Fr. Leahy Discusses Athletics

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, met this week with administrators, faculty and students to discuss recent issues involving the role of athletics at Boston College, after releasing a statement updating investigations into illegal gambling activity on campus.

In his letter to the University community, Fr. Leahy also outlined the steps the University will take to resolve the matter of alleged student betting. This will include efforts, he said, to "learn why our standards and trust were violated in this way and to find ways to assure that these violations never recur."

In an interview published on the front page of the Nov. 24 Boston Sunday Globe , Fr. Leahy spoke about the gambling issue, as well as the University's decision to deny admission to two prospective basketball players.

Fr. Leahy said that while prospective student-athletes may meet the National Collegiate Athletic Association's minimum academic standards, "that doesn't mean they will be accepted or will succeed at Boston College." Decisions to admit students, he added, are based on their entire records, including interviews and recommendations.

The meetings with academic deans, faculty members and student groups were held to clarify the University's institutional values and character, and the relationship between its athletic program and academic mission, Fr. Leahy said.

In the Globe interview, Fr. Leahy said that Boston College is "first and foremost an institution committed to higher education." He added, "I want excellence in academics, excellence in athletics, and I think that's doable."

In his letter to the BC community, Fr. Leahy said the internal review committee he appointed earlier this month to investigate allegations of gambling among some members of the football team and other students is evaluating its findings, as well as those of the Middlesex County District Attorney's recently completed inquiry.

Thirteen student-athletes were suspended from the football team on Nov. 6 and Fr. Leahy said the University will announce the committee's recommendations "as soon as these are known." He added that he will ask members of the University community "for help in determining appropriate responses to the committee's report."

Fr. Leahy also told the Globe that Boston College would make clear to students that gambling is "unacceptable." This could be achieved, he said, through changes in student orientation, the student handbook, programming in campus residences and in the curriculum itself.

"I know that Boston College's good name is important to each of you," Fr. Leahy wrote. "It is important to me as well, and as president I will do all I can not only to safeguard BC's reputation but to enhance it."

Return to Nov. 27 menu

Return to Chronicle home page