Got a chance to talk with Syracuse lacrosse play-by-play man Brian Higgins who is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the team and the sport of lacrosse. Here is what we talked about.
Can you give me a quick thought on Syracuse moving to the ACC and what your take is on it?
"The move to the ACC obviously affects lacrosse differently than basketball or other sports that have a lengthy history of Big East competition. This spring will only be the the third year of Big East lacrosse play so there really isn't a ton of tradition that's disappearing. As far as joining the ACC goes, now you have five teams that year and and year out that share the same goal of winning the national title so it will certainly be exciting to see all five compete against each other."
How does this change the ACC conference and especially the sport of lacrosse as a whole?
"I'm not sure things really change a whole ton nationally. Syracuse, Virginia, Duke, North Carolina and Maryland all expect to and generally do make the NCAA tournament every year, and that should not change going forward. Syracuse played Virginia and Duke in the regular season last year, Maryland in the playoffs and used to regularly play North Carolina so the matchups are all familiar to lacrosse fans.
It will be interesting to see if the ACC gains a sixth lacrosse playing member to finally obtain an automatic bid to associate with the league tournament. Whether Rutgers joins the league or any one of Boston College, North Carolina State or Florida State turns a club team into a Division 1 team, that is now the main movement to watch lacrosse wise."
How out of the blue was this for you? Did you see this coming?
"Did this move happen quickly? Yes. Was it out of the blue? No. Given all the conference maneuvering it was impossible to not at least consider that Syracuse might end up switching leagues. This move nearly happened in 2003 and there have been Big 10 rumblings over the years as well. So while it's a bit shocking that the move happened as fast as it did, you can't be surprised that it occurred."
For someone not in the area anymore, what are the feelings like up in Syracuse about the move?
"The feeling is Syracuse seems to generally be positive. Most understand this was a move that had to happen. The biggest initial losses are in basketball, especially the annual Big East Tournament congregation in New York, while the biggest immediate gain in excitement is all four ACC teams being on the schedule every year. All told big picture it should be a positive move for the Orange."