Capitalize on All Successes, Not Just Those in the Most Prominent Sports

July 24th, 2017 | by Francis Giknis
Capitalize on All Successes, Not Just Those in the Most Prominent Sports


It is news to no one that schools gain great national interest through success in men’s basketball and football. The profile of an institution can be raised significantly by achieving in these two sports. Case in point: check the admission statistics at universities that play in the men’s Final Four and major football bowl games. The dynamic is staggering.

Therefore, it is natural that schools annually pour millions of dollars into pursuing excellence in these sports. In fact, as much as twenty percent of some athletic budgets go towards football alone. However, while success at football and basketball can advance an institution and sustain a department, the type of success needed for that kind of marked growth is rare and often fleeting. Sustained greatness and dynastic reputations are few-and-far-between, despite dozens of universities pursuing them with a disproportionate ardor, both financial and philosophical.

While hitting it big in these “major” sports can be a significant windfall, some athletic departments must be sure they’re not wasting opportunities to promote successes already achieved but less nationally prominent. Quinnipiac University is attempting to do just that. Not known as an athletics powerhouse and lacking a football program, the Bobcats are doing all they can to gain notoriety with the sports at which they do excel. Leading DI in cumulative men’s hockey wins over the past five years and having success in a range of sports from men’s soccer to women’s golf, athletic director Greg Amodio described Quinnipiac as a “hidden gem.

Bringing light to this “hidden gem” is one of  Amodio’s biggest tasks right now and should be for all athletic directors at lesser-known schools that have found success. Needless to say, it is a daunting task. Without major television coverage for many of the smaller sports that universities dominate (did you know Quinnipiac had been in two national hockey championship games in the past five years?), getting the word out about strong athletic performance is not easy. Sports like cross country (UTEP won six national championships in seven years!) and field hockey (Old Dominion has the most national titles with nine in nineteen seasons) have been dominated by schools in a fashion that would bring national prestige if accomplished in basketball or football but bring carry little status at present.

Determining what the public appreciates and reveres in terms of athletic performance is outside the control of universities. However, if a department’s program is having success, regardless of its status in the eyes of national sports media or audiences, that department must take full advantage. Achievement, regardless of its field, always shines positively on a university, and athletic departments must be sure not to denigrate the accomplishments of the “non-prestige” sports.

About Francis Giknis
Francis Giknis joins College AD as a contributor after seven years of teaching and coaching throughout the east coast. Prior to writing for College AD, Francis earned an English degree from the College of William and Mary and his masters at Columbia University. Raised in a cable television-free household, he remembers binge-watching ESPN while on vacations away from home, much to the chagrin of his parents.

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