The New York Times recently took a look at all the top athletic programs in the country looking in depth at the athletic program at the University of Florida. They have seen a major boost to athletic funding over the last couple of years including building a 15 million dollar women’s lacrosse facility that hadn’t played a game yet. Foley is the same guy that fired current Arizona head coach Andy who averaged 40 victories a season over seven seasons, winning two Southeastern Conference championships and appearing in five N.C.A.A. tournaments and two College World Series. He also fired Pat McMahon after going 202-113-1 in six seasons including an appearance in the 2005 CWS Championship Series.
So how does this tie in with baseball? Jeremy Foley is one of the athletic directors in the country that has a bonus related to the Directors Cup which awards the national best program. If Florida finishes in the Top 10 in the country then he receives a $50,000 bonus. Jeremy cares personally if he programs are winning or losing since it will hurt him in the wallet if the teams continue to lose or help him there if they win. The full New York Times article is available by clicking here.
I saw last year down at the Norwich Regional a substantial divide between the four schools competing. Florida State, Oregon, and UConn were well off in having everything put together for it from media guides to what each uniforms each team brought. The interesting part was Central Connecticut State who really had no real media guide and only two uniform tops. CCSU Coach Charlie Hickey stated when asked about what uniforms his team brought with them that “We have two uniforms, white tops and white pants and blue tops and white pants. The team washes them after the game too.” It was an odd moment as you could tell that there was a major difference between the commitment level from CCSU to Florida State.
In my opinion, the gap between the haves and the have-nots needs to shrink and not get bigger if we want a more representative college athletic experience. What do you think?