The outlook on college athletics has been grim lately. With scandal after scandal arising, the spotlight has shifted focus from the love of the game to the lunacy of rumors and stories that swirling it.
In the wake of such scrutiny, there is a glow on one college campus, my college campus. Hofstra University Athletics was just endowed $1.5 million, the largest gift the department has ever received. This might seem like chump change for schools like LSU, Texas or Ohio State who receive hefty donations frequently, but for a smaller, Division I school, this type of money means everything.
Alumnus Jim Metzger, an All-American lacrosse player for Hofstra in 1980, donated the money to the school. The gift is not designated exclusively for lacrosse, but it is where Metzger would prefer the money to go. Hofstra’s men’s lacrosse team was recently ranked No. 11 in the Inside Lacrosse preseason poll, and this additional $1.5 million will only benefit the already exceptional team.
Metzger, who is friends with Hofstra athletic director Jack Hayes and lacrosse coach Seth Tierney, is looking out the program he once helped on the field and is looking to propel it forward going into the future.
“Their job is challenging because some of the best kids on Long Island want to go away from home for their college experience,” Metzger said to Newsday. “How do we overcome that? One way is to have the best facilities. We have one of the best lacrosse facilities in the country at Hofstra. This pledge includes a capital improvement fund and an endowment. It’s not only for lacrosse, but this will impact the lacrosse program.”
Morale is low in college athletics right now, but such a generous gift gives hope to those who care really care about the games. A smaller school with big hopes of gaining national recognition in any sport needs such support and credence. This noble gift should be the start of taking a good athletics program and turning it into an extraordinary one.