The stat was passed around ad nauseam last week, after Boston College’s men’s basketball team’s season ended with a first-round loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament: The Eagles had gone a combined 0-27 in league play in men’s basketball and football in the 2015-16 school year.
The last time that happened in the ACC? Never.
The last time that happened in major Division I? 1976-77 (TCU).
The last time that happened in a Power-5 league? 1943-44 (Georgia).
So, what does this all mean? The Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler examined the issue over the weekend, talking to administrators, boosters and coaches to get to the heart of the matter.
Among Hohler’s findings: Many alumni see the school’s president, Rev. William P. Leahy, “as less exuberant about building elite sports programs than advancing the school’s academic excellence,” a criticism that doesn’t shield the board of trustees, with critics saying that the board has given Leahy too much power.
Some other reasons for the recent struggles, according to the story, point to circumstances surrounding football Tom O’Brien’s 2006 departure, mediocre recruiting and last year’s cost-of-attendance legislation, which BC was the only Power-5 school to vote against.
Of course, BC has had recent success in other sports, most notably its men's and women's hockey and soccer programs, along with field hockey. The athletic program's graduation rates are among the best in the nation.
“The unfortunate thing is, we have so many good things going on and they get camouflaged’’ by the failures in football and basketball, athletic director Brad Bates told the Globe.
What comes next, at least on the gridiron, should certainly be telling, as BC endured a miserable 3-9 season in 2015 that largely could be attributed to injuries and roster holes from the previous staff. But with back-to-back 7-6 seasons in 2013 and '14 to start the Steve Addazio era, there certainly is reason to believe that 2015 was more of an outlier than an ugly trend.