. In 2015, walk-ons without a ticket will not gain access to the field regardless of the space.

Novak said that these measures were all done with the safety of fans in mind, especially during high demand games, such as the nationally televised game against defending ACC champion Florida State University on Friday, Sept. 21. Novak stated that this move was not reactionary to a dangerous situation from last season during a high demand game. Crowds at Shea Field for some of BC’s more attractive games—for example, last season against the University of Southern California—have reached alarming and potentially dangerous numbers. “We have reasonable suspicion that, given those crowds that you can visibly see during large contests in the past, this was something we needed to address,” Novak said.

“[Shea Field] is the one and only enclosed area that we have on campus and we need to be cognizant in the case of an emergency of what that might mean,” Novak said. “We had to address the ideas of overcrowding and the opportunities Boston College would put themselves and, more importantly, our fans at risk should a situation escalate to the point where an evacuation was necessary.”

Neither the BCPD nor the Newton and Boston Fire Departments—all of which have been involved in the development of these plans—have put an exact total of cars and patrons that Shea Field can hold during tailgates. Novak, however, expects “a comfortable number” albeit a “slightly higher attrition rate” of season ticket holders. This is likely the result of an undisclosed but expected rise in ticket prices, as well as the limitations on the number of fans that can join tailgates and the fewer number of cars that will be allowed on the field.

The University is in the process of creating additional areas for parking and entertainment for both the students and the general populace for the upcoming season, similar to the Superfan Zone introduced prior to the USC game. Novak could not comment on which plans will be implemented in the future—he said, however, that improving entertainment and hospitality on game day, along with upholding history, is very important to BC Athletics’ plans. “We recognize that continuing to build the pregame and in-game experience at BC Athletics is going to be paramount,” Novak said. “Not just in 2015 but well beyond.”

Despite the University’s efforts, however, BC Athletics does not expect universal praise for these new regulations, especially after the backlash following last season’s changes to the tailgating policies. “We recognize that Shea Field has long been a popular establishment on this campus and like all great cultures that have longstanding tradition in history, change will often be met with some challenges,” Novak said.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Senior Staff

Modifications To Gold Pass App In 2015-16, Lottery For Notre Dame Game

Ever since Boston College Athletics released its system for how donors will get a chance to watch the Eagles play the University of Notre Dame in their Fenway Park matchup on Nov. 21, one question has remained: how will students get tickets? On Wednesday, that answer got a little clearer.

Later this week, the Athletic Department will release its full plan for purchasing a Gold Pass for the 2015-16 school year. Once again, the Gold Pass will cost $199 and will give students full access to all BC sporting events, including football, hockey, and basketball.

Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletic director of External Operations, expressed his general satisfaction with the Gold Pass app’s success so far. “I think the atmosphere, the impact we’ve seen in the last two years, especially around the high-demand games, has been great,” DiLoreto said. He and Laurel Carter, assistant director of sports marketing, however, revealed that some changes will come to the app in 2015-16.

As happened this year, the sporting events will be divided into three tiers: high-demand, medium-demand, and low-demand games, with low-demand being the highest point total. Also like in 2014-15, certain games, such as the men’s hockey game against Boston University, will require a certain point total to attend. While Alumni Stadium has enough capacity to admit all Gold Pass owners for football games, DiLoreto suggested that more games in 2015-16 will require this incentive system, including BC men’s basketball’s matchup against Duke. He noted, however, that high-demand games shouldn’t be a problem for students. “Everyone who has wanted to go [to a high-demand game] has been able to,” DiLoreto said.

Starting this fall, BC Athletics will also implement a rollover system for the points a student accumulates over this season. Students will be split into four groups, with the top group starting next year with a certain number of points, followed by three subsequent groups with a decreasing number, according to Carter. This is a reversal of this year’s policy, which wiped everyone clean at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

The Gold Pass app’s developers have also narrowed the geo-fence by which a student’s smartphone can check into the game. The loose geo-fence created an unfair advantage for students on the Newton Campus, who could check into soccer and field hockey games from their dorms, as well as students who passed by Conte Forum or Alumni Stadium without actually going into the game. This was brought up last year, Carter says, causing an initial tightening of the geo-fence. A further decreasing of the size, Carter believes, will make checking in without attending a lot harder for students.

The system, however, is not without some kinks. The app’s developers have yet to figure out how to implement a system to determine how much time a student actually spends at the game (if any at all). BC Athletics will work to fix this problem over the summer, though a change does not look likely in this coming season. “This next year we most likely will not do length of stay just because [we] don’t want to implement something where we’re giving points to people but it’s not accurate,” Carter said.

BC Athletics could not give an accurate answer to how many students downloaded and used the Gold Pass app because of BC’s email system. Since each student is provided with two emails based on his or her name—for example, [email protected] and [email protected] students had trouble by creating two accounts with the app. This may explain some errors students had with an inconsistent amount of points they totaled over this year. According to Carter, because of this email system, there isn’t a way to fix this issue. To keep all of their points on the same account, “students just have to keep signing into the same [email],” Carter said.

Many in the Athletic Department also feel that some sports do not get as much attention as others based on how the Gold Pass is constructed. “The spring is probably where we need to invest more, with the end of season rewards,” said DiLoreto, who expressed BC’s desire to entice more fans to games of the spring sports like baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Building off the successes of giveaways, such as the Doug Flutie bobblehead and the panorama of Alumni Stadium, BC Athletics is also welcoming ideas for further incentives and prizes for high point totals.

In addition, the BC-Notre Dame game has added an extra wrinkle into the plans for this year. Despite being in Boston, the game is a Notre Dame home game. Therefore, BC is only allotted the ACC standard of 5,000 tickets out of the stadium’s near-38,000 seats for its fans. These will then be divided amongst students, alumni, and family and friends of the team. Three weeks ago, Steve Novak, associate athletic director of Athletic Development, stated that the department estimates that 3,600 to 3,800 tickets will be allotted for the “public,” which will largely consist of donors. That leaves about 1,200 to 1,400 for families of players and staff, and the general student population.

Students who purchase a Gold Pass by July 15, 2015 will be automatically entered into a lottery to receive the opportunity to purchase tickets to the BC-Notre Dame game. Tickets will be $50 or $125, based on sightlines within Fenway. Since the Gold Pass system can detect who has purchased it in previous years, the lottery will be weighted for seniority, according to DiLoreto and Carter—an unprecedented move for BC Athletics. “We did think this was important to benefit seniors and juniors,” Carter said.

Students who are not selected for the lottery will have the option to enter another lottery to attend a live watch party at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street, hosted by the BC Alumni Association. Tickets to this event will be either $25 or $50, depending on whether a student indicates they are interested in one or two tickets. Students may bring a guest who is not a holder of the Gold Pass to this event, but must indicate if either member of the party is at least 21 years of age. DiLoreto anticipates that there will be about 500 to 750 students who can attend this event.

Exact percentiles by grade for the ticket lottery have yet to be determined, and the amount of student tickets available to BC will not provided until July.

Featured Image by Daniel Lee / Heights Senior Staff