Five years ago this week, then Vanderbilt University President, Gordon Gee, announced that he was disbanding the athletic department.
Although many were concerned about how Vandy would compete, the basketball program got better and better.
20 and 14 for 2004/2005 and made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT
17 and 13 for 2005/2006 and played in the NIT.
22 and 12 for 2006/2007 and made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
26 and 8 for the 2007/2008 season, and lost in the NCAA Tournament's first round.
According to one source, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings was the 10th highest paid coach in college basketball for the 2007/2008 season.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt has new players coming in to compete this season, and they are very, very capable. Best recruiting class that I remember.
I wouldn't recommend disbanding the athletic department for every school, and neither does former Vandy president, Gordon Gee. But Vanderbilt is showing that you can have academics and high levels of competition in the arena of college sports. I believe this gives promise for coaches like Dennis Felton, who are pushing the academic side of student-athlete life.