DePaul Needs to Fire Jean Lenti Ponsetto

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

I’ve been a DePaul Blue Demons basketball fan my whole life. I attended DePaul and am a season ticket holder. For some unknown reason, I have stuck with this program despite knowing how terrible it has become. Despite an excellent campus location and membership in the Big East, DePaul continues to be a laughing stock of men’s college basketball. Jean Lenti-Ponsetto, I want to thank you for ruining my favorite college basketball team.

As someone that has been around the athletic department at DePaul, it is run like a poor family business. If your last name is Lenti or you have a personal relationship with an administrator, you’ll have a job. Meanwhile, there’s no buzz around the program and try finding DePaul merchandise anywhere around town. This program should be a top program year in and year out, but instead they’re no better than Loyola. What advantages does Marquette have over DePaul? Well I’m waiting. And the answer is that they have a competent athletic department that actually cares about winning basketball games.

I’ve heard how Mrs. Lenti-Ponsetto is an innovator of Title IX.  I certainly respect women’s athletics, but Title IX compliance shouldn’t come at the expense of other areas of athletics. Clearly, DePaul has shown much more of a commitment to women’s athletics than mens. Look no further than the on-campus arena built for the women’s basketball program. While the men play in an arena that has zero connection to the university, the women play right near campus. Do you think recruits see the Allstate Arena in Rosemont as this awesome home-court advantage? I’m sure an on-campus arena helps our women’s team out while the men have to commute to a dump.

Now there’s rumblings that DePaul may look to either build an arena for the men or play at the United Center. Perhaps Mrs. Lenti-Ponsetto learned from her mistakes, but it is more believable that despite her publically being connected to Rosemont through personal and political connections, the school has finally recognized that it will only compete if it plays closer to campus. Of course, I’m sure she’ll take full credit for this one. But anyone that knows the real Mrs. Lenti-Ponsetto knows that she has resisted a move away from Rosemont for YEARS.

Here are some things the general public doesn’t know about our Title IX queen. The DePaul spirit squads (compiled mostly by girls) are treated poorly. When I say poorly, I mean they aren’t even given food after performing at games. Considering that they’re often time the highlights of horrific games (and work hard at it mind you), the least the school can do is provide these girls with some help. One girl told me that the school made the whole team buy new shoes that had a Nike logo because of a new sponsorship agreement. And when the girls told the school the shoes cost well over $150, the school told them that they had to purchase the shoes on their own. They also have to pay for expenses and other things out of pocket as well. Do you think this is fair? Is this equal access?

Mrs. Lenti-Ponsetto has hired two basketball coaches at DePaul. Her old pal Jerry Wainwright turned out to be a disaster. She kept telling us we needed to judge Wainwright on more than wins and losses. What she didn’t tell us was she secretly extended his contract. Less than two years into that extension, the program became significantly worse. After she tried every move under the sun to get him to resign, he refused and she was forced to fire him (costing the school around $750,000). Oliver Purnell was her latest hire as coach. While the team has made some marginal improvements, he is under a lucrative and lengthy contract. Going into his third year, the program isn’t much better than it was before he arrived.

When will the buck finally stop with her?

Follow me on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew.

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