Is Syracuse New York’s Team?

Ben Grieco, Staff Writer

In New York, I see many posters and signs that say, “Syracuse University, New York’s College Team.” I then wonder if Syracuse is actually New York’s team, since we technically have numerous state schools. In my opinion, those poster’s are totally true – Syracuse is New York’s team.

As I sit and watch the numerous Syracuse Orange football and basketball games, I think about the history of our local university that is only about a half-hour away from Weedsport.

Let’s look at the history here. Syracuse used to be the “Orangemen,” they were referring to our great local history of the Native Americans, sometimes also known as the Orangemen due to their skin color. After many court trials, and numerous board changes, Syracuse University is now known as the Syracuse Orange, with the happy-go-lucky orange, named “Otto.” (You might see him jumping around at Syracuse athletic events.)

Some state schools that could also claim the title of “New York’s Team” include: the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego, SUNY Albany, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Cortland, SUNY at Buffalo (Univ. of Buffalo), SUNY Potsdam, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY ESF, SUNY Fredonia, and more. All these colleges are “New York’s Colleges.” Even though there are hundreds of private, and public schools.

Unlike other states, where they have two main universities (usually a State College, and then the State Name), New York had a very valid reason for it.

Ohio for example, has two main universities that are well known: The Ohio State Buckeyes, and the University of Ohio Bobcats. When universities were first established, one university was established for general studies (just like an advancement from high school), the second one used for trade school, to focus on one specific job.

When all of the SUNY schools were established by the New York state government, we had a giant state population, that could not be housed in two schools.

We established multiple state schools that each had the same majors, but had better programs than others (i.e, Albany for business, and Oswego for communications). We created a similar system to California, which has the University of California (UC) Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and more.

Now to why Syracuse is New York’s team, rather than all of our numerous SUNY Schools.

Most of the SUNY schools, excluding SUNY Albany, and SUNY at Buffalo, are Division III schools, which are the smallest of the small schools. You don’t see those colleges being spoken about on the SportsCenter Top Ten plays of the day, or 5-star recruits getting full-ride scholarships. You don’t even see them playing on ESPN, or even Time Warner Cable channels.

Syracuse basketball, football, lacrosse, and this year, their men’s soccer team, are all nationally known, 5-star recruits get full-rides, Top Ten plays, and get on ESPN. Because of the media, Syracuse is the only college that people really think of when they hear “New York Universities.”