I covered Syracuse athletics during the Jake Crouthamel era. I flew the Syracuse football charter with him to places like Cincinnati and East Carolina when he was stone-quiet, staring ahead like a cadaver in the front row. I was courtside during basketball games when he would stalk the sidelines at the Dome like a graying mountain lion. I ducked into bathrooms on numerous occasions and brushed by him memorably smoking his beloved cigarettes in silence.
So forgive me if I find it just a tad humorous and incredibly ironic that all of a sudden the former athletic director is a regular Chatty Kathy when it comes to conference realignment.
When the Earth started to shake months ago he was the first one quoted by the New York Times. Most recently, the Post-Standard has gotten him to chat about it. In between, every college sports writer looking for a Syracuse angle is knocking at his door. And he’s answering them all.
Of course, his tenor has finally changed (a little), and that’s a good thing. His comments to the P-S paint the Orange future positively. On drawing northeast television viewers compared to UConn or Rutgers?
“This is where I think Syracuse is in a very good position. I think the Big East can come out of it — the face might look different.”
But at the beginning it was Crouthamel who was waving his finger and warning about a money-driven future where the Big East is sliced up like the Oklahoma land rush. Syracuse was in impending doom, this would be the NCAA’s version of the 2012 Mayans. The Big East wouldn’t survive and SU would be an orphan.
Look, Darryl Gross has had his fair share of public missteps and Crouthamel has credibility in conference insight. He helped create the Big East thirty years ago.
But let the current A.D. handle the public conjecture about Syracuse, Jake. This is an old director trying to stay relevant by critiquing every one else’s film.
Once upon a time, you couldn’t get Crouthamel to say a word. Now, you can’t get him to shut up.