Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aggie athletics: a train wreck that's happened

The WAC not sponsoring football in 2013 shouldn't come as a surprise to many if anyone, nor should Aggie football playing independently in 2013.

League commissioner Jeff Hurd essentially said such last month at the WAC media conference, and confirmed it once again this week.

For the Aggies, it's not a train wreck waiting to happen, it's a train wreck that's happened.

To a certain degree, it seems like an act of fate, the perfect storm at the worst possible time for the athletics department.

A lousy geographic location as it pertains to conference realignment, in a small market, sandwiched between two rivals — New Mexico and UTEP — that really haven't helped NMSU's cause in the conference chase.

Sadly enough, NMSU hasn't been horrible on the playing field — quite the opposite, actually.

Outside of football, where the Aggies have a fine head coach in DeWayne Walker and could push for a bowl game this year, the school has held its own in recent years.

Heck, they went to an NCAA baseball regional this past year. Men's basketball has been to two NCAA Tournaments the past three years, and softball won the WAC two years ago.

We know about Aggie volleyball — a top-two team in the WAC and an NCAA Tournament contender that looks to be loaded again in 2012, and a possible front-runner in the conference.

The school has been in the top-half of the WAC Commissioner's Cup the last handful of years, and academically NMSU athletics has been solid. Players have walked a straight line away from their respective sports. A tip of the hat must go to NMSU coaches, who deserve better.

Apparently, none of the aforementioned factors matter much at all in this instance. For all intents and purposes, the Aggies conference conundrum is enough to cause nausea.

The reality in this frustrating and vicious cycle, is that not all the answers are present to everyone, although clearly one could say the leadership contingency at the school has fallen short.

We all have jobs to do, and the administration's job is to make sure their athletics program is not in this position. That their football program is protected and their non-football sports have a conference to call home. This isn't asking a lot, nor is it outside such job descriptions or requirements, rather should be central on the agenda.

Of course, Athletics Director McKinley Boston is going to take many of the bullets in this, not saying that isn't rightfully so.

Again, he is the athletics director, and this nightmare has come under his watch.

We also know Boston's strengths and weaknesses at this point as an AD — a good man who can come off as a poor fit in this community, one who isn't a knee-jerk reactionary. Such a quality lends itself to hiring and retaining good coaches, something he's done a fine job of while at NMSU, which has helped the program keep its head above water on the field. But it has backfired badly during the conference realignment era, at a time when his department desperately needed another approach. Simply staying the course and trying to rebuild the WAC was something NMSU was doing, while many of their rivals, apparently, were not.

With all that being said, we would be remiss and short-sighted if we wrote that Boston's hands haven't been tied.

Yes, from a leadership standpoint Boston deserves half the blame, but lets not give Barbara Couture a pass in this respect either.

She's equally as involved as the school's president, as well as the chair of the WAC. Read that again if you must, but it's been a painful coincidence as the past year's events have unfolded.

Simply ask yourself this question: If former president Mike Martin were still in place at NMSU right now, would the Aggies be in this position? I'll go out on a limb and say ‘no,’ that the university would have kept itself out of harms way the best it could have. Martin was here when the Aggies initially entered the WAC, and invested heavily into athletics. He believed the athletics department was the front porch of the university, and wanted the porch looking the best it could for potential suitors. In all likelihood, he wouldn't have accepted this situation as it were.

There is a dark cloud hovering overhead going into NMSU's 2012-13 sports year, where every day the news seems to get worse. At a time when people should be excited about the new year kicking off, all the talk is about the train wreck that is Aggie athletics.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

NMSU has been in this position before, when the Big West dropped football in 2000. NMSU moved East to the Sun Belt Conference with the hope of returning to it's time zone in a few years.

The difference between 2000 & now?
We had the right leadership in place with a vision and more importantly...the HUEVOS to get things done!!

I can understand that we've struggled in football but, our other Olympic sports are more than respectable and now they will play Seattle & Denver every other week?! Absolutely un-acceptable!!

Our lack of leadership is the sole reason we are in this position!!

I can't wait until the FB season starts so, I can give Boston & Couture a piece of my mind!!
Yes, I will be at Boston's end zone party and he will get an earfull!
Touchdown Taylor is going to be a busy man escorting rabid fans this year!!


Arthur said...

It's easy to finger point and blame the administration for the predicament we're in, but the "fans" are just as much to blame. How much easier would it be to sell NMSU if every football and basketball game were sold out. The fan base is just not there. Don't know why. Always loved watching the Aggies play but it's disappointing seeing AMS and the Pan Am at less than half full.

Anonymous said...

It's like when you go to a doctor and you are told that you have a month to live,you accept reality and buy a plot up on boot hill.

Anonymous said...

Yes & no.

-2009 Boise st. anounces it's leaving the WAC
- 2010 Nevada, Fresno, & Hawaii announces they too are leaving the WAC
-2011 The WAC signs UTSA & Texas St
-2012 Karl Benson leaves the WAC for the Sun Belt taking Texas St. with him...UTSA, SJSU, Utah St. & LaTech announce they are leaving the WAC.

The only time Boston & Co. made a move was after Karl Benson left in May. 2-3 years too late!!

Come game day. If I see Boston or Couture riding around their golf carts. Hide your children because I can cuss with the best of them!!!

Anonymous said...

You guys act like Boston didn't attempt to do anything. I guarantee you that Boston and others tried like heck to get NMSU into a football conference. I think heads would be rolling if this didn't happen. Fact is nobody wants us. We don't have anything that would provoke a conference to say Hey NMSU we want you. For years I've been telling people that you need to come to the football games or we will die a slow death. Well say hello to a slow death.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 5:25
The slow death is a cancer by the name of McKinley Boston!!!

I've reading the LC Sun news the past couple of days. Coach Walker want's a competitive schedule, "not 6-9 BCS teams."

For years we've been wondering why we continue to play those body bag games when the fans keep asking for games against MWC, Sun Belt, or C-USA teams... these are teams we can compete with!!

However, the CANCER, AKA, Boston. Will continue to schedule those BCS teams. Injuries to our team be damned!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:25,

What a crock. Boston is the lead singer for that not-so-popular 80s band, "Asleep at the Switch."

The time for Boston to jump on the plane and find a football conference was the minute Boise announced. Boston should have been mapping the next move for the Aggies, planning where the school would land. Instead of making a plan, we got nothing. We heard, "we'll add more teams." We got, "we'll be fine." Well, guess what, we're not fine.

NMSU administration failed big time, there's no other conclusion. Those temporary employees who will move on to the next place in a few years, and not the ones who have made Las Cruces their home, they let us down.

It's just plain sad.

ShowLow said...

Good assessment on the pres as well. I think something missing is some blame of inaction by boosters, fans and regents. Frankly they all should be knocking down the doors of the administration demanding action. At the very least the president needs to get off the notion that the wac is savable. Sorry if I don't buy the Boston apologetics position that he has done anything to help. It just doesn't make any sense that even the sunbelt wouldn't take NMSU in football. Why either Boston turned them down or he pissed off karl benson, or both. Boston is not liked in the AD fraternity, wake up aggie fans, as long as boston is AD aggie football, and perhaps the whole program is all but dead.

Anonymous said...

Arthur & Anon. 5:25,
While you may have a certain point.
The real reason we are in this situation is NMSU's loyalty to the dying WAC.

ABC 7 had a live TV interview w/ Boston over the weekend. When asked about the future of NMSU & the WAC he replied, "we are trying to re-strengthen the WAC."

Only an idiot believes the WAC can be brought back to life??!!

To all of you Boston & Couture defenders.
Do you honestly believe the WAC still has a future? Short sightedness and lack of vision are the main reason for this predicament!


Anonymous said...

This is an honest & damn good write up.

Barbara Couture is in her 2nd yr as WAC Chair person. It's not by chance that the WAC and NMSU became a rotting carcass under her watch!!

Your right. Boston's job as AD is to secure the future for our teams.
He fell aleep at the wheel in doing so!

Boston/ Couture are the worst AD/ President tandem in the 125yr history of NMSU!!

Anonymous said...

Give him his retirement,buy out his contract and send him packing.

Oh wait I forgot,they're broke.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many turned down the WAC chair position before Couture accepted? And I bet she accepted based on a enthusiastic recommendation from Boston. What's sad is the effort put in by our student athletes and coaches, and this is their reward. They are nothing more than collateral damage thanks to our loser AD and president.
-Aggie Glare

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many Football player will turn and run after this season, because of all this.