Former Football Players Feel Left Out.

Ok I want to preface this with two things. 1) I am not and will never try to be a writer or reporter 2) This is a VERY limited sample size to draw conclusions about how every former player was treated by the administration at VT after they left.

This past season I had the fortune to attend my first Hokie Home football game since 96/97. During a pregame tailgate in Lot 1 for the OSU game, I was again fortunate enough to meet three former Hokie football players from the late 90's early 2000's. I assumed these guys would all be inside the stadium during the game if not on the sideline because two of them had even played a few years in the pros. Well to my shock I was wrong and in a big way. These guys informed me that while Frank Beamer and any coach they had while at Tech was always available for an email and sometimes phone call they were not invited to any events involving the team or school. I asked why they thought this was and they didn't really want to lay the blame at anyone's feet.

Fast forward to just after the spring game when I interact with a former player on twitter.

I was very Surprised to be reading this about how VT former players felt like they were being treated. So I reached out to Mr. Smith

Seeing as how I am not and will never try to be a reporter Im not sure where this will end up in terms of what happened when and whose fault it is. But it seems to have struck a chord because this came out today.

I know I enjoy seeing former players on the sideline, however I dont think it should be limited to the stars in the NFL. Let these guys have some access to the team, let them be mentors, let them use the weight room etc. I know several other schools have Football Letterman groups like Georgia's, http://www.ugalettermensclub.com/default.asp. This seems like something that could really help not only the players grow as men and players but maybe bring in more money to continue the program on an upward trajectory.

EDIT: There is an umbrella all encompassing former letter winner alumni group for every sport at VT. It's called the monogram club. However until recently it was not very active and I don't know many details about how they interact with former players. They were mentioned during the spring game as a group standing behind the end zone.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Was waiting eagerly for this. Thanks for putting it up so quickly. Yes. The reason this is so important is because these were the athletes that helped build Hokie Nation to what it is today for their sacrifice and victories. They deserve to be honored, remembered, respected and thanked.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

It's amazing what I can get done while avoiding my end of semester college paper.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Can confirm. I was supposed to be studying tonight for a final that is going to kick my ass. Cleaned up the house and did other chores instead for a good 2 and a half hours.

That team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

^ That's called "procrastacleaning"

I'm breaking with tradition and my personality by posting this here

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Jeez this is exactly how I feel right now. My Robust Optimization paper and presentation are about 5% done and they're both due in 24 hours. So I'll probably stay up all night doing anything else.

"previous regime" - sadly not surprised that the Weaver administration failed at something people related. PR and interpersonal relations took a back seat.

Fireman, you rock! This is exactly what can help start a groundswell of support for former VT football players (and perhaps other sports athletes inclusion as well). It will be interesting to see where this goes.
This will help recruiting as well.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Thanks hopefully it's not too difficult to read.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Not at all, you did a great job and got your point across very nicely! Great article on something that has to be addressed. Thank you for sharing!!!!

"It's a miracle in Blacksburg, TYROD DID IT MIKEY, TYROD DID IT!"

I think getting together some sort of football alumni association is a great step in the right direction. I don't know exactly whose fault it is, but the Spring Game football alumni recognition has been really poorly handled the last few seasons. Maybe part of the problem comes from having no organization or database to reach out to former players and makes plans for exactly who plans on attending. But I thought it was pretty bad how only a handful of the players who made it to the game last weekend were actually recognized.

I seem to remember several years ago at a Spring Game, all the former players in attendance were brought out to to the middle of the field at halftime and had their names/introductions called out by the game announcer. Fans gave great receptions to everyone, and then the whole group was recognized together and posed for some pictures with Beamer. I figured this was standard practice, but was disappointed to see this not happening anymore recently.

Of course there are costs involved. Can the Athletics Department and/or Hokie Club feasibly afford and handle having any interested former player coming back for events? Not sure, but I think getting together some sort of organization to handle football alumni relations would be a huge step forward to getting more former players back on campus and involved when possible.

Somehow I feel like the problem here is likely the same problem that was there for the Hokie Club before it got revitalized. There's a lack of knowledge. A majority of the athlete alumni know that there is the Monogram Club because they are automatically in it as a letter winner. They may not know what it does, how it benefits them, and what to do. This is why we hired Kevin Jones in the athletic department. He plays an active role in this group. Just look here. Most of the stuff that Derek is looking for is available there.

http://monogram.hokiesports.com/membership/

Information regarding the benefits associated with each membership level can be found below:
Foundation Hokie (complimentary upon first letter)

Exclusive Monogram Club Newsletter (Quarterly)
Invitations to exclusive former & current student-athlete events
Hokie Club Priority Points (one time addition of points)
Candidate must have graduated/or not, in good standing/with good graces of university officials;

Premier Hokie ($75 per year)
Exclusive Monogram Club Newsletter (Quarterly)
Invitation and complimentary admission to select, exclusive former & current student-athlete events
Inside HokieSports Magazine
Hokie Club Priority Points (one time addition of points)
Access to Virtual Directory by Sport (when available)
Opportunity to purchase football and basketball single game tickets
Opportunity to participate in the Pre-Game Tunnel at a select Virginia Tech home football game
Exclusive Monogram Club memento

If they reach out to the University and the Athletic Department, they can get access to the weight room if they want. They can speak to the players. They can be around the team. They just have to ask.

If they reach out to the University and the Athletic Department, they can get access to the weight room if they want. They can speak to the players. They can be around the team. They just have to ask.

Based off my conversations both in person and online with 6 former players this was NOT the case.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Well based on the fact that David Wilson recently did some of his training at Tech for the Olympics, I think you just talked to the wrong folks.

That's for an organized training. The issue the players have is feeling unwelcome around the program, being able to drop in and say hello, being invited to speak to the team, drop in and use the gym when they are in Blacksburg. Yes while they could probably have no issue setting up a formal tone they want to feel like they are welcome not just tolerated.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

It sounds like they have access to all of these things they just want to be invited rather than asking for it.

It's Time to go to Work

That's the feeling I get as well. Perhaps it's because they don't know they have access to them or because they think they are owed those things, I don't know. But from my perspective, it seems they just don't know how to get those things on their own.

If they have access they don't know it. What good does that do? For either the program or the alums?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Didn't say it the situation couldn't be improved.

It's Time to go to Work

You both could be right. They very well may have "only had to ask" but felt extremely discouraged to do so. It's like having a boss that has an "open door" policy but is never around and when he/she is their door is closed. They can always say, "all you had to do was knock" but their actions discouraged anyone from ever doing that.

Side note, I felt like this when I was typing:

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

People say you have "poor hygeine" cuz you don't actually "own a toothbrush."

I don't wear "clothes that fit me"
I'm not "hygienic"
I don't "wipe properly"
I can't reach all "parts of my body"
I'm not "camera friendly"
I haven't had sex "with a woman"
I don't know "how that works"

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Even if it was true that all they had to do was ask, how is it that what might easily be the Athletic departments biggest financial group of alumni to tap into in terms of recent affiliation to potential large donations, the school isnt taking it upon themselves to reach out, rather than waiting for the former athletes to reach out. We have discussed on here how its pretty unbelievable that the Hokie Club has less than 10,000 members or somewhere near there, so if you cant grow the quantity fast, at least focus on those that might bring the most impact dollar wise.

The school calls me at least once a month looking for a donation and the most I have ever donated in a year is $250 so far, and here we are with people that have the chance to make the largest impact on our programs and we are not being proactive? You always hear stories of how the players from "da U" are back at school, preparing for their next season in the pros or working their way back from injuries, and they are setting the example for the next generation of athletes coming out of that program.

Especially in the summer, when most of the campus is empty, I wouldnt be opposed to former athletes being offered reduced meal plans, dorm rooms and access to all the facilities if it will help them get that extra year in the pros or continue to pursue their dream of making the pros. Its one more season we could see the Virginia Tech name on their profiles before games, one more year to cheer for them and one more lucrative season that might become the tipping point in a major donation to the school and even if they dont make the donation, just showing our current players what is expected of an NFL athlete year round could bare fruit for many years to come.

Involving those players that have gone on to other successful or even unsuccessful careers can bring life lessons on life after sports, some pitfalls to avoid, and possibly even lifelong connections to make athletes successful even if they arent destined for the NFL. Bringing these folks together might even mean that those that have the unsuccessful stories might catch a break from someone that has taken steps in the right direction.

You dont want to be the school that is just putting their hand out for a payback, you want to be the home that these athletes yearn to return to and improve upon for those that come after them whether by dollars or due diligence in setting the example, giving a talk to the team, assisting with major projects at the school. Some of these athletes have connections to people that could pay greater dividends than just money donated. School wants to get a star singer on campus for a concert, or wants help getting members of the media to talk to students, or something else along these lines and we have people that can now reach out to them legitimately and request their help rather than being just another cold call.

I agree that we should be seeking connections to these folks in hopes that they will make contributions, be it financially or not, back to the program, but the historical numbers show that athletes who donate money to their University are a small minority of all professional athletes. Some folks are just less philanthropic than others and many of them would rather give their money or time to a local organization that helps kids, families, recruits, or women than give to their alma mater.

Yes, many athletes have their own causes or charitable foundations that they focus on, especially the higher level athletes. But getting those athletes involved, even if its just to come to Hokie Club events, makes it more likely other Hokies are to come to those events just to get a chance to be there around names they remember seeing in lights. If Michael Vick was announced as attending a Hokie Club meeting as just an attendee how many people would sign up for that meeting? Maybe the quid pro quo is putting an ad for his chosen charity in the program or that they could set up a table at the meeting. Vick is an extreme example but even those lesser known names, if they were going to be available for signatures, I bet it would add to Hokie Club meetings or events.

If Kevin Jones is going to be the official go between, than make it so that the Monogram Club has a leadership structure that can make suggestions to level of access or other ways the alumni think they can contribute to the school along with how best to acknowledge them when they are around the program.

Fireman, thanks for putting this together. I've often wondered why more alum, especially our nationally known guys in the NFL are not a bigger part of the program.

"War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”~~Judge Holden

So if a NFL coach of a Super Bowl winning team thinks there are issues I'm going to go with, there are issues. He is a resource the program should be using EVERY DAMN YEAR.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

It's great to see a discussion on this and what appears to be movement in a positive direction on this issue. I had often wondered why former athletes didn't seem to be as big a part of the community especially when you see how other big time programs welcome their athletic alumni. It just felt really odd since community is such a big part of being a Hokie for everyone, not just athletes. We're all about HokieFam and being welcoming and other feelings that are hard to describe but if you're a VT alumni, you get it. But for whatever reason, it wasn't quite the same when it came to athletic alumni.

Maybe this coincides with the lack of optimum monetary support from alumni as well.

Reach for Excellence!

VT Football: It'll get after ya!

Proud Hokie since 2004.

It is difficult for me to wrap my head around how this could have become such a problem. How in the world is this not a win-win situation for all involved. How in the world can we not recognize that in order to trumpet family from the top of Burress, we cannot just forget our brothers and sisters as soon as the dust clears from their exit. The Monogram Club is fine and all, but not the inclusive "bring 'em all back for Homecoming" kind of effort we obviously need, and the ex-players obviously want. There are more ways to contribute than money donations, and if we want their endorsements, we need to foster their involvement. I don't think they're looking to move back in and eat at the dining hall and get a free hang-out, just a welcoming hand and a bit of grateful recognition. Sounds like it's time for Kevin to step up and get this particular ball rolling.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

So i'll catch flack for this, but isn't this just football players asking for special treatment as football players? Theyre part of the monogram club like every other VT student Athlete alum. If football alums get their own special designation, why should women's soccer, or VT Swim & Dive?

Ut Prosim

Simple answer-> Football brings in the money that helps run a bunch of athletic programs at said school.

They also are largest sports alum group by sheer numbers.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

My good buddy who was the #1 RB back in the early 90's told me about a year ago that VT has basically forgot about him, and won't even allow him to help them recruit players in the DMV. He has lots of connections too, and was frustrated because all those kids from that area were looking at VT as an afterthought. Maryland was killing it with his connections, as well as the Big 10 schools.

PDXHokie

This made me really sad. Really sorry to hear that.

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." - Jay Bilas

Pete Moris I know you're reading this. Make sure this note gets passed along to Whit + KJ + whoever can amend this.

RVA Hokie. Class of 2011.

I want a job where I get paid to read TKP. You know, for "market research" purposes.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

The school has to be very careful with anyone that is willing to "help them recruit players" to VT. There are limits imposed by the NCAA on who can do what on and off campus. Just because someone is willing to help doesn't mean the school can allow it. If there are other ways to be involved, I'm all for it, but what you're describing, at the most basic level, sounds like it could be running afoul of the rules.

I was going to type much the same thing.

This isn't just a question directed at you VTGuitarMan, but anyone who might know the answer...

Where does offering recruits a ride to a school (for a camp or visit) fall under NCAA regulations? Are only parents and coaches allowed to do this?

If there's some former VT players who have connections to an area (like PDXHokie's friend), would anything preclude him from taking a van full of kids down to VT on an unofficial visit? I get that you don't want any improprieties to occur, but considering you'll hear how some kids missed out on a visit because their ride fell through I was wondering where something like that falls under the NCAA's purview.

Say I am a HokieClub member or Ex Player catches wind of this and brings said recruit to the Spring Game, It would be seen as a impermissible benefit and would be a BIG MESS.

A prospective and/or an enrolled student-athletes (along with their friends and families) cannot receive goods or services based on their status as athletes.

SO-> if you are not related to said recruit your safest bet is to do nothing and enjoy TKP!

Thanks for the reply!

I figured it was something along those lines, just wasn't sure where it was actually drawn.

Not that I would advocate doing that, but at this point what would the NCAA even do? Miami was giving boats and hoes to recruits and they self-imposed sanctions so the NCAA didn't do anything. UNC actively funneled athletes to fake classes and I doubt anything big will come of it. Bama players are well known to be receiving impermissible benefits and the NCAA won't even investigate. In current state of the NCAA there is no real punishment for cheating and if the rules aren't enforced then what's the point of having them?

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

What they would do is take away the recruit's eligibility. The school may face minor punishment, but you'd be screwing the recruit's career.

Like with Reggie Bush? Take away his eligibility after he's done with it? The NCAA has proven time and time again that they have no teeth.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

Depends on when they find out. Players have lost their eligibility during their time at school as well. Terrelle Pryor is a recent well known one. He was just fortunate that he could graduate and enter the Supplemental Draft.

For Pryor, he was suspended for the first 5 games of the following season and was still allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl even though the investigation was done and announced before the game. Pryor chose to leave school instead of serving the suspension. Again, he was allowed to play in a nationally televised BCS bowl (NCAA can still make the money off it and he gets showcased one more time) and he never served his suspension. Sadly that was probably one of the bigger "bites" the NCAA did and it was still basically toothless.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

They recently have been making them pay back an amount, either to the person or to charity, in order to reinstate their eligibility. Failure to do so would forfeit any remaining eligibility.

Still, there is no real punishment for breaking the rules. I've said it before on here but the harshest punishment the NCAA has handed out since SMU got the death penalty was to PSU and it had NOTHING to do with on field stuff.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

this is where the NCAA has F'd up big time... They have let schools self impose penalty's so the NCAA's job is somewhat done. Don't get that at all but who the heck knows

The UNC issue is baffling to me but the only thing saving them is the constant new information the school is bringing out which keeps pushing the NCAA's "Investigation" further and further. My guess is that once it is all done if it is ever all done they will absolutely be crushed. It is a total school issue not just 1 sport but the WHOLE UNIVERSITY.

As much as it could potentially cripple the ACC as a whole, I really think UNC has to be hit with the death penalty or at least equal to what PSU got.

equal to what PSU got.

a loss of scholarships and post season for 4 seasons? I mean, oops, we're sorry we actually tried to hand down a punishment at all, please forgive us. You can go back to full strength/post season next year.

You can argue the NCAA had no business punishing them for a criminal offense, but doling out a punishment then backtracking just reinforces the mindset that NCAA is a worthless sack of crap.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

The NCAA screwed itself over with the Penn State punishment. Was listening to someone the other day, may have been Feldman, and he articulated it well. Essentially, there would be huge blowback with any further death penalty punishments because the counter argument will be "okay, so the NCAA cares more about [X] than what happened at Penn State." They've put themselves in an extremely tough situation moving forward.

@hokie_rd

The NCCA's future:

Year 3 is coming up!

Don't coaches, who could be potential alumni of a particular school, give rides to groups of kids frequently? Or are you referring specifically in the event an athlete makes it known he or she needs a ride and someone steps up to accommodate?

Not what I was describing at all. Sorry for the misinterpretation. This individual puts on a lot of (Legal) events for the local DMV recruits, and VT hasn't participated = missing out on potential commits/recruits. UMD has been heavily involved, and as you can see they got a lot of local commits that we were strongly after...remember last year's DMV movement slogan to UMD last recruiting cycle.

PDXHokie

So I'm gonna ask an awkward question. When they open up the doors for all the formal players, what do you do about the players you don't want hanging around the team. I'm sure there are some bad apples.

Now that's out of the way, there should definitely be a better way to reach out to the collective football alums, especially for things like spring game, homecoming, and national tv games. Thanks fireman for the effort and I'm sure this will lead to good things.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

I'm sure the "bad apples" are no more prevalent than alumni base of former business students, or engineering grads, or whatever.

No doubt, and that is the basis for my comment. I'm sure we don't bring bad apple engineering students back to help give high school tours. We wouldn't want the football mentors to actually be a bad influence.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

Cough * Marcus * Cough * Vick * Cough

Yeah there is at least one dipshit we want as far from the program as possible

I'm imagining a MV5 cutout at the entrance to Merriman with a sign that reads: You have to not be this guy to enter this facility.

He spends too much time in jail to make it back to Blacksburg.

It's Time to go to Work

OOOOOOOOOooooooooOoooOoOoOOOOoooooOoooOOOOOOOoOoOOOOoooo snap!

That team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

It sounds like what they're looking for is a better Alumni Association-type "organization" that is maintained partially by the former student athletes themselves (Kevin Jones, Todd Washington, etc). Perhaps that will involve an element of self moderation amongst their peers. (I'm not suggesting blanket parties or tossing Kam in the shower when he gets out of line, but a subtle "hey, we had a good time and acknowledge your contribution, but maybe you shouldn't come to this particular event in a prominent capacity")

I'm glad the players that have spoken up (that I've seen) seem to have a great attitude, are still fans and show no hatred for the university in general.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

Call all the former players you know. Tell them to call all the guys they know. Tell them we're in Lot X starting Y hours before the game. Tell them we're looking to make this a habit and want to form an ex-players organization and see what we can make of it. Be sure to tell them to bring their own beer.

With how the Monogram is currently set up

Candidate must have graduated/or not, in good standing/with good graces of university officials;

This is one of the requirements for membership, so those few that are not considered in good standing with the good graces of university officials would not be allowed membership. Now also consider there are ways to utilize those "bad apples" in some places much like Maurice Clarett from Ohio State HERE

it does seem like there could be some creative ways to reach out that aren't being utilized. Hell even an email or phone call effort to say thank you during the offseason from the athletic department to former players. Maybe a section of 20 seats reserved for former players with invites and free seating depending on year of attendance (first game is guys who were seniors in 93-94 or whatever. A luncheon or dinner for same? Do it in the offseason they can bring wives when kids are out of school? Just spitballing but there has to be tons of things you could come up with.

this is slightly concerning

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

This sucks to hear but not shocking that the guy that forced noon games down our throats because "we wanted it" didn't lay out the welcome mat.

But to be perfectly honest this is a systemic weakness with VT in general. I have gone the rounds with the Alumni office to get into the fucking game when it comes to organization. There seems to be no central database, no central organization, little to none upkeep, zero innovation on using that database (however woefully inadequate it is) as an accessible resource and nobody that is pushing this to change.

A friend of mine went to a prep school in the States and they have an app that has every single student that has ever gone to the school... ever. With family trees, bios, contact info, etc.... a freaking app! Conversely if I want to try to find alumni in Asia it's painstaking process that requires me berating whoever answers the phone in the office to try and track them down. It's easier for me to look for them on LinkedIn.

For a Tech university this pisses me off more than anything. WTF VT? I thought we Invent the Future. We are barely up to the level of shitty admin work from the 1970s.

rant over

How about having to put a reminder on my calendar to do annual donations (instead of monthly) instead of auto draft (or better yet, auto draft with annual increases option? Hell, at least send an email to HokieClub members "we really appreciated your donation last year, please donate again this year!"

Our website itself for ticket purchase is confusing as hell. I'd say of all our weaknesses, use of technology is among the highest, it's sad.

@hokie_rd

I also had a few tweets with Derek and kudo'ed his letter to Whit, etc. I remembered all the past Spring games where they brought out the former players and introduced them all. This year I thought only Tyrod & Kam were here until they showed LT3 on the 'Tron. I missed the others being shown. But I was shocked that that was all they got for recognition.
Going forward, I am retired and would love to volunteer with the Monogram or whatever and in any capacity. I strongly believe that VT should be 1000% proactive with the former players & do whatever to bring them back and properly recognize them each & every time.

BroncsZoo

This needs to be fixed immediately. Glad to hear KJ is on the case.

Not for nothing, but just FYI Penn State started to severely limit access to the facilities for anyone not currently part of the program due to the problems the had when a certain former coach used his access to the detriment of the world, so everyone upthread who suggests former players should get access to all the facilities may be disappointed. I certainly don't expect that we'd have problems like PSU has had if we allowed people into the weight room, but there is a precedent for disallowing access for one reason or another.

My high school has a better-integrated alumni strategy than VT does.

I was at the game tailgating with Logan Thomas and Zack McCray (Logans cousin who played DL while at Tech). We all grew up across the street from each other since we were 5. Although Zack never started, he felt awkward during the event. After the game, Zack took me through the Merryman Center and onto the practice field. Once he talked to a few coaches and players, we walked through the tunnel where they have players names who have graduated each year that played on the team are on the walls. I have a video on my phone showing his reaction to his name not even being on the wall. This thread depicts exactly how he felt when he saw that.

Gut punch. Sorry Zack.

It needs to be rectified (all of it) immediately.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Multiplied by the fact that he felt he had to remind us who Zack was with parenthesis "Logan's cousin that never started". Double ouch

That really blows. Though its common that stars get the recognition there shouldn't be these oversights. You can't have your Tryod's without your Juju's. They worked their ass off as well and couldn't make a mark but helped the team tremendously by just competing and being awesome Hokies.

None of this sounds encouraging, but as for the names on the wall, is it possible that its only letter holders listed? For example, I'm pretty sure that for the Monogram Club you had to have earned a varsity letter. Don't have a clue how letter holders are determined on the football team, but if the player in question was not a starter that could be a reason. For example, in swim/dive the athlete needs have been on the championship meet squad or scored a certain number of points during the season to earn a varsity letter.
Just a thought. But even if this is the case, I think all team members should be up there. These kids live the life for their teams.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

I remember McCray! Just a reminder that while the common fan may not know everyone, there's always the diehards that remember the smaller parts of the program and I wish those players knew that.

-Stick it in

I would like to see former players be a class of donors that is greater than Golden Hokies. Give them the best parking spots, establish a former Hokie Player tailgate section, get the access to the best seats, but they still need to donate and buy the seats (which is what Derek proposes). I want it to feel like a family on game days for them, I want former players to want to come to games so they can be around former players. I want them sitting together at games. For without them, we have none of this.

And, sure, if there are methods where they can help with recruiting, great. But we don't need them on the sideline, don't need them utilizing the facilities that are built for the current players (I think someone mentioned the weight room). Just make game day one helluva experience for them, every week.

You said it better. Kind of what I was trying to get at above, except if no one is going to do it for them, they must do it themselves if they want it to happen.

I usually dont comment during the offseason, but this article really struck a nerve.

Former players are what made this program so special, hell, its what made a teenager from Atlanta like myself venture up to Blacksburg for college. Even if just a few players are upset, which doesnt seem to be the case, something needs to be done. Im thrilled to see the steps already being taken. It appears that some folks in the right places feel the same was as us fans.

How did it come to this? Does that even matter.... Maybe we find out why, maybe we dont. Do we need to know? I cant answer that, but I will say that it would be nice to know so that it never happens again.

Thanks to those who have put time into bringing this issue to light. These athletes put the time and energy into making this program what it is today, lets hope they receive the treatment and respect they see fit.

-side note- this will benefit recruiting greatly, if done correctly.

GO HOKIES

Having a moment to recognize the former players at the Spring game is not unreasonable, if that's all you're suggesting.

What else are you suggesting needs to be done? And who would be responsible for doing that?

Does it apply to football, or also to all other sports?

It just seems that if you're going to do something extensive, it would require some significant resources.

There certainly was plenty of time to do it either between 1:30 and the 3:30 start or lengthen the experience and do it between quarters.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I agree. That is something that should be addressed.

I am a long time VT fan who certainly does not know how things really work in the area of logistics and the behind the scenes goings on, but I do know I haven't liked what happened somewhat last year but for sure this year for the 2016 spring game!

The halftime was only 10 minutes long and hardly anytime for current active or inactive Tech players let alone former Tech players to be recognized and honored and just made feel welcome to the home place of their degree and sacrifice to a great place not only to play football, but to get that education. I mean who's decision was this? What kind of message does this send to kids looking for a place to get an education and play big time college football?

I mean Logan Thomas has to come through the stands to get on the sideline and get a 10 second blurb between plays, Daryl Tapp was there and was not even recognized. How many others where there we didn't even know about NFL or no NFL?

Very sad and bothersome to me as a long time Hokie fan not to plan to take the time to recognize ALL VT PLAYERS. They helped Coach Beamer build VT football.

I sure hope this gets fixed. Again I am not an expert on these kind of things, but I do know the exclusion of recognizing our former players and family of the Hokie nation ain't right period and I talked to a lot of fans during and after the game, and they noticed the exclusion and where not happy either. Surely we can do better than that!!!

Life's short, If you dont do it, somebody else will.

Seems like not much has changed, Derek Smith who wrote the original letter:

Dwight Vick has a string of tweets reiterating the same:

Kevin Jones was supposed to be on top of this but he's left. Who's in charge now? This needs to be a priority.

I love the idea of former players being allowed to use the practice area for tailgating and allow them and their families to line the path between the locker rooms and the tunnel, giving words of encouragment. Would look cool on TV as well.

It's disappointing but also I wonder what the expectations are from the former players. Would like to hear both sides

My first thought was maybe they should hire him as Director of Football Alumni Relations. Seems really well connected with a lot of former players.

I'm kind of not surprised at the lack of access given Fu's very secretive/closed off approach to the program. He may view it as a distraction to have 100 people standing on the sideline while he's trying to coach his team and conduct a game/practice. Who knows. Just the general access to spring football this year was hyper restrictive (even to media), so this isn't super surprising to me. It would be great to have more former players involved with the program, but given what little we know about how Fu likes to run the program, giving full access to that many people seems unlikely.

there were a TON of former players on the sideline for the game some big names and some guys who weren't even contributors from atleast the last 10 years that I could recognize ranging from tyrod to Dwayne alford. im not sure exactly what the players are looking for? recognition? after the game the Edmonds family threw an event in which pretty much every former football player was at if he wanted to be. im very curious to hear the alumis side of the story that do not feel they are being treated well as to what they need or want? players had access to practices leading up to the spring game. the facilities to use as they pleased it seemed like from what I know.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

I'm not really sure what Franks role is at Tech currently but this seems like it would be a perfect opportunity for him to perform. Nothing extremely elaborate, mostly just face time with the previous players and making them feel welcomed and comfortable.

Not sure Beamer is looking for any responsibilities

Thinking more on this. Do players travel there on their own or is VT expected to pay for it?

A few years ago didn't Kam say he would make it for a game a lot of almuni were being asked to come back to so long as his plane ticket was payed for? My interest on this is piqued

Same here. The initial letter seemed legitimate enough but I started feeling really unsure about what the expectations of alumni athletes are based on these recent tweets. I went back to the Shayne Graham AMA and he essentially stated it didn't seem to be an issue for him. It's even more confusing because some schools keep getting mentioned (Miami, Clemson, Georgia, and UVA) without any clarity to what they offer. I struggle to see how an athletic department would be able to afford transportation and tickets for alumni athletes on deman when there are ~15 graduates per class over 2-3 decades.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I would imagine a 15 year NFL career would enable Shane to come back anytime he likes. Most former players aren't in his tax bracket. Plus, he's from the area. I would think he has a place to stay we he comes 'home'. But I wonder if the issue is more along the lines of access. Shane is a name athlete and Hokie Hero. Do those guys have easier access than the players who didn't make it in the league? I would imagine that's the case and I can see where a guy who poured his heart out for 4-5 years could feel slighted when he came back and felt he was ignored.

I noticed the attempt to recognize players last year, when former players gathered at the south endzone at each game. It was done at the spring game also. Usually, there were about 30 players or so. They should introduce each player individually. Wouldn't take that long. Give each guy 5 seconds of applause. Would take about 5 mins.

Some guy in the athletic dept is laughing right now, thinking, 'What an idiot. He doesn't have a clue what it takes'. Probably true.

First wow can't believe I wrote this two years ago, time flies.

Second I'm torn. After spending time with the coaches, support staff and even Whit I can't see this as being a snub of former players. I'm not sure what the issue is, money, time, NCAA rules, lack of former players stepping up to help do some logistical work, lack of staff to get these hundreds of players in to events. Not saying Tech doesn't have communication or organizational issues, they do, big ones. But I'm not sure even now what the players want and how they want it done and if any have stepped up in monogram club for example to take an active role.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I'm a Virginia Tech alumnus, as are many of you.

When I go back, it's up to Virginia Tech (and the alumni association) to make us feel welcome and special. But they aren't sending me plane tickets, game tickets, or hotel/meal reservations. Those are on me. Also, the "welcoming" is provided by other alumni (or current greek organizations), who are putting their free time and energy into all those alumni events and weekends in order to generate donations.

While I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for some general or specific coordination or recognition for former football players, I do get how much energy/resources is involved to make someone feel special. It's more than we sometimes realize. Expectations can run high for some of these folks.

I like the idea of coordination, and trying to reach out to these players. I like seeing them recognized at games and events. It's worth the effort. At the same time, I also can see that there is no budget to pay for transportation and game tickets for everyone who ever played Virginia Tech football (or any other sport, for that matter). I'd be curious what these other teams offer in this regard, but Alabama has a multiple of our football budget.

Like most of life, you get out of it what you put into it. Virginia Tech should be making an effort here, but expectations need to be reasonable, and people should be thinking about what they can do for their community, instead of what someone else can do for them.

this is good, we should continue to point fingers based on assumptions without any real information; i like this

What assumption do you feel that I'm making? Who am I pointing a finger at? I was attempting to point out the reality of the situation. If I missed something or appeared critical, feel free to point it out.

Certainly, more coordination could be done, and some specific recognition could be done. I appreciate the efforts of former players. At the same time, I know how hard it is to make alumni really feel welcome. It takes a lot of energy, and some resources to do it right.

To address complaints specifically, we'd have to know the specific concern. There are some likely reasonable efforts that could be made. Some expectations may be unrealistic. That's all I'm saying. Most people here seem to get it.

But they aren't sending me plane tickets, game tickets, or hotel/meal reservations. Those are on me. Also, the "welcoming" is provided by other alumni (or current greek organizations), who are putting their free time and energy into all those alumni events and weekends in order to generate donations.

that's not what former players want. to your point about what they want: read Derek Smith's letter at the top of the page in the OP, he explicitly states he they don't want tickets etc. The two things he mentions are a tail gate spot for football alumni and mentoring current student athletes. I don't know how much a decent tailgate spot would cost but I'm sure VT can swing it, and mentoring student athletes is no/low cost with a benefit.

i don't think any of the requests stated in Smith's original letter are unreasonable

I don't think what Derek is asking is unreasonable, but I don't necessarily understand the ins and outs of tailgating space on that level. Seems to me that if the communication lines were good they could set up their own. Someone needs to organize it.

The sideline access that some others have mentioned could spiral out of control very quickly. The sidelines are for coaches and players, maybe a key recruit or two, maybe an ex-player or two in addition to Bruce Smith. More than that starts to interfere with the actual mission: to win games.

The sideline access that some others have mentioned could spiral out of control very quickly

this is my disconnect, i don't see former athletes looking for sideline access; just internet posters talking about it as a made up request

I understand where they are coming from. I was a crappy college football player. But I felt like I contributed something to the last undefeated team at my alma mater. If we had a 10th anniversary for that team, me and many other former players received no communication for it (and yes, we get the fundraising letters so they know how to find us.) Outside of recognizing a handful of (very deserving) hall of fame candidates, there really has been nothing recognizing that group. As best as I am aware there has been no effort to welcome former players back, even when the field was dedicated to Fred Selfe.

And now, because I was loudly opposed to the hiring of Curt Newsome, I was blocked by the program's social media account.

Needless to say, I don't visit my alma mater anymore and when those fundraising letters arrive they go in the trash. As far as I am concerned, I paid my money, blood, sweat, and tears to be part of that "family" and there is no due balance left.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I mean no disrespect by this but there's a lot of pointing at the problem and not a whole lot of providing solutions. Ok, so you don't feel welcomed when you come back. What do you suggest changes? It just seems like a bunch of complaining and not actually fixing the problem.

Solutions (shooting from the hip)

Fill the Alumni relations position with someone who will do the job effectively.

Have a set policy applicable for all players for access to Merryman and sideline access for games and special events.

Host an annual "this is home" game for players- not homecoming. Recognize a class on the field.

I am sure there is more but in my experience "cut off all contact except publicly saying you don't give enough money" isn't the best approach. The former players are like every other potential donor. They are a customer. Instead, many schools treat former players like they are still indebted and provides no other incentive. I have some insight on the amount of work that goes into being a student athlete, and I never worked anywhere near as hard as those guys. They don't owe the school anything. If you want them to give, you need them to feel like they are still part of the program.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Another item- having a reserved parking/tailgate area for former players perhaps.

I spoke with a good friend of mine who is a former player. He has not heard anything from the athletic department, even a request for a donation, since 2009.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I know at one point the school didn't request donations from former players. They said those guys had given enough to the school they weren't going to ask for more from them.

As for parking and a tailgate area I just don't see where one around Lane could be had.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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As for parking and a tailgate area I just don't see where one around Lane could be had.

The intramural fields right above Chicken Hill

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

So let vehicles and tailgating occur on fields?

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Yeah that will not be allowed on a turf field. They could set up a tent and tables though. That really is the only place near the stadium that is available and does not have a parking spot value of $1000-$1500 of donations.

Sure, why not?

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Because those are turf fields.

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It would be fine as long as there is no parking. They have all the pregame stuff on the turf field next to the stadium every game.

There's a thousand different spots to park cars in and around those areas whether it is exactly on the field or not. I'm sure a school with a bunch of engineers can figure it out. They can most definitely tailgate in those areas, no matter the surface.

There is no excuse to not have parking and hosting for an football alumni tailgate if that's what would make the former players feel more welcome

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

The parking around those fields is filled with donors and paying season ticket holders. Those are the premium lots even. This is what the issue is, yes something on the communication side needs to be fixed but the "it's an easy solution" on the action side is shortsighted or unaware of the realities of the logistics.

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I feel there is a really large missed opportunity here. I thought there might be untenable requests for travel or whatever going on. But if former players are just looking for communication and organization it should be easily accommodated. (Having said that I know how absolutely shitty the alumni office at VT is so this kind of organization seems rife throughout the administrative structures)

A tailgate run by former Hokies that was a fan forward service seems to me like it could be of much greater value than a few parking spots. There would need to be commitment from former players and managed so it's not simply a meet and great, grab a beer thing. But I could see that being really fun and beneficial for both fan and football alumni. That's all about game day experience.

Hell, why not let them run something on the field between Pritchard and Ambler-Johnson? I haven't been to a game in a while. Is this space used during game days? I think it would be especially great that the former student athletes helped current students get more into the game. A little recognition going both ways. I see only positives. What am I missing?

That would be the perfect spot for it. Last season it was used for that tailgating company fans can pay for.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Tech has a contract with them so that place is out. See that's the thing an answer everyone thinks is easy has tons of moving and financial parts. Some of the things they want are easy: more open communication and feel like they are welcome around the team. Others not so easy parking and tailgate area around Lane, access to facilities on gameday, sideline access, mentoring the team, being asked to donate. All these have hurdles to clear. Should Whit and company be trying to clear them, yes. I agree with that sentiment or I wouldn't have written this 2 years ago. But I also realize how hard it is to balance out all the needs of the football and entire athletic department.

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This is not the insurmountable stumbling block you may think it is. If this is the only barrier then it could be solved almost immediately

That company has contracts with dozens of major college football programs moving them to a less desirable location I think would hurt both the long term relationship, bottom line and image of the athletic department.

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See, I am a bit more business minded. For starters, that company's survival is based on the contract it has with schools. Not the other way around. Second, there is no way a large institution like VT does not have a clause in the contract about changing locations. Any average legal department would never paint themselves into a corner like that. Finally, it's a fairly large field there. Are they taking up all the space? and since they are a tailgating rental company what better advertisement for their services than creating an add on to their contract which is win win, a self catered tail gate for former players at that location so that prospective buyers can see the product firsthand. It doesn't have to be free but how about at cost? I could see that being big and as I said a real opportunity that isn't being capitalized on.

I could see a relationship there using the, to set up the area. Then it comes down to cost.

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It's only cost if you use their service. Coukd be enough space for both. As I said it's a big field. Hell, in the prospect of getting moved to a less desirable location they may offer to share at their own cost. It's all negotiable and fairly easy in my opinion.

I had no idea that parking off the side of the road and in many of the grass areas around the intramural fields was premium lots. When I walked past there last season there weren't any cars there so they are certainly being underutilized by all of these donors and ticket holders. To me, the premium lots are 1 and 2, which is McComas and South Endzone.

Sounds like we'll just have to agree to disagree on whether finding parking around the area is difficult or not.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Maybe we are talking about different places then. I'm refering to chicken Hill and the marching Virginia's fields there.

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he's talking about across the street around the tennis center

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

So just looked at it on google earth while it seems like there is space behind the intramural baseball field would players feel like they are being shut off in a corner? Otherwise there looks like potential there.

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If that is the space he is talking about, that is staff and media parking. Doubt they are going to let that up considering it is usually full.

With Research Center Drive (though it will always be Ramble Rd to me) being rerouted, it seems like there might be space to expand parking in that area. Maybe a large lot where the road now dead ends against the newly expanded airport.

I'm guessing parking is a lot more at premium over there after they redid the intramural fields with turf. Lots of that used to be used for media and staff parking, to the point where the lot across the tennis courts was actually empty most of time. I talked my way into that lot for a few games, as the lot would be nearly empty <30 minutes before kick. Of course you also used be able to park in the grass all long Ramble Rd for awhile too.

What about that soccer practice area next to the softball stadium?

Recruit Prosim

I am sure there is more but in my experience "cut off all contact except publicly saying you don't give enough money" isn't the best approach.

I think this more than anything is what rubs we the wrong way. Even as a regular alum who put in his dues purely through tuition, I do find it amusing that they put letters in the mail asking for money basically immediately after graduating. For student athletes who remain (legally anyways) uncompensated for making millions of dollars for the NCAA and college, it's a not a good look to not really recognize them for their contributions and just demand more money from them. If I were a former scholarship player I would feel snubbed too.

And I'll add that I don't think the school even really needs to spend that much money to placate the players. Just do something to acknowledge them and their contributions.

From speaking to former players, the feeling I get is unless you're in the NFL or one of the chosen favorites, there isn't much effort to have former players involved. They do a lot to get those specific guys involved but not much else where. There's no established communication or coordination with players to have them come back and be a part of the program. Tech wasn't built off of just the star players. I think guys just want to feel like they're still part of the program and they've devoted enough to where they shouldn't have to initiate it.

Bud/Wiles 2020

Something has to be done about this.
This really could deteriorate the program.
Alum athletes should have just as much access on the field/sideline as they did when they were putting in all the work, fighting through all that pain to make VT what it is today.

Hokie Love!

I'm not sure I understand what you're proposing here. How would that work?

Well, they should have something that recognizes them as former players that allows them to the field and the athletic facilities at least. They are making it very clear that they don't want any freebies, they just want recognition and a little access is all. One of the main reasons I enjoy being a hokie is the loyalty the program shows.

Hokie Love!

You can't just wander around during games. That's the thing. Like someone suggested using the Beamer Barn for the tailgate but that has so many logistical issues.

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There are rules about where people can be on the sideline if they are not part of the team. Not to mention how would you limit who and how many players can be on the sideline for big games like ND or LOLUVA this upcoming year?

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That's exactly what I was thinking. You really can't have a lot of extra people on the sidelines. If you think about the number of ex-players, you can see how it might be problematic.

They make an effort every year to let the current student athletes from other sports down there on the field pregame and for enter sandman. Pretty sure they form the tunnel for the player entrance sometimes. And every game you have the recruits and their families on the sideline for warmups. Don't think it would be hard to have something for former players to be down there pregame more often.

Bud/Wiles 2020

There is also a game every year where the Monogram Club (previous Varsity Athletes) can be on the field for Enter Sandman and they have a kind of homecoming tailgate.

The only information I saw about it was on a private Facebook group that you have to actively request to join. I think this is where most of the communication comes from, so if they don't use Facebook much or know about this group, they won't know anything.

Also I might have missed it but have they honored any of the past ACC or Big East championship teams at halftime before? Last year would have been the 10 year anniversary for the '07 team. Could have tried to get as many of those guys as they could back for a game. Be cool to show recruits that if you come and win championships, you're still remembered years later.

Bud/Wiles 2020

Great idea. Shame we missed out on it

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

this. We've had an amazing run in football in the '00s, we should be honoring those teams regularly. Never seems to happen at tech.

I believe it's in the works to honor the '08 ACC championship team at the ECU game this year. Think it's just in the planning stages but really hope it works out. Would be nice to make this a tradition.

Bud/Wiles 2020

I don't think it will deteriorate the program at all. The big dogs are still happy. Vick and Tyrod are back and treated like kings. That's what people see. They get warm fuzzies and will likely never see the grumblings of others who aren't as front of memory.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

So are you implying that only the big names matter and the rest are SOL.

I'm saying that point blank. I'm not endorsing it as right or correct, but the athletic department is making choices. Should every former player be welcomed back and given something to make them feel special? Absolutely. Is that what Whit and Co are planning? I almost assure you it isn't.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

I guess I need to know more about what the former players expect. These recent comments come after a spring game where everything is absolutely free. So, players could tailgate together, sit together, etc. Therefore, my assumption is that they would like more behind the scenes access. I have no idea how feasible that would be logistically. I'm rambling, but to me, this just screams of a situation where we only hear one side of a story and dont know the whole story.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

I'm a former player. I've been contacted zero times by the athletic department since I graduated about a donation to the program let alone coming back to Tech to be involved in anything with the program. This is the norm. I guess what we want is effort at least.

Bud/Wiles 2020

So when donation amounts for past players especially NFL players was made public at several other peer institutions it came out that Tech has among the lowest returns of donations from NFL players. Then it was made known that Tech does not and will not ask former football players for money unless they make a request to donate from them to start.

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Which is fine, but just like its been mentioned a ton of times already, i feel like with active communication and involvement donations would be more likely.

Bud/Wiles 2020

I think that is what the Monogram Club is for. It's not sport specific, but it is a way for the school to open lines of communication. The only problem is that they strictly use a private Facebook group as far as I know. It also changed to a different group on Facebook in the past year, so they probably lost contact with a decent amount of people.

They were trying to create a new website and rejuvenate it around 2015, but I don't know how far they got with that.

What, you mean that the school, at least publicly through social media, acting as if Tyrod is the only alum who matters rubs former players the wrong way?

Shocked!

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Don't forget BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE

As far as I can tell, Bruce puts a lot of effort into attending games, and being available. I like seeing him out there.

He's celebrated like a star because, you know, he IS a star.

Not saying we can't celebrate other players as well, but Vick and Bruce were number one picks, so nobody should be begrudging them anything. I appreciate all the former player efforts, and I've seen a lot of them on the field. If we can provide some better infrastructure and give them some more recognition, I'm all for it.

Bruce also owns an apartment complex and is invested in other businesses around BBurg. So he can probably write off travel back to BBurg as a business expense and then attend a game while he is in over the weekend. He also seemed to attend a ton of games while his son was on the team recently.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

He also attends TOTS on the regular

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Great place for business meetings as well. I have seen contracts signed at TOTS as well as Sharkeys.

Absofreakinglutely!

Life's short, If you dont do it, somebody else will.

This started the first Spring game Fuente was coach and that is not to say this is his doing! But being a fan who has been going to the spring game as long as I can remember at 64 years of age I hate the way I as a fan see former players treated wether they are former or current pros! Even non pro players deserve to be treated with respect and made feel at home! The spring game especially is for the fans and players! So last spring game they show two or three players and then line up a bunch of former FB players and athletes and make some short statement of recognition instead of taking the time to go down the line and recognize each one of them! It wouldn't have taken that long! I also miss the team player awards they use to do at halftime which they haven't done since Fuente took over! If there where more than two or three former players that are current pros or past why not take 10 or 15 minutes to bring them out on the field and make them feel welcome and at home! I speak for many fans I heard talking about how poorly the spring game is done let alone games and former player access to the program! Not sure who to blame? But it's someones call and it started the first year Fuente was the coach! Better remember who buys the tickets and supports the team and how the treatment of former players can have an affect on recruiting as well! Stories like above with all the social media travels fast and it is not very favorable from the many fans and stories like posted here and TSL! I thought they where going to fix this after Fuentes first year and all the player backlash? Doesn't look like it!

Life's short, If you dont do it, somebody else will.

This has been going on long before Fuente took over. Also, we have only been hearing one side of the story. I am sure the stories are true from former players, but I would also like to hear from the athletic department, as there is no way that they are doing nothing with all the publicity this has been getting.

With all due respect, the player treatment or lack there of started Fuentes first year at the spring game and has got worse since his first year! It's like they don't want to take the time to reach out to the players and let the fans enjoy them being there or at least that's the way it comes across!

Life's short, If you dont do it, somebody else will.

I mean if you looked at my original post up there this was written before Fuente got here.

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With all due respect, it has been going on long before and not just in regards to former athletes. It has been the same thing with the Hokie Club for years. Lack of communication has caused massive confusion and lack of engagement. This was a large issue with Weaver as well.

As I have mentioned in other areas in this thread this is also the case with the Monogram Club. I have yet to receive any personal communication from them. The only communication that I have had is from taking my own initiative to provide my information to them on the website and asking to join a Private Facebook group after they stopped using the previous Facebook group. Facebook is the only place where I have seen events or any attempt at communication starting from the Monogram Club. The thing is, I don't use Facebook anymore, so I see and receive nothing from them.

If you go back and look. This was from the OSU game.

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Man... this thread

I'm seeing a lot of suggestions for how to make this work to make former student athletes feel welcome back to the school that would cause minimal effort on the part of Tech, and a heck of a lot of excuses (and honestly, fairly feeble and lame ones at that) to why we can't make it work.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I wanna see a flag football game between the 95' and 99' squad before the spring game.

Full contact or nothing.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Even a mixed team flag football game would be fun. Assign a captain to each and let them pick players. Get to see Sean Glennon to Andre Davis and Bryan Randall to Jayron Hosely (assuming players would play both sides). Even better, make guys have to play any position but their lettered position. You could have a few fat guy TDs this way. Have 10 min quarters, would be fun.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I like the idea of captains and not playing their position. Something like this would be cool for the fans, former players, and future guys to see.

I think it would also give some leeway for age and conditioning. Plus a guy like Will Montgomery has really slimmed down from his OL days and may want to sling the rock.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Vick as a RB or WR would be just sick.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

I am all for allowing more access for former players, but the university should be very selective in who they pay to travel back. If the alumni can find their way back there should be a spot for them and their families, but the University can't afford to be giving up a large swath of high donor areas.

Carve out a football specific section of the monogram club since football by far has the most participants of any sport at Tech. Initially allot some space for a walk-up tailgate, players and families will have to find their own parking spot unless some previous arrangement has been made for a player being individually honored. Have food for purchase with proceeds to the Monogram club or have a grill running and people can bring food to cook and allow coolers, provide tables and chairs, but let athletes bring their own cornhole boards, etc. As the Monogram Club builds some funds, offer them priority in picking their location and number of spots so in a sense the Club is just a big donor with some special treatment.

I don't see allowing all former players to have sideline access being a reality, but it would be nice to have tickets reserved for purchase ( by Hokie Club priority of course) for anniversary teams and then have them acknowledged on the field between quarters and allowed on the field after the game. Do it at 5 year anniversary at first, then 10, 20, 30 etc so that it the alumni/athletic department only has to manage 4 of these a year. All travel would be at the former athlete's expense.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I don't see allowing all former players to have sideline access being a reality, but it would be nice to have tickets reserved for purchase

Bingo. Not everyone who donned a VT jersey needs to be on sidelines for games. And I've sat around plenty of guys that played for Tech, in the stands. They bought season tickets and support the team, being Hokie Club members and season ticket holders.

I'm a man! I'm 44! Hokie thru and thru.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I think the point is being missed here. People keep getting caught up on the "sideline access" and "travel pay" part of this for some reason. Trust me, former players get it. We all aren't Tyrod and Vick. Some players get more access and privileges than others and we understand that. They deserve it, but for there to be zero communication with or opportunities with the rest of the guys isn't good enough. Having a special tailgate reunion for a championship team or honoring them at the end of a quarter is too easy. No one is asking for the school to pay for 100's of guys to travel back to Blacksburg. Most of us are already hokie club members and season ticket holders. We're a part of a family and just want the school to act like it.

Bud/Wiles 2020

I don't think its unreasonable that, if you've ever represented Tech as a player who has dressed and played for the school, you should get sideline access to at least one game per season, especially if you earned a letterman jacket. Obviously, guys like Vick, Tyrod, Corey Moore, etc, they should be able to get that kind of honor whenever they want, but as long as you have a ticket to the game, I don't see why you can't at the very least be put on a rotating list or lottery of sideline access recipients, and I don't think anyone who suggests wanting to get that is asking too much.

Also, I'd go so far as to say, if you're a member of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, you and your spouse or partner (or young children, should you have any) should at the very least have the opportunity to buy season tickets at a substantially reduced price. Ideally, I'd like to see those tickets comp'd for life.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

There is a limit on who can be on the sidelines.
When we switched from the BigEast to the ACC the rules changed a bit. My old roommate was on the sidelines for Big East games but was told he couldn't be for future games with the ACC rules. I'm sure there is something about asking special permission of the league to have former players there on a special exception or something.

I'm a man! I'm 44! Hokie thru and thru.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I think that maybe you're not doing the math.

tl;dr on comments. My 2 cents:

I know it helps for recruiting to have the network, so I understand and appreciate that. However, I don't think Fuente and company have to go out of their way to pander to old players. They know they have an open door with Fuente and that the university will welcome them with open arms. They shouldn't expect a groveling coach and AD to constantly pander to them; they have better things to do than to stroke ex player egos.

It shouldn't be up to Fuente to do this. The Monogram Club should already be all over this making sure they have things already in place to cater toward these alumni on a game by game basis.

Unfortunately, much like we see all over the place within the Hokie Club, we really don't know what we're doing at an organizational level, and the mismanagement has caused laziness to permeate to the point where doing the bare minimum is the expectation, and anything more would be far too difficult to consider.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

As an aside the Hokie Club is down to Skelton staff right now.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

That's not an excuse. If we don't have the personnel to get this done, then start hiring people to get it done. Its not like there is a shortage of potential employees out there.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

They lost 4 employees in six months those just can't be replaced in a day. Two of the lost employees were top people. One was just named an associate AD and Vice President of a Big Ten University.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Is the head of the Monogram club a paid position or strictly volunteer?

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Let's just say they have great benefits. Tons of Hardee's coupons.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Yet again, how do they know they'll be welcomed with open arms if there's no communication? Most of the former players don't know this athletic department staff and only know a few of the remaining coaches. I really don't think you get it if you still think this is about "pandering" and "stroking egos"

Bud/Wiles 2020

I really don't think you get it if you still think this is about "pandering" and "stroking egos"

....but that's really what it is. Heck, Fuente has made it known in multiple news conferences that old players are always welcome no matter what. What does he have to do? Keep a neon sign? Sure the communication could ALWAYS be better, but it's not like Fuente has animosity to the old players or wants to keep them out.

No one ever said there was animosity toward former players and I don't believe this is an issue that started with Fuente so both of those things are irrelevant. Also there's a difference between saying in a press conference "players are welcomed back" and there actually being an organized effort to have guys more involved. And no, a neon sign would look terrible in front of Jamerson so I'd prefer that not happen.

Bud/Wiles 2020

I appreciate your contribution to this discussion. In your estimation, what percentage of former players regularly attend games? I'm trying to wrap my head around the numbers we are talking about if there was an organized game day event. Outside of game day, it sounds to me like the school needs to organize a better method of communication. If the monogram club is a start, then they need to figure out a better way to communicate with the athletes. While facebook can be effective for some things, it seems like a lazy way to do it for something like this. Thanks again.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

That's the thing I can't really tell you how many. I'd say from my time there, at least 10 unless it's a special weekend like homecoming or a big game like Clemson last year. I'm sure there a plenty of guys from years before me though but without any organized gathering or communication I can't really say.

Bud/Wiles 2020

I'm glad we have this thread.

I don't agree with all the opinions, but it's a discussion worth having.

I imagine that if I were an ex-player, I'd want better coordination and to feel that my efforts were appreciated as the program continues to reach higher levels.

So I'm not an alum and not a former player, but reading through this thread I have but just one question for the monogram club. Why are you using Facebook as a platform for alum relations? Make a dedicated site for the monogram club in house. This gives you so much more freedom to pass information to the members. You also can easily provide the information to them by email that is also in house. This would be a safe and stationary landing spot for communication between the school and members(former players).

even better, why are our alumni services (in any capacity) not an app yet? I know private grade schools that have their entire alumni history since the schools inception over 100 years ago on a searchable app.

if only we were a technology forward curriculum...

seriously though, no excuse for how other-worldly shitty VT's alumni services are

seriously though, no excuse for how other-worldly shitty VT's alumni services are

something, something, they just need money so donate to the alumni association! /s

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

those who no longer invent the future are doomed to live in the past

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Because Facebook lets people interact on a personal level too, and has all the necessary features built in. Players can join a group, create events, monitor who can join group/events, comment on groups/events, etc. What features do you think are missing? FWIW, a lot alumni associations, business schools, etc use FB as their primary means of organizing social events. It doesn't make sense for an organization to spend time and money to build out their own platform when there's a free product available that does everything required.

Twitter me

The problem is not everyone wants to be on Facebook for various different reasons. If any sort of organization is strictly limiting its online presence to Facebook they are likely missing part of their target audience. A website in addition to a facebook group really isn't a huge cost.

As alluded to above, various organizations including the Alumni Association seem to be missing out on tapping into free/cheap labor to build these things. Seems like a lot of these projects would be good independent study opportunities for CS, BIT, ACIS majors etc.

I agree. I'm not on facebook, but I check a certain tech sports site religiously. It's easy enough to keep a presence on the major social media sites. Hell, I know of cheap (free?) services that will post the same things across all your social media accounts so you can "keep up" all of them with minimal work. Then all's that is left is putting an embedded facebook/twitter stream on your website so it displays what facebook users see. That way you reach everyone on YouTwitFace, but can also keep up your site like you normally would.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

There is also the fact that Facebook is a private company, at anytime they can say "We have made enough money, we're done." You are now out of your "free" platform that you based your entire communication system with alumni on. You are now at square one. I would give VT a better chance at being around longer than Facebook will be.

With an in-house system you would be able to give access to the students that are eligible without them ever having to sign up. Provide them with a packet or a url to a landing page with information about the system. There is enough brain power in the student body to come up with a website that has all the integration to social media and the VT system(not live or production) for them to build and test. The full time employees can then take the system and integrate it into the live systems.

relevant:

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

The problem is not everyone wants to be on Facebook for various different reasons. If any sort of organization is strictly limiting its online presence to Facebook they are likely missing part of their target audience. A website in addition to a facebook group really isn't a huge cost.

There's a pretty easy solution to this - Monogram club has one webpage where they list all events, a portal where people can register/pay for said events, and they send out a monthly email newsletter. There's no need for the monogram club to build out a forum-like platform like facebook has.

As alluded to above, various organizations including the Alumni Association seem to be missing out on tapping into free/cheap labor to build these things. Seems like a lot of these projects would be good independent study opportunities for CS, BIT, ACIS majors etc.

As someone who implements ERP systems for a living, I assure you that building this is a complicated process, that most undergraduates aren't capable of executing without heavy assistance. Could students create a landing page that lists upcoming events? Surely. Could they build out a platform like Facebook has? No; and if they can, then that student is wasting their time/money getting a degree, they should go freelance.

Twitter me

I work in web and mobile development, I could easily make both for them for free. Who should I contact?

1) Have a set policy on how alumni players can participate and a clear point of contact for questions.
2) Have a tailgating space reserved for former players around Lane Stadium
3) We all acknowledge that every single alumni can't be on the sidelines for big games. However, have a policy and methodology for determining how those slots are allocated and make former players aware of the opportunity.
4) Identify a role for alumni players to be more active in Hokie Club events. I think we can all agree that the way the Hokie Club's operate isn't tenable if the program wants to return to an elite fundraising level. Having former players more involved is one of many steps that can be taken to improve that system.

Outside of having a dedicated competent staff member with support from the athletic department and accountability for not delivering success, there is very little cost here. Improving communication with the entire fan base, not just former players, is a goal that the athletic department should make as their top priority.

Sadly, I get a feeling that the current regime kind of wants to move away from the Beamer-era. There is lip service being paid, but some of these low hanging fruit items seem so easy to achieve that they could be accomplished without selling the family cow. Either there just isn't serious interest by the administration, or there is more going on than we are privy to.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Bingo. I'd take a coupon for a triple bourbon ginger from hokie house too, but beggars can't be choosers.

Bud/Wiles 2020

Sadly, I get a feeling that the current regime kind of wants to move away from the Beamer-era. There is lip service being paid, but some of these low hanging fruit items seem so easy to achieve that they could be accomplished without selling the family cow. Either there just isn't serious interest by the administration, or there is more going on than we are privy to.

Oh, I don't think its even that complicated. Having been able to peer into how alumni relations operate at Tech both at the Alumni Assoc level and the Hokie Club, we're just so horribly run that doing something like this is far too complicated for the current employees to comprehend. Seriously, they punt routinely punt as much responsibility to volunteer representatives with no incentive to actually make it happen. Would not be surprised if they just think a grass roots thing will just happen if they suggest it to a couple HC reps.

But seriously, their massive idea for fundraising changes in 2017 was to have a twitter 'competition' between alumni chapters and hokie clubs to 'paint their state orange' through donations. Their grand scheme to make this happen? Tell the alumni chapters they were required to hype it up and would potentially lose status if they didn't. That was pretty much the assistance Blacksburg gave through that.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

One thing I don't like is this term that's been thrown around, multiple times throughout the thread: ex-player. The correct phrase should be former player. I mean, once a Hokie, always Hokie (I get it, there are a smidgen of exceptions *cough*MV5*cough*). But the very description of "ex-player" carries with it a vibe of forgotten or even completely minimized and tossed aside appreciation.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

This is really fine distinction in the connotation of "former" vs "ex-". The definition of "ex-" is literally "former" if you look it up.

Chem PhD '16

Which one do you feel & think sounds better?

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

literally neither

Chem PhD '16

I hear you, & I understand that there are some folks that feel that way. But there are others that do feel (even those that don't/won't admit) that "ex" carries a more negative connotation than "former".

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

So, totally unrelated, but involving engagement of these people...
Any of them want to do some AMA's? We just have to warn them that we're going to ask stupid questions.

Dwight writes some for 24/7, so I am not sure if he could. I am not sure if Derek Smith would, but he penned the original open letter to the CT.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Give me a list of five players and I'll work my magic.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Don't know that I would have a list. Different perspectives are always nice. The obvious easy one is stineydraw48.

Just name five former players that you would like to see on an AMA.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I'd like to ask Macho Harris what he did downtown that night those dudes rode in and shot up my apartment building. That was some scary shit to wake up to!

JC Price or John Engelberger
An Adibi
A Fuller
Jake Grove
Lee Suggs or Kevin Jones
Kevin McAdam or Kam Chancellor
Jim Pyne
Bruce
Robert Brown
Will Furrer
Don Strock
Steve Johnson (Bristol Developer/donor)
Ben Taylor or James Anderson

I can't count.

Current NFL guys are hard to get to do these especially young ones. I'll start making contacts next week after school is over.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

George DelRicco
JC Price
Tyronne Drakeford
Jim Pyne

And do I really need to say the fifth name? You know who I want. Make it happen.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

Some of my favorite Hokies:
Bryan Randall
Corey Moore
Danny Coale
Daryl Tapp
Cody Grimm
Sam Rogers
Chris Ellis (best twitter trash talker)
John Graves

Chris Ellis (best twitter trash talker)

Better than James Gayle?

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

That's what I was thinking. Guess I need to give Ellis a follow.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I wanted to share an idea that's been rattling around while reading this thread. And I'm just spitballing here.

How cool would it be to have an area in Hokie Village every game for the former players to tailgate, mingle, sign autographs, etc.? There could be a kind of tiered area with one part available only to former players and their families and another where they could interact with fans if they so choose.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I see where you're going, but I think that puts players in an uncomfortable spot. I imagine that they, just like you and I, want to return to their alma mater, and enjoy time with their friends and family, not be a local celeb. I know that in you're mind it's up to the player if they want to interact, but I think that is a 'loaded' decision of sorts... Fans could be offended if you don't want to spend time with them, players might feel obligated, etc.

Twitter me

I hear ya. Like I said, I was just spitballing.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

The one thing the school does already give former student athletes is an automatic 50 points to their Hokie Club account. This is a lot of points that could give you a slight step up in the pecking order for selecting tickets and parking passes. I am not at the point where I can donate a substantial amount to get season tickets, so I am not sure exactly how much that is worth.

A lot. I only have 42 points after 4 years of donating and 2 years season tickets, 3 years bowl tickets.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

so about 4 years of top tier donations??

I ask because I am a simple poor folk that can afford to buy 1(maybe 2 if things work out) tickets to a game. My first ever game was 2 years ago.

No I'm second to bottom tier.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Current system gives 2 points for every $100 donated so 50 points is equal to donating $2500.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Seems like CJF heard it through the grapevine (around 2:30 in the video):

Hopefully this message makes it out to the former players

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Andy Bitter had Dwight Vick on his podcast, where they start off with how relations with football alumni could be improved.

I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but I thought this was probably the best place to put the link.

EDIT: So I've listened to the first part where they touch on potential ways to improve relations, and here's a few highlights from the discussion.

- From what Dwight says, there is a level of communication happening right now to hopefully rectify some of the issues that have become public
- He makes a point to say that a lot of former players have never stepped foot in the Beamer Barn. He's also clear that it's not a sense of entitlement among former players that they feel every whim should be catered to, but that the process of getting access isn't well-defined.
- Apparently there is a Football Alumni Board and they're trying to get better organized to help with some of these things
- When Kevin Jones was the point person, he talked to KJ about certain things and since KJ stepped down there was a brief gap in communication (understandable). He mentioned there have been discussions with guys like Andre Davis and Justin Hamilton since KJ has left.
- Dwight feels things are improving
- Has nothing but nice things to say about Fuente, Whit and the direction of the program. He understands that the program has certain financial limitations too.
- Overall, former players just feel like things they've had in years past have been neglected a bit
- Specific ideas discussed by Dwight:

  • Dedicated area for former players to meet on gamedays
  • A systematic approach to tickets & access (i.e. here's a cap on how many tickets you're allowed)
  • Dwight stated that he suggested to KJ the idea of a "football pass" that costs X dollar amount annually. When you're on campus, you can show your ID to visit the Merryman Center or see the practice facility. Dwight was also pragmatic and that there should be boundaries involve (i.e. if you violate the terms of the agreement, you could lose your pass for a season).

Dwight's points are well-made. He's a great advocate for the program and we should should be thankful for that. He makes the great point that former players all have a bit of ego in the sense that they helped put VT on a trajectory for success (he specifically mentions the '95-'99 squads). With that in mind, players feel invested in the program and want to see the fruits of their labor, for lack of a better term.