Despite pretty much owning the NACDA Directors’ Cup, that excellence is rooted in the breadth of athletics offered at Stanford. It’s not about being a big-name-sports school. I’ve written about gloryhunting and bandwagoning as they relate to the professional teams I follow. I tolerate stuff like that in professional sports because I know it’s a business and understand that winning is goal number one.
Not so in college. Yet.
With college sports at Stanford, athletes are expected to be students first.* Athletic excellence, especially in the big-name sports, is nice but cannot be relied upon. Alumni appreciate the great teams because of how infrequently they occur. The fundamental weakness to Stanford athletics is that all the stars have to align correctly for greatness to occur.
*And good people second.
Non-alumni and students lucky enough to be undergraduates during a period of greatness often miss this truth. This gets them into trouble.
Expect good coaching and smart players only.
Do not expect athletic excellence. Do not talk trash. Ever.
Fate can always trip you up. Do not assume victory. Ever.
Next year is a completely different class of students who had to be admitted to Stanford on their own merit. This is not large pool of kids. It will be different than this year’s group. It has to be.
If you can’t handle the unknowns and enjoy the few transcendent teams for what they are, don’t even get on the bandwagon.