It was announced today that the St. John’s Red Storm and Syracuse Orangemen will continue their rivalry through the 2014-15 season. This is somewhat of a surprise considering that the two universities were among the founding members of the Big East in 1979 but are now splitting ways.
Syracuse is departing for the ACC after this season, and St. John’s is among seven non-football schools that have also announced their intentions to leave and form a new league. St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin, noted that “the Johnnies and ‘Cuse rivalry is now more than a century old and deserves to continue.”
Lavin is a true historian of the game, which is evident when he discusses it. When he was an analyst on ESPN, Lavin regularly referred to his time with coaching legends such as Gene Keady, John Wooden, and Jim Harrick. His fondness and appreciation of those that gave him an opportunity may have helped him come to the conclusion to continue this series with Syracuse. There has been some bitter sentiment between Pittsburgh and Syracuse for leaving the Big East for the ACC, which was strictly a football decision.
It would be fantastic to see the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry or the Pittsburgh-Georgetown rivalry continued. And what if there is no more Pittsburgh-Providence? Maybe we will miss our next “Send it in, Jerome!” moment. Either way, for St. John’s and Syracuse to continue their series shows that common sense and cooperation may still be able to help keep these rivalries alive.
Luckily, the fans of both universities will be able to continue to be a part of these special match-ups and enjoy a great college basketball experience for at least the next two seasons. Nevertheless, the malice and greed that have developed because of these conference realignments make maintaining scheduling of these series more and more bleak for the future. Realistically, the probability of other schools keeping rivalries will be the very scarce.
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