Last week SUathletics.com asked donors for $4 million to build a new football facility including an indoor turf field to practice on. The post compared pictures of newer, top of the line football training centers around the Big East, like UConn and Rutgers, and the lackluster digs of the Orange. But the post was later removed and the university stated it wasn’t meant to be made public since it’s still the early stages of the process.
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But now that it’s out several questions are raised, including whether SU can win without the upgrades? Where will the money come from? How long would it take to build? What’s the the impact short-term and long-term of a new practice facility?
The first thing that raced through most fan’s minds was “where the (bleep) is Syracuse going to get $4M?” Good question. The school just received a massive donation from David Falk, but that will be going towards the new Sport Management School, not the football team. The basketball program found a donor in one of it’s most accomplished athletes. Could the football program do the same? Both Donovan McNabb and Dwight Freeney have earned plenty of dough and D-Nabb has already made substantial donations on two occasions. Freeney has yet to make a large contribution, at least publicly.
The money could also be pieced together from several smaller donations. SU’s best hope is probably to attract one of the many wealthy alums to put up the entire amount, enticed by their name on a state-of-the-art building and immortality on campus.
After years of futility during the infamous Groobers Error, Syracuse has finally righted itself with a winning season and a bowl victory. But the Orange facilities simply don’t stack up to the elite in the Big East and it’s hurting in recruiting. The Dougie has addressed the issue before and discussed how badly an upgrade is needed.
Syracuse has made the leap from terrible to respectable, but the next step can prove to be difficult. In a soft Big East it wouldn’t take a miracle to reach a BCS bowl (just ask UConn which went from D-II to Fiesta Bowl in a decade). The Huskies were helped by a brand new facility in ’07, which boosted recruiting. Marrone’s already sold the program’s stability, growth and family atmosphere to high school kids for three years. But a new facility is needed just to keep up in the arms race. UConn, Rutgers and South Florida have all opened new facilities, Pittsburgh’s are state of the art, while Louisville and Cincinnati both recently expanded their stadiums.
Syracuse football is on the rise, but for the program to be a consistent power of the conference, it needs to land an even higher quality of recruits. While SU’s classes have improved under Marrone, the next step is to reel in the 4 and 5-star recruits. New facilities would help that cause. This program can be a consistent winner, but not until they get the new digs they need.
Posted: Alex Plavin