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Richmond to Patriot - Dead? Or Not?

A lot of words have been spilled about this over the past 24 hours, with upset Richmond players, fans, and alumni (if you beleive the Richmond boards) having mobilized thousands of signatures to talk to the trustees on whether Richmond should join the Patriot instead of the CAA in 2007.

Updating the press, the following showed up in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today:
Move won't pay?

In the article are half-truths about the Patriot League and Richmond's eligibility in the Patriot that should be debunked here:

If UR chooses to join the Patriot League in 2007, the Spiders would find themselves in an uncomfortable state of flux for several seasons. Richmond would remain an A-10 member in 2005 and 2006 with teams that could be affected in many ways by the change of the school's football philosophy.
Misleading. Many PL schools issue grant-in-aid which has the effect of being like scholarships. This implication that Richmond will all of a sudden have Siena-like recruiting classes is wrong.

In 2007, UR could begin Patriot League competition but probably wouldn't be eligible for that conference's championship until all Spiders scholarship players had exhausted their eligibility.

I am pretty sure that in 2007 Richmond could/would have a waiver. Holy Cross used to be a scholarship football school in the late '80s (as an independent) and were able to compete for the PL championship that year (which they won a few times). More recently, when Fordham went to the PL in basketball they had a team stacked with scholarships that represented the PL a couple years in the tournament.

The I-AA columnists I talked to are in effect "waiting and seeing" for Friday. If you believe the Richmond board and other bulletin boards, the vote won't even be taken on Friday since the president of Richmond himself said it won't go to a vote. If you beleive the folks I've been in touch with, it's still up to the feelings of the trustees tomorrow, and it should be an interesting vote.

I know nobody in Richmond. I do know the Patriot League presented to the trustees earlier this week and that there are a lot of Richmond fans and alumni that are really upset at what they see to be a steady slide of Richmond football into its final death. Although I can understand the fans' grief to some extent about lack of control over their football program, what is being said out there shows a real lack of understanding and disrespect for the Patriot League.

And anyone who thinks the Patriot League is just "phase one" of burying Richmond football should take their tin foil hats off for one second. Lehigh, Colgate, Fordham, Bucknell, and Lafayette have great programs that can stand toe-to-toe with anyone in the A-10/CAA - and have proven it. The Patriot League wants Richmond (should they accept membership) to challenge and win titles, not just sit back and watch their program self-destruct.

It's not up to me, but I think Richmond would be a great addition to the Patriot League. I just hope there's still a vote on the matter.


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