WOLFE: Thetford Mines uses football to grow school & reputation

The genesis and raison d’etre of football at Cégep de Thetford offers a most compelling story. Back in the early 2000s the school Director, Robert Rousseau was searching for strategies to grow his school. He felt that adding sports teams, and football, in particular, might be the solution they were looking for.

Rousseau found research that pointed to athletic success at several colleges that resulted in more and better applicants. Interesting for us Canadians, this phenomenon is often referred to as the “Flutie Effect”. Following the famous Flutie “Hail Mary” pass in 1984, Boston College’s student applications rose by 30% for the following 2 years.

Les Filons played their 1st football game during the 2004 season. Having a team in and of itself is no guarantee of improving a school’s reputation, nor will it necessarily ensure an increased student population. In fact, their combined record of 7-31 during years 1 to 4, was not getting it done.

To achieve the intended goal of improving their reputation academically, they would have to do well on the field, requiring better players would necessitate becoming creative in their recruiting and improvement to their athletic facilities.

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