Orange Watch: Looking forward in the Syracuse sports crystal ball

As a rare, rebuilding lacrosse season winds down with the Orange likely needing to win the inaugural Big East Lacrosse Championship May 3-5 at Villanova to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, we go back to last Sept. 1.

That’s the night SU rallied from 15 points down late to beat Wake Forest in overtime (certainly aided by the loss of Wake’s starting QB Tanner Price early in the 4th quarter).

Wow, in the past seven months since that great feeling of a 1-0 football start, look at what has transpired with Cuse athletics, much of it off the field of play:

*The out of nowhere move to the ACC, suddenly, shockingly, the beginning of the end of a Big East relationship spanning five decades.

» What did you think of SU’s wacky year?
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*A football season spiraling downward with five consecutive defeats to end the season bowl ineligible.

*The Bernie Fine story, its many tentacles, and his subsequent termination after 36 years of sitting one chair next to Jim Boeheim.

*Off, on again, off again – the eligibility of Big East Defensive Player of the Year Fab Melo. His absence in the Elite Eight loss to Ohio State forever posing the “what if” question among Orange Nation in an attempt to earn the school’s fifth Final Four berth, but instead ended a record-setting 34-3 season.

*The university admitting, following a damning three month Yahoo! Sports investigation, it had self-reported to the NCAA during the 2010-11 year possible violations of its internal drug testing policy by past members of the basketball program.

Heading into what’s normally a quiet period between the (expected) end of the lacrosse season Memorial Day weekend, and the start of football pre-season camp in early August, it might not be so quiet this summer when you consider:

*The U.S. Attorney’s office has been handling the Fine matter since last fall and depending on whether or not federal charges are ever filed, who knows what will happen? It could produce results ranging anywhere from a criminal trial, a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university, or shed negativity towards other law enforcement or related entities over their previous handling of the case.

*The ongoing posturing before a potential trial between lawyers for both sides in the slander lawsuit filed against the university and Boeheim by former ball boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, one of the aforementioned tentacles from the Fine story.

*The NCAA is going to rule one way or another at some point in the drug testing policy inquiry and it may not end up pleasant, especially if names are named.

*Moving to the ACC is a year away. With a bigger revenue paycheck at the end of the day, it will mean the start to a commitment for upgrading the athletic department in both staffing, facilities (with the prospect of a 100 yard indoor football complex not bright in the near term, look for a serious upgrade to the existing football infrastructure), and modernizing and evolving the home game entertainment experience (non-field, no jokes, please) at the Dome (message “Ribbon Boards” are here, finally, to ring around the Dome’s two main levels) to keep up with its new ACC brethren.

*Jim Boeheim’s future. Is this the swan song coming up, or are there a couple of more seasons left including a dip into the ACC pool? Only Boeheim and his family know the intricacies involved in that decision.

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*Doug Marrone’s future. How many wins are realistic against the 2012 schedule? That end number may be part of the equation to answer whether or not his seat gets warm by Thanksgiving weekend.

With all of these developments still to be resolved, we’ll instead look to the football game to be played this Sept. 1 against Northwestern in the new-look Dome to bring some (hopeful) enjoyment back by simply covering the wins/losses on the scoreboard.


SPECIAL NOTE: The Juice Online “congratulates” SU assistant athletics director of communications Sue Edson on her selection this week to the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame.

We’ve known Sue since she was a student at SU (1990 graduate) working under another Hall of Famer, Larry Kimball (1994 CoSIDA inductee), whom she succeeded as director in 1997, now in her 22nd year at Manley helping entities such as ours.

Sue is only the 10th woman to gain CoSIDA Hall of Fame status, and she will be inducted in St. Louis in June at the group’s annual convention.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.