HOWEVER THEY fare in the current state-budget season, Massachusetts’ public universities must look for ways to build their individual reputations, increase alumni giving, and appeal to students outside their host communities. The recent decision by the chancellor and trustees of University of Massachusetts Lowell to move all its sports programs to the more competitive Division 1 will raise the university’s profile in a positive way. The fact that the university does not have varsity football — which requires by far the largest expenditures — will make the transition easier.
UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan has chosen a reasonable sample of schools to measure the River Hawks against: Among them are the state universities of Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. He isn’t looking toward the national powerhouses, such as Texas or Ohio State, that pour more than $100 million a year into their programs.