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The Moment Before the Moment

As a third-party observer, questions are always easier to analyze than answers. Concrete resolutions, inherently, are definitive and necessarily obliterate alternative options. With questions, contrastingly, the road is traversed as circumstances dictate; the result is a series of academic exercises designed to propose rhetorical solutions that operate in a sort of vacuum.

Syracuse University -- the idealistic realization of John Winthrop's "city upon a hill" -- traditionally maintains the ability to operate in such a vacuum. It is, however, unable to do so when reality requires its immediate participation, requiring action rather than measured contemplation.

While abstract in nature, the above preface briefly outlines the circumstances controlling Greg Robinson's fate as captain of the Orange football enterprise. Syracuse University, through its representatives Nancy Cantor and Doctor Daryl Gross, must make a decision within the next several days as to Robinson's current position and the direction of the institution's flagship athletic program. The decision is not one that is rife with simple solutions; rather, complex issues reign supreme, with definitions as to those very issues necessitating prefatory resolution.

As an interested observer, I have not formed an opinion yet as to whether Robinson should or should not maintain his position. Subjective narratives are not my forte; objective reasoning premised on sound statistical or empirical evidence is the avenue to which I choose to traverse. Others, contrastingly, have already etched their opinion into stone, confirming that the Robinson-era was more error than restitution. Despite my personal indecision, I respect such opinions, yet caution that such conclusions may find error in foundational principles or deductive/inductive reasoning.

For the record, there are three absolute truths governing Robinson's tenure:

1. 2007 saw Syracuse accumulate a 2-10 record, with a 1-6 conference effort;
2. 2006 saw Syracuse accumulate a 4-8 record, with a 1-6 conference effort;
3. 2005 saw Syracuse accumulate a 1-10 record, with a 0-7 conference effort.

Are such incidents of reality significant enough to terminate Robinson's employment? Many argue in the affirmative; I argue that those simple cumulative incidents are significant only if underlying premises are also treated as absolute truths. The difference between my paradox and others' immediate reaction is that I am not sure if the underlying premises are absolute truths; others have already inferred absolute truth from these yet-to-be-determined underlying premises. This is not to say that such inferences are incorrect or inappropriate. Rather, I am just unsure whether I have fully considered the scope of such premises and the consequences stemming therefrom.

To be sure, Orange football is in a sad state. At only one other point in Syracuse University's history has the Orange football program accumulated fewer than eight wins over a three-year span (1944-1946; the Orange went 7-15-1 over those three years). This fact, however, is without context and should only find consideration through pragmatic research and discussion.

Accordingly, I urge all other interested observers to consider the following:

1. What is the proper measure of success and progression? Should an analysis consider more than won-loss percentages and raw data comparable to Syracuse University's peer institutions?

2. Are secondary parties as responsible for the current state of Syracuse football as the program's navigator?

3. Is the Ed Koch-ism of "Are you better today than four years ago?" appropriate in this context? If it is, than what constitutes "better"? If not, then what is the proper scope of review?

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1 Responses to “The Moment Before the Moment”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I can just imagine the painful, soul-searching process you go through to decide whether to go for a walk or stay home. Sheesh!  

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