Monday April 25, 2011

It's a good thing UMass heeded an Eagle editorial of two years ago imploring it to get out of the money-losing proposition of Division 1-AA football. That UMass ascended to 1-A, now known as the FBS, is the only way the state's flagship can maximize its potential to join the other great flagships in America: the Georgias, the Oregons, the Michigans. Alumni pride leads to faculty endowments, capital improvements, and increased awareness among the best and brightest senior students weighing college choices.

That the first two FBS seasons will feature home games away from home is a mixed blessing. But national champion Auburn played a lot of home games in Birmingham, Ala. and Columbus, Ga. long before its stadium held 86,000 in a backwater so remote it makes Amherst look like New York City.

This move will eventually become a great economic engine sorely needed in Western Mass, not to mention the unifier long needed among the vast UMass alumni base.

JIM CONNAH