Syracuse, N.Y. —The Syracuse University men’s basketball team is scheduled to tip off the 2020-21 season in one week against Bryant at the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse fans will need to get used to phrases like “as scheduled” with the coronavirus surging again in all 50 states and right here in Central New York.
Syracuse had to hit the pause button on practice this week ahead of its season-opener despite a rigorous program designed to dodge the virus
Head coach Jim Boeheim came out of isolation Friday after revealing a positive COVID-19 test last week. Boeheim revealed that a second member of the basketball program that also tested positive was a player.
Syracuse players use wearable technology to assist in potential Covid-19 contact tracing. They are separated in the locker room and training room. Players are taking online classes and have avoided the usual routines of college life, sheltering away among themselves this semester in an attempt to stay healthy in order to play ball.
Syracuse did all that and Boeheim and an unnamed player still got the virus. Both appear to be OK, which is good news, but it demonstrates how fragile a situation Syracuse has to make it through the season.
More delays and interruptions seem inevitable.
Just in New York State alone, Albany, Binghamton, Canisius, Marist, Niagara, Siena and St. Bonaventure have joined Syracuse on a COVID-19 related basketball break.
Progress certainly has been made since Syracuse’s ACC Tournament matchup with Louisville on March 13 was canceled and college basketball shut down.
As described above, teams and universities know more about practice procedures, contact tracing and interaction. Players want to play and will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
The Syracuse University campus will be a ghost town until Jan. 25, when the spring semester begins at SU, limiting possible exposure for players and staff.
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has given his blessing to Syracuse getting the season underway after examining the team’s procedures personally this week, though says it is SU’s call how it proceeds.
The news is encouraging on a national scale about vaccine trials, though we still are weeks away from receiving one even if the FDA gives emergency approval today.
In the meantime, sports tries to plow ahead down a dark highway.
Syracuse football has not missed a game due to coronavirus-related reasons but numerous Power 5 programs across the country have had games postponed or canceled. Over 15 college football games had to be moved or shut down this week.
Officials tasked with putting on winter high school sports in New York have kicked the can down the road a little further hoping a path to play opens.
Trying to predict where this leaves Syracuse basketball is a blurry vision.
I want to see Syracuse play. You want to see Syracuse play. We all want to see Syracuse play.
College basketball coaches are no different than their peers in other sports. The one game at a time approach will be preached.
Jim Boeheim may find out literally one game at a time if his team and its opponents are even eligible to play as the season progresses.
This much is for certain.
While Syracuse must play one game at time, it will spend the 2020-21 season preparing for two opponents at once for every game.
Contact Brent Axe: Email | Twitter
More Syracuse basketball:
Our Syracuse basketball predictions: How will Orange fare in 2020-21 season?
Syracuse forwards in 2020-21: Plenty of options with Dolezaj, Guerrier, Griffin, Braswell, Newton
Syracuse guards in 2020-21: Girard, Boeheim provide leadership, experience and scoring
Syracuse centers in 2020-21: The only certainty is Bourama Sidibe