Ms. Rose, Mr. Spease, Ms. Whitestone, and Mr. Hummer:
I hope you have received several other emails of the same ilk as this one in the past few weeks. Nonetheless, I write to express supreme disappointment with the state of our men’s basketball program and the steady decline it has experienced since my first year at the school, in 2007. Even then, my freshman year, we were a one-and-done in the NIT and two years removed from our last NCAA tournament appearance. Now, nearly a decade later, the NIT seems like a hardly-achievable ambition. Making the NCAA tournament is purely fantasy.
Of course, we have fired one coach and “fired” another for underperforming, even as the bar regressed lower and lower each year. Lutz was canned after an abomination of a contract restructure/extension because he could not get us to the dance. Under Major, “the goal is to play in the post season.” Under Price, are we just trying to limp into the CUSA tournament—is that now the goal?
I am appalled of the last decade of college basketball at Charlotte. We have gone from “perennially pesky contenders” to “has-beens” to “sadly in decline” to “absolutely unwatchable and fundamentally atrocious.” The program has had its attendance decline consistently. The 49er Club’s donations are stagnant and the base has not grown, despite thousands more alumni in a large and thriving metropolitan city. The fan base has beaten dog syndrome. The discussions about basketball online and in person are completely toxic. It has not been enjoyable to be a fan of the program since the All-In year, my freshman year. We have lost an entire generation of fans through student apathy, even as our former peers such as ECU, Louisville, UCF, Memphis, et al. are now exceeding expectations, in some cases contending for league or national championships, or making real changes when they do not meet those goals.
According to the unofficial count, 227 different teams have been to the NCAA tournament since our last appearance. Many of those, such as Northwestern and University of North Florida have made their first appearances. Some of them have only become D-1 and eligible for the NCAA tournament since our last appearance. This, to me, is the most telling indictment of the state of our program…we are now being outpaced by basketball programs in conferences that, for all intents and purposes, did not exist at this level 12 years ago.