Where does Virginia Tech Athletics and Football in Particular, go?
Ah yes! It is 2022, finally. A new year brings some major changes to the athletic department, and some massive changes to the football program. The first tranche of the big multi-tens of millions of dollars for the monetary campaign is about to be delivered to Whit Babcock. Undoubtedly a large percentage of that will be headed to the football program, though a major renovation of Cassell Coliseum is supposed to start soon, as well. We won’t talk much of the aesthetics of the proposed changes to Cassell. Well, not any more than to gripe that the urban high-rise class look is hardly classic, and though not Brutalist concrete ‘box-ish’ hardly does any really appealing update to, now ancient Cassell Coliseum.
The monetary changes coming to the football program are being counted on to push the capital investment in the program out of the ACC basement. Nobody is fooling anybody at this point. When your football program is financed in the lower half of a basketball conference you have some serious deficits to make up if you want to be more than a mid-major program with high levels of artificial self-confidence. Whit Babcock looks like he’s working to fix that, but with everyone else doing the same thing, the scale changes are unlikely to demonstrate much difference. Systems are dynamic, not static, and any program in the ACC wanting to be ‘football relevant’ are going to be pushing more money into those organizations.
Probable Administrative Changes
By sheer weight of monetary influence, the head football coach is often the muscle behind the loose organization of coaches in the department. There is never much said about the reality that there is competition between sports for scarce dollars for facilities, coaching staff, and scholarship support. Athletic Directors pick and choose who gets what and how much; but there is undoubtedly some serious competition for those funds within the entire athletic department. The active competition for the increased funding is undoubtedly fierce.
Virginia Tech does not fully compete in the ACC, we have no hockey team, no field hockey team, no men’s lacrosse team, and no gymnastics. Football and Men’s basketball dominate the revenue and donation flow. Though the current configuration of the department won’t change much, there will certainly be major changes to the administration and balance between programs. The COVID seasons have adversely affected the bottom line, and support staff was cut beyond the level of pain. Look to see Whit try to recover some of that but understand that the funds will still be relatively slim due to the coaching change in the football program.
As far as the main support staff, those positions get posted on Hokie Sports and we anticipate that there will be some churn. Some of the positions are football related and funded. The head coach has lots to say about them, but most of the administrative staff reports to the Athletic Director, not the head coach. It will be interesting to see what turns over and what remains intact.
Where is the King Sport Headed?
Football is the king in nearly every program fielding a team in that sport. The revenue flow from that sport is critical to many other programs so the Athletic Director is going to be relatively cautious about stiffing the program for funds and personnel.
The beginning of 2022 presents us all in Hokie Nation with a series of challenges because a floundering football program is going to negatively impact more than football. We all understand the massive change that is underway with the hiring of Brent Pry, and the massive loss of personnel at the end of 2021; or do we? Let’s look at some of the issues that are cropping up, and some of the challenges that we will face as a fanbase to go with what will be serious readjustments within the football program itself.
In order to keep this readable, we’ll chop it up into separate articles covering each topic of the changes and what we might realistically expect. In the first article, we’ll look at the obvious debate going on about the quality of the hire, and the public relations situation. The second we’ll look at the player personnel issue to see, not what we lost, but who we are going to need. In that third, and final article, we’ll tackle the most prickly and difficult part of this transition; namely Hokie Nation and what we need to do to make this transition and rebuild better for all.
So, how are you feeling about 2022’s sports outlook?
This poll is closed
Both basketball teams fine, football meh...
There is always hope left. I hear the wrestlers and swimmers are good.
Pry’s going to be great. Things are looking up for football, and I’m excited.
On Football, I’m from Missouri... Get to me in March about basketball... the rest, yawn.
We still have men’s and women’s basketball – mild alarms are sounding on the men’s team, so we need to pay some attention to that. The women are blazing and deserve better coverage so we will be going there, and often. Later we’ll have softball and baseball starting up. We will be covering both sports.
Be thinking about reading and responding as we start laying out the issues in the restart of the football program.