Was the news of new indoor football facilities premature? Possibly. The source of last week’s news, The Juice Online, now says an announcement is not imminent. The site originally said SU would unveil the plans last week, but now reports it’ll take a “little while.”
“The hope is for ground to be broken in early spring, but there may not be any sort of major public announcement for a little while.”
The website describes a number of meetings taking place right now. Should Orange Nation be worried it won’t happen? No, because that would require assuming that it was close to a done deal in the first place. Projects of this magnitude are never so close the announcement can float weeks on end. If it’s about to be announced, that means it’s been finalized. Clearly it’s not finalized.
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Anyone familiar with the SU athletic department knows a brand new sparkling football facility was never going to be an easy task. The Melo Center got built because of a remarkable donation from one of the NBA’s most popular (and richest) stars. We have wondered aloud on The Fizz whether a successful Pro Bowlers, like Donovan McNabb or Dwight Freeney, would be interested in filling Carmelo’s role on the football side.
But to this point no player has stepped up. The original report estimated the new digs at $15-$20M. That’s a ton of cash for Syracuse, a private institution without the famous deep-pocketed donors on the sports side of things. This is not Michigan, where the AD snaps his fingers and suddenly there’s $10M to play with. So without a huge donor like a professional athlete to cut a huge check, where will that much money come from?
Any SU fan should hope the story is true. A new football complex would be a game changer for the program. Doc Gross has been rightfully criticized for a number of questionable decisions since taking the helm. But he certainly understands the power of fund raising and financing for athletic projects. If he’s able to squeeze $15-$20M from alumni (or cobble it together from donations and other sources) for a football program that won a couple of Pinstripe Bowls, and now enters into the great unknown again with a new unproven head coach, he’s earned his salary.
The new report says administrators are “jumping through a lot of hoops” to get the deal done. That sounds about right. But until those hoops are jumped through, and the money has been raised, and the wheels set in motion, Orange Nation should take a wait-and-see approach.
The football program needs new facilities. The football program wants new facilities. But whether the football team will get new facilities has always been the question. It still is.