Updating history: attendance at Johnson Hagood Stadium, 1964-2015

As always, home attendance is never far away from the thoughts of the person responsible for this blog. This year’s review of last season’s attendance follows.

Attendance at Johnson Hagood Stadium, 1964-2015

The above link is to a spreadsheet that tracks attendance for The Citadel’s home football games, and which has now been updated to include the 2015 campaign.

For anyone wondering, 1964 marks the earliest year in which reliable attendance figures for all home games can be reasonably determined. Individual game totals prior to 1964 are sometimes available, but not for a complete season.

Thus, I am unable to include seasons like the title-winning campaign of 1961, or any of the other years from 1948 (when the “modern” Johnson Hagood Stadium opened) to 1963 (when the home finale was attended by the former king of Italy, Umberto II).

The spreadsheet lists year-by-year total and average game attendance, and the win/loss record for the team in each given season. There is also a category ranking the years by average attendance.

Other columns refer to the program’s winning percentage over a two-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year period, with the “current” season being the final year in each category. For example, the three-year winning percentage for 1992 is made up of the 1990, 1991, and 1992 seasons.

I include those categories primarily to see what impact constant winning (or losing) has on long-term attendance trends. Last year, I wrote:

…the numbers seemed to suggest that a good season tends to drive walk-up sales more than might be expected, particularly compared to season ticket sales for the following campaign. It is also true that due to The Citadel’s struggles on the gridiron over the last two decades, it is hard to draw hard-and-fast conclusions about what the school’s attendance goals should actually be in this day and age.

I think that was borne out again in 2015, though there are obvious sample size issues. For the first two home games of the season (night games versus Davidson and Western Carolina), the average attendance was 8,356. For the final two games at Johnson Hagood Stadium last season (day games against Mercer and VMI), average attendance was 12,465.

Of course, one of those late-season games was Homecoming, so I decided to go back four more seasons:

  • 2014: First two home games, average attendance of 9,700; final two home games, average attendance of 9,563 (including Homecoming)
  • 2013: First two home games, average attendance of 13,370; final two home games, average attendance of 12,948 (including Homecoming)
  • 2012: First two home games, average attendance of 13,281; final two home games, average attendance of 13,715 (including Homecoming)
  • 2011: First two home games, average attendance of 12,756; final two home games, average attendance of 12,387 (including Homecoming)

During the seasons in which The Citadel finished with winning records (9-4 in 2015 and 7-4 in 2012), home attendance improved over the year, albeit not by a lot in 2012.

There was a similar attendance boost in 2007, when the Bulldogs also finished with a winning record (7-4). I am hesitant to put a great deal of stock in that increase, though, due to a wide variation in the quality of opponents (and the resulting fan interest level for the matchup).

The Citadel beat Webber International 76-0 in the second home game that season before 8,547 diehard supporters. I suspect that if the game had been scheduled later in the year, there wouldn’t have been much difference in the total attendance.

The Bulldogs were 5-7 in both 2013 and 2014, and 4-7 in 2011. That lack of on-field success is arguably reflected in the attendance totals.

Of course, it has to be mentioned that attendance in 2014 was at its lowest point in the 52 years that comprehensive records have been kept. While last year was an improvement, 2015 still ranked only 47th out of the seasons in that 52-year period.

The average attendance at Johnson Hagood Stadium since 1964 is 14,164. However, there have now been ten consecutive years in which that number has not been reached for a season attendance average.

The folks in the ticket office continue to work hard at increasing sales for the general public. The most recent example of this is a Groupon promotion.

Not that anyone in the department of athletics needs me to say this, but I think it’s worth noting that The Citadel cannot afford to relax its sales push once the season begins. Attendance for late-season home contests can’t be taken for granted, regardless of the team’s record or if a particular game is scheduled on Homecoming weekend.

Let’s take a quick look at attendance from the viewpoint of the FCS as a whole (including the SoCon).

Link to NCAA attendance figures for the 2015 season

Montana led the division in average home attendance, with 24,139 (seven games, including the playoffs; all of these numbers include postseason contests). Eight FCS schools averaged more than 18,000 per game, with a significant dropoff after that (the ninth-highest, Delaware, averaged 15,826).

The Citadel ranked 22nd overall (10,678), just behind Mercer (10,692). Chattanooga (25th, averaging 10,152) and Western Carolina (26th, averaging 10,119) were other Southern Conference schools that finished in the Top 30.

Others of varying interest among the 125 FCS squads (counting Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word, which are transitioning to the division, but not Charlotte, which is moving to FBS):

  • Jacksonville State — 2nd (20,598 per game)
  • Yale — 3rd (20,547)
  • James Madison — 4th (19,498)
  • Montana State — 5th (19,172)
  • Liberty — 6th (18,990)
  • North Dakota State — 7th (18,497)
  • South Carolina State — 10th (15,629)
  • Harvard — 17th (12,799)
  • Eastern Kentucky — 23rd (10,350)
  • William & Mary — 33rd (8,967)
  • Kennesaw State — 35th (8,820)
  • Coastal Carolina — 36th (8,818)
  • Richmond — 45th (8,099)
  • Elon — 46th (7,841)
  • East Tennessee State — 55th (7,128)
  • Wofford — 58th (7,007)
  • Furman — 60th (6,795)
  • Villanova — 61st (6,767)
  • Samford — 79th (5,544)
  • VMI — 90th (4,778)
  • Charleston Southern — 96th (4,487)
  • Gardner-Webb — 100th (3,882)
  • Presbyterian – 102nd (3,810)
  • Jacksonville — 104th (3,580)
  • Davidson — 113th (2,758)
  • Duquesne — 125th (1,372)

Odds and ends:

– Duquesne, a playoff team last year, ranked last in the division in home attendance.

– Furman finished behind Wofford in home attendance, the second consecutive season that has happened.

– Montana’s home attendance average was higher than 41 FBS programs, including every single school in the Sun Belt and the MAC. It was higher than the average home attendance for the Mountain West and C-USA.

– Montana State may have only had the second-best home attendance in its own state, but that was still higher than 17 FBS programs.

– The Citadel had a higher home attendance average than three FBS schools — Georgia State, Ball State, and Eastern Michigan (which averaged only 4,897 fans per game).

Undergraduate enrollment for those three institutions: 32,842 (Georgia State), 18,621 (Eastern Michigan), and 16,652 (Ball State).

– The decision of the Sun Belt to extend a membership invitation to Coastal Carolina instead of Liberty was definitely not based on money, and it clearly wasn’t based on fan support either, if football attendance is any guide.

– For those curious, without the home playoff game last season Charleston Southern would have averaged 3,694 per home contest.

– Despite declining attendance numbers at Johnson Hagood Stadium, The Citadel has still finished in the Top 30 of FCS attendance in each of the last ten years. I think that’s pretty good for a small military college.

While there has been a bit of angst concerning attendance (or lack thereof) at home games in recent years, it has to be remembered that The Citadel still enjoys a wildly greater level of support than would normally be the case for a school of its size — both in terms of undergraduate enrollment, and alumni base.

Sometimes, that gets lost in the shuffle. For example, I distinctly remember at least two members of the local media cohort who forgot that last season.

Football season is getting closer…


During the 2016 season, what teams will the Bulldogs’ opponents play before (and after) facing The Citadel?

That’s right, it’s time for the annual July topic. In this post, I take a look at football schedules, and note which teams The Citadel’s opponents face before and after playing the Bulldogs. Sometimes, of course, the answer is “bye”.

Let’s review…

September 1 (Thursday): The Citadel’s first game of the season is a road conference matchup with Mercer. The game will be played on Thursday night, the first time I can recall the Bulldogs not opening the season on a Saturday.

As the opener for both teams, obviously neither will have faced a prior opponent this year. Mercer’s last game was a 47-21 home loss to Samford to close out the 2015 campaign.

After playing The Citadel, the Bears will prepare for another triple option team — Georgia Tech. It will be the first time the schools have met on the gridiron since 1938 (and the first game for Mercer against an FBS opponent since it restarted its football program in 2013).

September 10: Furman makes the trip to Charleston to face the Bulldogs. The Paladins open their 2016 season on Friday night (September 2), travelling to East Lansing for a meeting with Michigan State (the first time Furman has ever played a Big 10 team in football).

The Paladins’ home opener is on September 17, versus Chattanooga. It is the only one of FU’s first four games that will take place in Greenville, as Furman will play at Coastal Carolina on September 24.

September 17: The Citadel makes the journey to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, for a Bulldogs-vs.-Bulldogs battle.

It will be Gardner-Webb’s only home game in the month of September. The Runnin’ Bulldogs open with road games at Elon and Western Carolina before playing The Citadel, and will venture into the world of the MAC on September 24 for a contest against Ohio.

September 24: This is the open week for The Citadel. I’ll be on vacation myself. No, that isn’t a coincidence.

October 1: The Bulldogs will be in Cullowhee on the first day of October, tangling with Western Carolina. Both teams will be coming off a bye week.

WCU plays East Tennessee State in Johnson City on September 17. The game against The Citadel will be the first of two straight home contests for the Catamounts, as they play Wofford on October 8.

Western Carolina has FBS bookends on its schedule this year. WCU opens its season with a game versus East Carolina. There will be plenty of purple in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that night.

The Catamounts will conclude regular-season action with a trip to Columbia for an SEC-SoCon Challenge game against South Carolina. Will the local alt-weekly refer to the game as a “cupcake” matchup? I’m guessing it will not.

October 8: After almost a month away from Johnson Hagood Stadium, The Citadel returns home for a Parents’ Day game against North Greenville.

The Crusaders are at home on October 1, facing Mars Hill. After playing The Citadel, the next game for North Greenville is a road matchup versus Tusculum.

October 15: The Bulldogs play Chattanooga in Charleston on this date. The Mocs are at home for both their prior game (Mercer) and the contest that follows (VMI).

After playing eight SoCon games in nine weeks, Chattanooga finishes its regular season campaign with a non-conference clash against Alabama.

October 22: The Citadel faces Wofford in Spartanburg. The Terriers have a bye on October 15. The week following the game against the Bulldogs, Wofford hosts Mercer.

The Terriers open the season with two road games. Wofford plays Mississippi in the second of those contests.

October 29: The Bulldogs play East Tennessee State in the next-to-last home game of the season. The Buccaneers don’t have a bye the week before, but will get a couple of extra days of preparation, as ETSU hosts West Virginia Wesleyan on Thursday, October 20.

East Tennessee State is at Mercer the week following its trip to Johnson Hagood Stadium. ETSU finishes the season with two home games, against Cumberland (yes, the Cumberland of 222-0 fame) and Samford.

November 5: Samford is the Homecoming opponent for The Citadel this year. With the possible exception of Furman, none of the military college’s other opponents has a tougher task the week prior to facing The Citadel. Samford has a matchup at Mississippi State on October 29.

On November 12, Samford holds its own Homecoming game against Mercer.

November 12: The battle for the coveted Silver Shako resumes once again on November 12, this time in Lexington, Virginia. VMI plays at Western Carolina the week before, and concludes its regular season with a game at Wofford the week following this game.

November 19: There will be lots of light blue in Chapel Hill on November 19, as The Citadel comes to town to face North Carolina. The Tar Heels are at Duke on November 12, and have another rivalry game the following week, versus North Carolina State (with that game taking place on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day).

A couple of observations about the schedule:

– Mercer wound up as a de facto “travel partner” of sorts for The Citadel this season. The Bears play Chattanooga the week before the Bulldogs do. Following that, there are three consecutive weeks in which a team will play Mercer the week after playing The Citadel (those three squads being Wofford, East Tennessee State, and Samford).

– As far as “option preview” situations are concerned…

Western Carolina and VMI both face Wofford the week after playing The Citadel. Only two league teams (Samford and East Tennessee State) play Wofford before matchups with The Citadel; both play the Terriers several weeks before meeting the Bulldogs.

North Carolina will play Georgia Tech two weeks before hosting The Citadel in Chapel Hill. North Greenville has a meeting with Lenoir-Rhyne a few weeks before playing The Citadel, but L-R (which has a new head coach) is moving to a more balanced offense after several years running the triple option.

Football season is getting closer…

Preseason football ratings and rankings, featuring The Citadel (and the rest of the SoCon)

Hey, let’s look at preseason rankings and ratings!

First up, some rankings…

I went to my local Barnes & Noble to check out some preseason magazines. Not all of them include a section for FCS teams, but a few do.

The Sporting News has The Citadel in its preseason Top 25, at #21. However, TSN thinks the Bulldogs will only finish 3rd in the Southern Conference:

1 – Chattanooga (#8 in the Top 25)
2 – Wofford (#19 in the Top 25)
3 – The Citadel (#21 in the Top 25)
4 – Samford
5 – Mercer
6 – Western Carolina
7 – Furman
8 – VMI
9 – East Tennessee State

Lindy’s only has one SoCon team in its top 25 (Chattanooga is ranked 11th). The magazine’s projected conference standings look like this:

1 – Chattanooga
2 – Western Carolina
3 – Mercer
4 – The Citadel
5 – Samford
6 – Wofford
7 – Furman
8 – VMI
9 – East Tennessee State

Athlon doesn’t have an FCS section in its magazine, but its online presence does have an FCS Top 25. The Citadel is ranked 10th in that preseason poll (UTC is #7).

Last season, I started to incorporate the Massey Ratings into my weekly previews as the season progressed. For the uninitiated, a quick primer on this ratings system:

Ken Massey is a math professor at Carson-Newman whose ratings system was used (with several others) for fifteen years by the BCS. He has ratings for a wide variety of sports, but most of the attention surrounding his work has been focused on college football.

A quick introduction of the Massey Ratings, from its website:

The Massey Ratings are designed to measure past performance, not necessarily to predict future outcomes…overall team rating is a merit based quantity, and is the result of applying a Bayesian win-loss correction to the power rating.

…In contrast to the overall rating, the Power is a better measure of potential and is less concerned with actual wins-losses.

…A team’s Offense power rating essentially measures the ability to score points. This does not distinguish how points are scored, so good defensive play that leads to scoring will be reflected in the Offense rating. In general, the offensive rating can be interpretted as the number of points a team would be expected to score against an average defense.

Similarly, a team’s Defense power rating reflects the ability to prevent its opponent from scoring. An average defense will be rated at zero. Positive or negative defensive ratings would respectively lower or raise the opponent’s expected score accordingly.

…the Massey model will in some sense minimize the unexplained error (noise). Upsets will occur and it is impossible (and also counter-productive) to get an exact fit to the actual game outcomes. Hence, I publish an estimated standard deviation. About 68% of observed game results will fall within one standard deviation of the expected (“average”) result.

Preseason ratings are typically derived as a weighted average of previous years’ final ratings. As the current season progresses, their effect gets damped out completely. The only purpose preseason ratings serve is to provide a reasonable starting point for the computer. Mathematically, they guarantee a unique solution to the equations early in the season when not enough data is available yet.

In other words, preseason ratings mean very little. However, it’s July and we certainly need something to keep us going until college football season starts!

Massey rates every college football team — not just FBS and FCS squads, but D-2, D-3, NAIA, junior colleges, even Canadian schools. This season, there are preseason ratings for 923 colleges and universities.

This year, The Citadel is #113 overall in the preseason ratings. As a comparison, the Bulldogs were the preseason #174 squad last season.

As for the teams on The Citadel’s schedule:

  • Mercer — #204
  • Furman — #199
  • Gardner-Webb — #261
  • Western Carolina — #143
  • North Greenville — #312
  • Chattanooga — #106
  • Wofford — #172
  • East Tennessee State — #554
  • Samford — #149
  • VMI — #224
  • North Carolina — #24

Massey gives the Bulldogs a 5% chance of beating North Carolina. You may recall that last year’s preseason odds gave The Citadel a 1% chance of beating South Carolina. You may also recall that The Citadel finished 2016 as the transitive ACC Coastal Division champions.

One of the neat things about the Massey Ratings website is that it has matchup simulations — single games, best-of-seven series, etc. After refreshing a few times, I came up with a simulated result that favored the Bulldogs over UNC (by a 39-38 score). The average score of the simulations was 44-17 North Carolina, but I’m sure that was due to a programming error.

As for the other ten games on The Citadel’s schedule…believe it or not, the Bulldogs are currently projected to win all of them. The likelihood of that happening is remote, obviously, but it’s definitely a far cry from past prognostications.

I’ll go ahead and list the percentage chances of The Citadel winning each of those games, along with the median score, as calculated by the Massey Ratings:

  • at Mercer — 78% (30-17)
  • Furman — 87% (31-14)
  • at Gardner-Webb — 89% (27-7)
  • at Western Carolina — 56% (28-26)
  • North Greenville — 97% (41-10)
  • Chattanooga — 51% (24-23)
  • at Wofford — 66% (28-21)
  • East Tennessee State — 100% (48-3)
  • Samford — 70% (34-24)
  • at VMI — 83% (35-20)

To be honest, I’m not buying all of those ratings, even from a preseason ratings perspective.

I’m particularly dubious about the ratings for Mercer and North Greenville, and I’m not so sure about Furman’s numbers, either (I think all of them should be significantly higher). Also, Massey’s algorithm doesn’t account for SoCon officiating, especially for games played in Spartanburg.

As for FCS-only ratings, here is a list of select schools:

  • North Dakota State – 1
  • Northern Iowa – 2
  • Jacksonville State – 3
  • Illinois State – 4
  • South Dakota State – 5
  • Dartmouth – 6
  • Harvard – 7
  • Chattanooga – 8
  • Western Illinois – 9
  • Youngstown State – 10
  • The Citadel – 11
  • Southern Utah – 12
  • Richmond – 13
  • Charleston Southern – 14
  • Southern Illinois – 15
  • Montana – 16
  • Coastal Carolina – 21
  • Western Carolina – 22
  • James Madison – 23
  • William & Mary – 26
  • Samford – 27
  • Villanova – 28
  • Liberty – 34
  • Wofford – 39
  • Towson – 46
  • Furman – 49
  • Lehigh – 50
  • Mercer – 52
  • Presbyterian – 57
  • VMI – 61
  • Elon – 68
  • Delaware – 70
  • South Carolina State – 76
  • Kennesaw State – 77
  • Dayton – 81
  • Gardner-Webb – 82
  • Jacksonville – 88
  • Campbell – 102
  • Davidson – 120
  • East Tennessee State – 122
  • Mississippi Valley State – 125

The highest-rated FCS school is, naturally, North Dakota State, which checks in at #60 overall. Other schools in the “overall” list that may be of interest:

  • Alabama – 1
  • Ohio State – 2
  • Mississippi – 3
  • Stanford – 4
  • Clemson – 5
  • Arkansas – 6
  • Tennessee – 7
  • LSU – 8
  • Oklahoma – 9
  • Mississippi State – 10
  • Notre Dame – 14
  • Auburn – 17
  • Georgia – 18
  • Florida State – 20
  • Texas A&M – 22
  • Florida – 27
  • Navy – 33
  • Louisville – 35
  • Toledo – 39
  • Texas – 42
  • Miami (FL) – 46
  • Georgia Tech – 48
  • Virginia Tech – 49
  • North Carolina State – 55
  • South Carolina – 58
  • Georgia Southern – 59
  • Duke – 64
  • Virginia – 67
  • Maryland – 69
  • Vanderbilt – 70
  • Appalachian State – 71
  • Kentucky – 72
  • Northwest Missouri – 77 (highest-ranked Division II team)
  • Boston College – 78
  • Air Force – 79
  • East Carolina – 85
  • Wake Forest – 92
  • Calgary – 111 (highest-ranked Canadian team)
  • Kansas – 116
  • Army – 121
  • Idaho – 141
  • Tulane – 144
  • UCF – 154
  • Wyoming – 155
  • UTEP – 156
  • Hawai’i – 157
  • New Mexico State – 158
  • City College of San Francisco – 159 (highest-ranked junior college team)
  • Old Dominion – 161
  • Mt. Union – 175 (highest-ranked Division III team)
  • ULM – 176
  • Eastern Michigan – 181
  • North Texas – 192
  • Charlotte – 198
  • Marian (IN) – 244 (highest-ranked NAIA team)

The overall Top 10 is very SEC-heavy, similar to the MVC flavor for the FCS Top 10.

Football season is getting closer…

A quick glance at minutes for some recent meetings of The Citadel Board of Visitors

When The Citadel Board of Visitors has a meeting, its minutes are eventually published online. I like to peruse the minutes, as it’s just another way to keep up with the goings-on at the military college.

This post is just a short review of the published minutes for the last three meetings — April 1 (a teleconference), April 15-16, and May 3 (also a teleconference). The minutes for the most recent BOV meeting (June 10-11) have not yet been released.

April 1 meeting

It is always dicey to hold a meeting on April Fools’ Day, but the board plunged ahead with its business anyway. Much of the discussion appears to have taken place in executive session.

The board recognized David L. Preston for winning a major award for his book, Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to RevolutionPreston is the Westvaco Professor of National Security Studies at The Citadel. More importantly, he’s a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. The Citadel desperately needs to add more Steelers fans to its faculty.

Also honored was a cadet, James McManus, who received a Fulbright scholarship. He will study in Norway. Sadly, McManus will not be able to go speed skating in Oslo with Johann Olav Koss, as Koss now lives in Canada.

It was also noted that the Commission on Higher Education was to meet the following week to consider approving the school’s new nursing program. The commission did indeed make that consideration, and approved the program at a subsequent meeting, subject to State Board of Nursing approval.

The CHE also signed off on The Citadel’s new Center for Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Studies. That led to the school getting a grant from the National Security Agency.

A final tidbit from the minutes: apparently, it’s hip to be a mechanical engineer. There are 161 declared majors from the Class of 2019 in mechanical engineering, the second-most for any discipline.

April 15-16 meeting

After broaching legal matters in executive session, the board discussed tuition and fees for out-of-state students. It was noted that the school’s focus was changing to more need-based scholarship assistance. The importance of ROTC programs was mentioned.

It was reported that the demolition of the school-owned housing units along Hagood Avenue would begin in June. Also of interest: cellular communications equipment on the water tower is being upgraded.

The board decided to cancel a Request for Proposals for the proposed new parking garage. Apparently some technical issues have arisen. Among other things, that does impact varsity athletics (particularly basketball, in my opinion).

Speaking of varsity athletics…

[Director of Athletics Jim Senter] introduced the Athletic Facilities Master Plan. He discussed the details of the purpose/methodology of the plan, comparison schools data, findings, recommendations, projected costs, and way ahead…

…the “Blue and White Auction” netted over $99,000; membership renewals [in the Brigadier Club] are up to 909 through 11 April 2016; and new memberships are at a high of 103 for the same period.

If I read that correctly, as of mid-April there were over 1,000 active members of The Citadel Brigadier Foundation. The minutes also included a report from The Citadel Alumni Association, which stated that as of mid-April there were 11,849 total members in that group.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to think that your typical alumni association member also has a stake in the TCBF. However, unless I am reading the numbers wrong (quite possible), that is the case for less than 10% of CAA members.

I’m not saying it should be 100% or anything close to that, but less than 10%?

Other odds and ends from this meeting:

–  John Rosa got a pin for ten years of service to the college. Based on at least one recent news story, I’m guessing he won’t wear it with his uniform.

– “[We] must anticipate less funding from the state.” This is a sentence that could be uttered on an annual basis. I suspect that “we must anticipate no funding from the state” will be a more accurate statement in a few years. I’m not excited about that, but it seems inevitable. That leads to the question, where does the school find more money? Well…

  • “…the Board of Visitors approves the naming opportunity proposed for the space in the future Capers Hall building as the ‘Leidos Center for Diversity and Global Engagement’.”
  • “…the Board of Visitors approves the naming opportunity proposed to designate The Citadel’s Nursing Program as ‘The Swain Nursing Program’ with an option to rename as ‘The Swain Department of Nursing’ in the future.”
  • “…the Board of Visitors approves the proposed donor recognition signage for the Envisioning, Founding, Sponsoring, and Sustaining classes and organizations.”
  • “…the administration is authorized to use $750,000 from unrestricted funds…to support the online revenue growth initiative.”

Incidentally, page 28 of the CHE report on the nursing program indicates the “total signed pledge” to cover some of the startup costs is $4,000,000, so more power to the Swain family. I’m not sure what the issue is concerning the proper name of the program, but I wish it could be finalized before The Citadel has to spend a little extra money making new signs, letterhead, etc., in the event of a name change.

– “[According to a report by The Citadel Foundation]…total funds raised in 2015 exceeded the goal of $34.5 million, with a strong pipeline going into 2016. The total endowment is currently at a record of $271 million…”

– The Citadel Real Estate Foundation, a 501(c)3, has been incorporated. I’m going to assume (always dangerous) that the object of this foundation is to deal with gifts of property to the college.

– A potential new haircut policy for freshman was proposed. The suggestion: male and female haircuts would maintain the current fourth class haircut standards until Parents’ Day. After that, the existing upper class haircut standards would apply to freshmen as well. This policy may start during the 2016-17 school year.

May 3 meeting

This was another teleconference situation. A couple of BOV members couldn’t make it. A reporter from The Post and Courier was in attendance (she is described in the minutes as a columnist).

Notes from this meeting:

– “The College has received over 900 deposits from the Class of 2020, with 80 deposits from female students and 193 minorities — the most ever.”

– There were several motions regarding requests from graduating seniors to have a specific person (presumably a family member or friend) present the cadet with his or her diploma. This was also the case for the April 15-16 meeting, and led to a recommendation by BOV vice-chairman Dylan Goff to have a “formal procedure with a specific deadline be formulated to avoid last-minute requests for diploma presentation exceptions being submitted to the Board”.

One of The Citadel’s better traditions is that it allows an alumnus parent to personally present his son/daughter with his/her diploma. The school has been careful about making exceptions to this policy. From what I can determine, the BOV has no issues with, say, an alumnus grandfather doing the honors, or an uncle who is a grad (particularly if the father is deceased). The majority of recent requests were denied by the board, however.

While the minutes for the June 10-11 meeting haven’t been posted yet, we do know one thing that was presumably discussed: tuition. The school announced late last week that tuition and fees would increase by approximately 3% for the 2016-2017 academic year.

What does it all mean?

It means that football season is getting closer…

Wrapping up The Citadel’s 2015-16 year in varsity athletics: one bright light, but not much else

I haven’t posted on the blog in quite some time, for a variety of reasons. I’ve been rather busy, for one thing, and I’ve also had a little bit of “writer’s block”.

Another reason, at least when it comes to athletics at The Citadel, is that there hasn’t been a lot of things lately that seemed worth writing about. (Now, when it comes to discussing other issues and events at the military college, our cup runneth over.)

It hasn’t been an inspiring year for The Citadel’s varsity sports, other than the football team.

Ah yes, the football team. Now that is a different story. The gridiron squad had one of the more memorable seasons in the school’s long football history.

I wrote plenty about the team during the fall, of course. That group gets the highly desired honor of being the 2015-16 TSA “Team of the Year”.

I only wish there had been more competition for that title.

The Citadel competes in 17 varsity sports, counting rifle as one (co-ed) entity. The military college competes in the SoCon in 16 of them (the exception is rifle, though that will change next year when the league resumes sponsorship of that sport).

The Bulldogs finished last in the conference in exactly half of those 16 sports: basketball, baseball, tennis, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s soccer, and volleyball.

Not all of those are alike, of course. Expectations are different. No one is going to be overly critical of the cross country teams, for example (which were also reasonably competitive).

That isn’t quite the case for some of the other teams. I don’t like being harsh about these things, but the fact is that there were some very disappointing campaigns in 2015-16. A few of those teams have now had several consecutive rough seasons.

It isn’t easy to put winning teams on the field (or court) at The Citadel. Everyone knows this. However, I would like to think that varsity athletics can do a lot better than the sum total for this school year.

It is also true that several of the current coaches are relatively new to their positions (including the head coaches for basketball, tennis, volleyball, and soccer). It take time to build programs at The Citadel; perhaps in a year or two the department will be bragging about multiple SoCon team titles.

I hope so. Boasting can be therapeutic.

I’m going to try to get the blog going again over the summer. It is probable that not everything I write will focus on The Citadel.

That doesn’t mean I’m not counting the days until the football opener at Mercer, though…

Twitter postmortem: The Citadel 23, South Carolina 22 — the timeline

Yes, this is well after the fact. On the other hand, The Citadel’s 23-22 victory over South Carolina on November 21, 2015 won’t be forgotten by Bulldog fans anytime soon (or by supporters of the Gamecocks, for that matter).

The idea for this post occurred to me recently when I saw a stray tweet from the day of the game (it was an old re-tweet). I then realized that I had never really paid a lot of attention to the in-the-moment reaction on Twitter to the events unfolding at Williams-Brice Stadium, mainly because I was at the game.

Months later, I took a look back. It was something to behold.

I decided to “curate” a list of tweets related to the game, just for those (like me) largely unaware of what was happening on Twitter. It is by no means a complete list; for one thing, there were plenty of interesting tweets that were a bit too profane for me to include in this set.

I also decided to mostly skip over tweets that referenced things the majority of fans of The Citadel know all about, like Mike Houston’s postgame interview with Paul Finebaum (and the subsequent presser with the rest of the media). For a more thorough overview, the “links of interest” section in my game review might be worthwhile for some readers.

What follows are tweets from media members, fans, former players (on both sides), and a few other observers. The tweets start from around 2:53 pm ET on that Saturday, the moment Tyler Renew scored the go-ahead touchdown for The Citadel in the fourth quarter. The series concludes almost eight hours later.

Note: it takes a few seconds for all the twitter links to download. Patience is a virtue.

Riley Report: taking stock before SoCon play begins

This isn’t going to be a long post. Just some observations…

Team record as of March 23, 2016: 9-12 (8-8 at Riley Park, 1-4 on the road)

  • Batting average: .226
  • On-base percentage: .318
  • Slugging: .307
  • Number of players with 10+ at bats who are hitting .300 or better: 0
  • Number of players with 10+ at bats and an OBP greater than .350: 3
  • Number of players with 10+ at bats who are slugging .400 or better: 1 (Mike Deese)
  • Stolen bases: 8 (caught 5 times, picked off 4 times)
  • Number of pitchers used so far this season: 16
  • ERA: 5.25
  • K/9: 8.03
  • BB/9: 4.77
  • Unearned runs/game: 0.62
  • BAA: .278
  • Defensive efficiency: 66.55%
  • Current RPI: 193 (out of exactly 300 D-1 teams)

It’s not the prettiest of pictures, to be sure. The Bulldogs have struggled across the board, but particularly on offense.

There are 300 Division I baseball programs this season. The Citadel’s team OPS of .625 ranks 270th.

That number looks even worse when compared to other SoCon schools. UNCG is ranked first nationally in OPS (with a .982 mark); three other league teams (VMI, Mercer, Samford) are also in the top 15 in that category, with two others (ETSU and Western Carolina) in the top 50. Furman’s ranking of 146 is next-to-last in the conference, but still more than 120 spots ahead of the Bulldogs.

Now, park effects have something to do with that, and The Citadel has played most of its games in a pitcher’s park. Still, there is a big difference between an OPS of .625 and one of .761, which was what the Bulldogs finished with last season (and which was also last in the league).

There is hope, though. In 2015, The Citadel had a higher OPS in conference play (.784) than overall, so perhaps that could also be the case this year. For the Bulldogs to be successful in league play, it will have to be — but the improvement must be considerably more dramatic.

Also, the Diamond Dogs also have to get better at baserunning.

As far as pitching/defense goes, the numbers are mediocre. The Bulldogs have had some really ugly performances, including four games in which they have allowed 12+ runs. However, not all of the pitching has been bad.

From my (admittedly distant) vantage point, it seems to me that Fred Jordan and Britt Reames have thrown a lot of guys into the mix on purpose, to see exactly what they’ve got. It’s one way to figure out who may be useful — if not in the rotation, then in the bullpen.

While The Citadel is only 9-12, the pitching staff has done a fair job of holding leads. The Bulldogs are 4-1 with a lead after six innings, 7-1 after seven innings, and 8-0 after eight innings. The Citadel is 2-1 when tied after the 6th.

Conversely, the Bulldogs are not exactly the comeback kids, at least not yet. That’s not a surprise given the offensive struggles. The Citadel is 3-10 when trailing after six innings.

I wish the Bulldogs had a little more depth in its starting rotation; for one thing, it would be nice to have a better record in midweek games (1-5). There is also always the possibility of one of the weekend starters going down with an injury or losing effectiveness.

On several occasions this season, The Citadel has pieced together a start with what amounts to a “bullpen game” (to borrow a phrase from Tony La Russa). The problem with having seven or eight guys throw an inning or two each is that at least one of them is bound to not have his good stuff that day. That can be true of a normal starting situation as well, of course.

That DER of 66.55% I mentioned in the stat-pack above is in line with recent defensive numbers for The Citadel. It’s not great, but it could be worse. It’s also a little early in the season to get a true statistical marker for defensive play. Just watching the games, the defense appears to be respectable (at least to me). Opponents are 15-26 on stolen base attempts, which is a good percentage as far as the Bulldogs are concerned.

I’m not going to sugarcoat things. Early returns for this season have not been very promising. However, things may not be quite as bad as they seem on the surface.

The overall record is not good, but it is worth noting that the opposition has been very solid. The Bulldogs have played nine different opponents, and those teams have a combined record of 106-79.

There is room for improvement on the pitching staff, and the offense really, really needs to get going. We’ll see if they can get something started this weekend at VMI.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 795 other followers