Because I will. Occasionally I read the CAAzone.com postings and as you can see, they are one of my links on the site. Often there are good points made in the postings, and often well there are bad ones. Well in the last couple of days there has been this interesting discussion on CAAZone.com. It stems from the fact that Hofstra turned down both the CBI and CIT tournaments. A letter was sent out by the Pride to Pride Club members by Director of Athletics Jack Hayes and Head Coach Tom Pecora stating that Hofstra's intention was to play in the NIT and not in the CBI and CIT. Being a Pride Club member, I got one of those.
Well, this has brought out a lot of heat on the Hofstra Pride board section of CAAZone.com. A lot of people are complaining that Hofstra should have played because it would have given them good experience to "play against some Big conference teams like Stanford, Wyoming, Oregon State" as one person noted. Or, as another posting on the site noted "Since HU joined the CAA... they have no NCAA tourney appearances, ODU has two. Which team accepted a CBI bid, and which team felt too good to take one?" Or my favorite quote of all below.
"It would be like a MAC school refusing to participate in a lesser bowl like the New Orleans Bowl because they expected to get in a New Year's Day bowl."
Ok, let's get some things straight here. First, if you are a regular reader of this site, I am as impartial to Hofstra as one can possibly be. I have taken the team to task often for its play, and I am the author of the phrase "Pulling a Hofstra", which is a certain kind of play at the end of a close game.
That being said, I feel an incredible need to defend Hofstra on its decision not to play in either the CBI or the CIT. And I have the talking points needed to prove that.
1) As I noted in a previous post, to host at least ONE game in the CBI costs $60,000. And I learned after that post, that to host at least ONE game in the CIT costs $28,000. Folks during economic times like this, it's really hard to justify paying that kind of money for the sake of playing games. More on that in a second.
2) To refute the post above, its not like a MAC school turning down a bowl game. You don't have to pay to go to a bowl game. If you are fortunate enough to be invited to a bowl game, that bowl PAYS the school money to go to a bowl game. Why do you think it has been so difficult to get a playoff system in college football?!!! Because schools GET money to go to bowl games. Here with the CIT and CBI, you have to PAY to go to postseason game. BIG DIFFERENCE!
2) I can tell you from working at Hofstra, Hofstra spent a lot of money for the October Presidential Debate, prior to the economic downturn. The Presidential Debate Commission required a lot of things for a school to host a debate and Hofstra wisely spent on that. The press Hofstra got for that debate was immeasurable. Hofstra was in the news for days, hell weeks. In fact, I can guarantee you that the CNN Anderson Cooper broadcast from outside Hofstra Hall on Thursday of this week was due mainly to Hofstra holding the debate in October.
3) What press is Hofstra really going to get by playing in the CBI and CIT right now? The NCAA tournament is going on and the NIT gets broadcasted on ESPN. What's the CBI on right now? HDNET I think. How many of you get HDNET? Seriously.
4) To be brutally honest, even if Hofstra was on the fence about hosting a game in this tournament, with the NCAA and NIT going on, how many people would attend the game? Let me put it to you another way. How many people attended the ODU vs Hofstra game at the Mack Arena on February 10 which was NATIONALLY TELEVISED ON ESPNU? The game attendance was 2241. That was a midseason conference game against one of Hofstra's most hated rivals in the CAA, always guaranteed to be a good game, and they couldn't even get the Mack Arena half full for that. What makes you think that they would get 4000 for a game midweek vs. Rider?!
5) As for the experience factor playing Stanford, Oregon State etc. Hello, half the Hofstra team is graduating. There are seven new recruits coming in the fall. It does Hofstra no good to get experience now when basically the half team leaves. The seven new players coming in need the experience, not Zygis Sestokas who will be playing back in Lithuania next season. Plus 32 games during the season is enough experience for those remaining.
6) Hofstra wasn't the only team that turned down the CBI and CIT. Cincinatti (who played in the CBI last season), UALR, Vanderbilt, Seton Hall, VMI, Miami of Ohio, Wright State, Mississippi and several others turned down both as well.
7) Finally, I will say this. A friend of mine very aptly put it. "It's games for the sake of games". You are paying sixty grand or twenty-eight grand per game for what? So that you can say you beat the leftovers of the NIT? Seriously, that money can be better spent for example on recruiting that next big player in 2010-11, or financing a preseason tournament trip to say the Charleston Classic or the Great Alaskan Shootout. Tournaments with real big conference teams in them (again the inaugural Charleston Classic had THREE out of the eight teams there make the NCAA tournament. Not bad).
And finally, lay off Tom Pecora and Jack Hayes. They are not responsible for the monetary decisions at Hofstra. And Hofstra like Seton Hall, Cinci and the other universities mentioned made wise monetary decisions. Remember, they are just that, "universities". In a time of a very difficult economic situation, money can be better spent than on just "games for the sake of games."
Hofstra had a nice season, 21-11. They just weren't good enough for the NIT. They have a good future with probably one of the two best returning players in the CAA coming back for two more seasons in Charles Jenkins (ODU's Gerald Lee the other). A seemingly good recruiting class. If you're a Hofstra basketball fan, appreciate the season you had and hope for a good future. The future isn't going to change because you're not in the CIT or CBI. Trust me on that.