McMaster's posting for the men's basketball coach might have spelled out what they meant by new direction when they parted ways with Joe Raso 11 days ago.
It wouldn't do to post the entire thing verbatim, but there is some strong language about how the new coach "must also embrace a culture that ensures the academic success of all student-athletes."
Perhaps that is standard language. No one would hire a coach who would actively discourage academic success. However, it jumped out since more than a few of our readers have commented that Raso's exit was an indicator that Mac's administration is less athletics-friendly than in the past. Others made note of possible political fallout from highly touted Ryan Christie's half-season with the Marauders.
That must be qualified by saying in no way is it meant to single out Raso or level accusations of untoward behaviour. (It should also be pointed out there's a double standard in basketball: smaller rosters and the more individualized nature of the sport means it's easier to notice if a prominent player leaves, compared to football or hockey.)
Many teams which are perennially ranked in major CIS team sports have their ways of securing a player who might have trouble being admitted if he/she had applied straight from high school like most of us. They find a spot at a CCAA program and transfer in after a year or two. Or they enrol a few years later as a mature student. Some schools also seem to be better able to accommodate a NCAA Division I transfer.
Much of it is on the level and done in the interest of an athlete who wants to study and play a sport. It would be naive to think there aren't a few instances where you would cast a Spockian eyebrow, although it comes nowhere near some of the NCAA horror stories, like John Calipari with his one-and-done players at Kentucky this season and at Memphis in 2008.
By no means would we impugn any coach, athletic director or school. This site has been pretty consistent in debunking any notion there's a cause-and-effect between a school's academic prestige and its athletic reputation. The two goals are not in conflict. There are enough elite schools with winning teams and no-account schools with struggling teams to prove as much.
It's just that there's been a lot of hullabaloo about the ramifications and repercussions of Raso leaving.