Letters to the Editor

Syracuse local criticizes lack of attendance at football game

To the Editor,

It broke my heart to see empty seats at the Syracuse-Middle Tennessee game. I grew up at a time when the football program was peaking with the 1959 national Championship. The program boasted the likes of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Larry Csonka and Floyd Little. My dad told stories of the SU/Colgate “hoodoo”, raccoon coats and a police officer who would tell the kids where his beat would take him and admonish them not to sneak into Archbold while he was away. I made my first trip to the stadium as a teen in the early 60s when a football game was a local must see come rain, snow, sleet, or wind.

After the ‘87 team, the quality of the program began to decline ever so slowly until a series of poor decisions and a total disregard for generational promotion delivered the program to the cellar of Division I programs. Football crowds began to decline and SU Basketball became king of local sports. Some would ask if SU’s business school couldn’t help rebuild the football brand. Others wondered why with empty seats the university wasn’t bringing in the next generation of fans. Syracuse University was clearly complicit in the decline of its football brand.

And now we’re beginning to see some challenges for the SU basketball program. The Beast of the East is just another ACC team and invitations to the big dance are no longer a sure thing. Attendance is still respectable but showing signs of distress and recruiting isn’t on a par with the big dogs. Here’s hoping that lessons from the football brand decline have been learned and the university responds to protect the 2003 national championship basketball brand.

Marlin “Mike” Kisselstein

North Syracuse

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