The Chase Scanlan situation is one of the most combustible in Syracuse lacrosse history, and perhaps unprecedented in school athletics. The team’s leading scorer was suspended by the team indefinitely, reinstated after one game, and now teammates are reportedly threatening to walk out. Scanlan happens to wear the iconic #22 jersey, reserved for program legends. All of this is happening without any public explanation.
Here’s what we know: News Channel 9’s Steve Infanti is reporting the players have taken it into their own hands. The leadership group of the locker room is requesting a meeting with AD John Wildhack and they were prepared to leave practice if Scanlan was present.
This all started with the blowout loss to UNC, a 21-9 defeat. After that game there was an incident that occurred involving Scanlan. He was suspended for the game against Virginia, a 13-11 win. Inside Lacrosse first reported on April 20 that Scanlan was suspended for an event after the Tar Heels loss.
The silence has been deafening, as Syracuse fans have taken to message boards, social media and chat forums to try and figure out why this has all exploded. Finally SU announced John Desko would meet with the media on Wednesday afternoon. After he speaks, The Fizz will have immediate reaction.
Getting any pieces of verified information has been difficult so speculation has been rampant. Multiple comments about what transpired have been deleted from Reddit forums. What type of incident must have taken place to create a wall of silence and have his team captains refuse to allow him to return to the team?
Scanlan’s high school coach Rob Genco tells Syracuse.com the player tried to plead his case with his teammates. Genco believes the situation is permanently broken, and told Scanlan to transfer.
“It seems like (the school has) moved on. I think you have to make a decision here. I think the writing’s on the wall.” – Rob Genco, Silver Creek Head Coach
Syracuse.com has reached out to Desko and Wildhack but neither returned the message for comment. Scanlan told Genco the situation is “nothing that became something,” although that’s hard to imagine if the reporting is this delicate and the team’s reaction is this adamant.
Tyler Cunnington covers the sport for Lacrosse Playground. He calls it a “wild story” and that according to his sources a player walk-out would have been an understandable act. It seems as though the people that know the incident consider it very serious.
Chris Jastrzembski works on college lax at ESPN and is a recent Syracuse grad. He says former players are also backing the refusal to allow Scanlan to return to the team. Obviously, the situation has become extremely volatile.
News anchor Michael Benny has looked into the criminal side of this. He says there is nothing yet with the county district attorney’s office.
It is distinctly possible there’s sensitive legal information that has yet to be made public. It’s understandable if that has forced the program to act without explanation. Perhaps Desko will shed light on that today. If so, the university is correct in not releasing information publicly. If this is a violation of team rules and not a legal situation, SU should have explained that. Programs have the right to handle internal issues as they see fit, but the lack of clarity has led to wild speculation.
There’s been mass conjecture and info hunting by fans because none of this follows a normal sports narrative. When a player gets suspended and then reinstated, the team always “welcomes” that player back. There’s always teammates that defend the player and talk about moving forward. Seeing a team threaten to boycott their own season is highly dramatic. SU’s leading scorer is coming back at a crucial moment in the season, and that’s met with widespread resistance from current and former players without any explanation. The players should be commended for standing up against what they view is wrong. The prospect of winning games isn’t as important to them as a personal code of conduct. What was so egregious that the team would take an ethical stand against one of their own and demand to talk with the AD? That’s what makes this story one of the most intensely scrutinized in recent memory.