If Syracuse is going to break its own single-game college hoops attendance record when Duke visits the Carrier Dome for the first time on Feb. 1, the Orange will have to do it with their arena in its traditional configuration.
The school decided not to move its basketball floor from the Carrier Dome's South end zone to the middle of the football field for the game against the Blue Devils, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported. Such a setup would have allowed Syracuse to potentially draw more than 50,000 fans to the game, which would have demolished college basketball's previous on-campus attendance mark set when 35,012 people packed the Carrier Dome for Georgetown's final Big East visit last season.
The idea of moving the court for big games has been discussed for years by Syracuse fans, but the school has always opted against it for logistical reasons. Associate athletic director Joe Giansante told the Post-Standard that was again the reason this time, citing factors factors such as moving season-ticket holders and having to move the court for the Duke game only to move it back in time for a women's game the next day.
"It was considered and studied intensely,'' Giansante said. "We considered it very seriously. A lot of things pointed us in the direction of being able to do it, but several pointed in the other direction.''
It's a shame that Syracuse couldn't figure out a way to move the court because a matchup of arguably the ACC's two best teams in front of a crowd of 50,000 would have been one of the best scenes in college basketball next season. The Orange can still challenge or surpass their own attendance mark, but now it will have to be an incremental step up by a few hundred fans rather than a giant leap to the 50,000 mark.
Syracuse's decision also suggests it's unlikely the basketball floor will be moved to the middle of the football field anytime soon. If the first ACC matchup against Duke wasn't a big enough deal to attempt that feat, no home game in the near future is going to be either.