There’s not much good news around Syracuse lacrosse. In fact, you could argue this is one of the low points in the program’s incredibly proud history. A domestic incident threatens to rip apart the team, the season, and invite national scrutiny. The defense is historically poor. The program won’t allow player interviews.
Thank goodness for the students. The only part of this ugly situation to be applauded by the SU lax community is the ethical and moral stance of the captains and the roster. While the administration provides no clarity, invites rampant speculation, and is walking a bizarre line of suspending Chase Scanlan for games but not practice, the players have stood firm. “If he plays, we don’t.”
Saturday was another difficult day as Notre Dame and Pat Kavanagh ripped them apart. How bad was the 22-8 rout? Kavanagh set a school-record with 10 points. SU has allowed 18+ goals in four games this season, the first time that has happened since ’74. This was the most goals allowed by SU since ’77. SU is 6-5 and thankfully has one more game against Robert Morris before the NCAA Tournament field is announced a week from now.
It would stand to reason a blowout like this comes from a combustible and emotional week, where the Scanlan saga hung over everything. But John Desko says it did not, and that SU had a “really good week of practice.” If that’s true, then ND is just 14 goals better than Syracuse, and that’s also a huge problem for the coach.
There is now the specter of every day bringing another cringe-worthy moment for the program. The picture of a broken wall became the most recent crumb in a trail of bad news surrounding the Scanlan incident. Something or someone got thrown into that wall. The possibility of it being a woman on campus is devastating.
Title IX federal protections offered to the accused may have SU’s hands tied right now from handling this as they see fit. Unless Scanlan is charged it’s possible the school is caught in quicksand as the buzzards circle overhead. But the “everything is great, nothing to see here” attitude put forth by John Wildhack is a cozy chat with the ACC Network and Desko is disingenuous. This situation has a chance to become a national black eye, and one that is perfect fodder for hyper-charged news networks and probing media outlets. The players have made their voices heard. They have disavowed Scanlan. When will the school follow?
Until it does, Desko is forced to smile as the walls close in around him. If evidence mounts against Scanlan it will look awful the school reinstated him, knowing it was bad enough to suspend him in the first place. If the season ends with a whimper, it’ll seem preposterous SU let Scanlan hang around and poison the team. If the worst comes out, and Scanlan had a history of violent behavior, there will be a heavy price to pay. The only hope is that no one was hurt in this incident, and the investigation clears everyone’s name. How does this end? Nobody knows. But the odds of it being positive for Syracuse are dwindling every day.