1445797260For the fourth year in a row, there was heartbreak on the court as the Hoyas lost to Virginia Commonwealth University in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday night. The loss leaves us wondering: Does the most high-profile athletic program on campus have what it takes to succeed, generate revenue and rally students in the seasons ahead?

The men’s team regularly faces schools that take a purely pragmatic approach to the sport. When basketball becomes a business, it requires quality facilities and wide flexibility in recruiting, both of which Georgetown currently lacks. State schools with lower academic requirements have the ability to recruit from a far larger talent pool.

As a result, basketball programs at such schools play a high-risk game that incurs costs but also rakes in the dough. Coaches are well paid — and are expected to win. If their teams do not meet the high standards set for them, the coaches’ careers are put on the line. Right or wrong, if Georgetown were to adopt this kind of mentality, Head Coach John Thompson III would have a lot more at stake; the Hoyas’ failure to pull through in a crunch would put his position in real jeopardy.

But Georgetown has historically demanded more from its basketball program than the huge fan bases and commercial successes of the average powerhouse enterprise. Its players are held to a higher academic standard in line with the school’s identity, and whether we win or lose, our coach represents a legacy. Would Georgetown ever leave behind “JTIII” for a coach with the win–at-all-costs approach of Rick Pitino, head coach of Louisville? Would Georgetown basketball, and the university on the whole, still retain its identity if we did?

For now, our legacy and fan base remain intact. But how long can they endure? The basketball program needs success to remain a source of pride and unity. A campus ready to rally requires a team to rally behind. Moving forward, Georgetown needs to re-evaluate the goals of its program and question whether the balance between commercial success and campus integrity can truly be met while the team pursues, and students demand, the success enjoyed four years ago.

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