Chu Chu Rah Rah received a message from a devoted Holy Cross alum, Dr. Joe Ciccone, MD, '97. With his permission, we are running it as a means of public petition for those who would like to endorse Joe's call to restore football scholarships at Holy Cross. Please attach your real name and any message you might like to share via the Comments box at the end of Joe's message. (Please know that all e-mail addresses are fully protected!!)
The petition will ultimately be delivered to the Holy Cross administration and Board of Trustees. Thank you Joe for your passion and your eloquence!!
Chu Chu Rah Rah!!
To: Members of the Holy Cross Football Community
From: Joe Ciccone, MD, ‘97
Re: Restoration of Football Scholarships
August 11, 2010
Successes in life are relative, and football is no different. For some, it means being All-League or All-American. For people like me, simply having had the chance to play on Fitton Field is one of the defining moments of my life. What unifies all of these experiences, whether grand or mediocre, is indefinable, but has something to do with what it means to “wear the purple.” It has to do with the type of men the program attracts, the life-long friendships that are forged, and the memories that are as vivid today as they were back then.
For alumni, the strength of that experience drives us to want to see it succeed at the highest possible level. This does not mean joining the Big East or ACC, but rather the ability to give the Holy Cross Football community the chance to dream once again. Practically speaking this may mean being able to restore the BC rivalry, playing Army or Navy regularly, or finding a way to fill the seats behind the far endzone during home games. Most agree that the program is already competitive at that level, but simply lacking in the recognition that goes along with being branded as a “scholarship program.” Anyone who saw last year’s team knows that the players are already scholarship quality.
Fitton Field remains a fantastic venue to watch fabulous student-athletes pouring their hearts and souls out for our Alma Mater. The young men that I saw gut it out against
last year to win the league championship deserved a packed house. The teams of the future deserve a chance to play in a conference with enough respect that at an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs is possible without having to win the league outright. If they do win the league, they deserve to be in a conference with enough respect that they are not immediately a 16 seed. It is my contention that HC should have played Villanova in the championship game last year not in the first round. It is the college’s duty to give the program a chance to prove that it is possible to be competitive athletically, even on a large scale, while still holding true to the highest of academic and Jesuit ideals. Lafayette
The counter-argument to scholarships that many people make revolves around a theory that athletic talent and academic ability are somehow inversely related. Not only is this a fallacy, but it is insulting to those that know firsthand that it is possible. The Holy Cross Gridiron Leadership Council chaired by Larry Doyle has helped sparked a renewed alumni enthusiasm in the program, and created an invaluable resource in the "90-Wide"Mentoring program. Rest assured, the Board can rely on the alumni, especially those involved in the mentoring program, to make sure that young men of the same character continue to come to the college year after year after the reinstitution of scholarships. They can also have confidence that we will support the players from day one, providing the guidance they need when times get tough, not only during their time on the hill, but also as they prepare to enter the professional world.
How then can Holy Cross achieve even greater levels of success both on and off the gridiron? Now is the time for the Holy Cross administration and the Board of Trustees to ‘dare to be great.’ Jesuit principles are not restricted to service to others but also incorporate the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of our lives. While Holy Cross Football specifically and Holy Cross Athletics in general have fabulous and rich traditions, we can not deny that there have been periods of real mediocrity. Although the issue of football scholarships for many may be purely a question of athletics and finances, I believe it goes much deeper than that. I sincerely believe Holy Cross Football can and should be viewed as a means to developing and strengthening the Holy Cross brand on a national level. How valuable is a dramatically enhanced brand to the college? That brand can and should embrace the Jesuit principles wrapped in a spirit of true competitiveness, real honor, and dynamic courage. Will the administration and board be courageous, pursue this brand, and strive for greatness? I strongly encourage them to take up the challenge and embrace the opportunity.
After 20 years, I think Holy Cross Football stands once again at the crossroads. The program is strong. The coach is world class. Pride is high. I urge the Board of Trustees and administration to look closely at what happened the last time it stood at these crossroads, and be brave and bold in taking a different path this time. Holy Cross Football does have a history and tradition unlike any other, and it deserves to be a shining example of all that is possible in collegiate athletics.
I urge the Board to have faith in this tradition, and the courage to allow it to serve as the framework for success on the next level. If any program can rise to the occasion, it is Holy Cross Football.
Respectfully,Joe Ciccone, MD, ‘97