According to The Juice, an announcement of Syracuse’s brand new football practice facility should be expected today. If indeed SU has found the funding for a new complex this is huge news in the never ending recruiting battle. As we all know the Orange walks into the ACC needing to be prepared for much bigger confrontations than it saw in the Big East.
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Curiosity began building when Bernheimer Architecture released designs for SU two years ago. Just look at some of the draws around Syracuse’s new conference: FSU, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami. These are schools that sink plenty of money into their programs, and basketball is an afterthought at each (although all four have had success on the hardwood recently). Doak Campbell Stadium. Lane Stadium. Death Valley. South Florida. These are incredible imposing dynamics to now have to beat on a weekly basis.
Some might believe Syracuse will never truly compete with some of these schools anyway, but just look at three lost recruiting battles. New York State quarterback Chad Kelly chose Clemson. So did New York City’s Ebenezer Ogundeko. Staten Island’s Gus Edwards picked Miami. For the Orange to return to its roots of conference championships and 9-10 win seasons, it has to keep its Empire State kids at home.
“We are very aggressive with football right now and fund raising for a football facility. We’ve got some things that are going to be in motion very very soon. We recognize the need to – not so much an arms race – but a needs race of what we need right now.”
In May ’11, SUAthletics.com mistakenly asked donors for $4M to upgrade the facilities. It later took down the post. According to the Juice, the complex will cost $15-20M and funding will come from multiple sources. Some of it reportedly will come from the ACC check, some from school administration, the rest from fundraising.
For a private school with the shallow athletic pockets of Syracuse (comparatively to bigger state schools in the ACC), it would be an enormous (and surprising) victory if the powers that be culled that much money to build a practice facility. If indeed the story is correct, facts and details will be unveiled at the press conference.
When selling the program to recruits both in and out of state, playing the part of a champion is critical. You can’t have players spend a weekend at a school with modern, glitzy equipment, then come to SU’s second-rate grounds and ask him to stay. The old adage goes: Facilities don’t win recruits, but they can lose them. SU hoops has the Melo Center, which is a gleaming jewel that helped revolutionize the program. One of the NBA’s biggest stars gave back to his school, and his gift considered one of the premier complexes in the nation.
In the wake of Doug Marrone’s departure, it would be pleasant news if SU was able to find enough cash to make this happen. Because walking into the ACC without being armed like the big boys would be virtually impossible.