A Chat With Floyd Little And Herman Frazier

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

My Religion as Sport class had two visitors: Floyd Little and Herman Frazier, two higher ups in the Athletic Department. It was a surprisingly candid session dealing with overarching athletic department questions and goals moving forward.

My Religion and Sports class is one of the better classes I've taken at Syracuse. The content is obviously in my wheelhouse and as of late, the class discussion has become much more interesting. Today, Special Assistant to the Athletic Director Floyd Little and Deputy Athletic Director Herman Frazier stopped by to chat with us. I didn't have a recording device on my that worked from the back of the room, but here are some of the snippets I picked up from the surprisingly open and candid discussion on very difficult questions.

  • Floyd Little said that his time at SU was the first time he encountered racism, but not at Syracuse. He encountered problems on travel trips, citing one trip to New Orleans to play LSU. Little was denied a coke at a Walgreen's when he walked in with his two white teammates.
  • Little said Frazier was one of the driving forces to get Wilmeth Sidat Singh recognized at Maryland last season. It was the highlight of a conversation about diversity at Syracuse and how while at the University, Little has only received support.
  • Frazier's athletic administration background is impressive. He left his Alma mater (Arizona State) after a time where he felt they took advantage of his love for the school. Since then he's been an athletic director at other Universities before leaving Hawaii after not agreeing to raise the pay of the football coach. He now works a great deal with compliance at SU.
  • Frazier had a large hand in realignment. He said Doctor Gross and Chancellor Cantor saw a future where there were five mega conferences that ruled the land. They didn't want SU left out, thus the ACC move. Standard stuff, but always good to hear something in a non PR setting.
  • Frazier fielded a lot of the questions concerning player pay and the future of athletics. He said that an ASU athlete on full scholarship living off campus still receives $3,500 a month for room and food with rent hovering around $1,000. Syracuse has a similar policy in place. This was in reference to being asked about Shabazz Napier's hungry comments. He said UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel is a close friend and he looks forward to talking with him about all of this.
  • On this note, the notion of guaranteed scholarships were discussed. Little said a big reason he chose SU (aside from Ernie Davis) was that he learned Notre Dame didn't guarantee contracts if a player was injured. Frazier said that while SU doesn't always guarantee scholarships, he said coaches are honest about this process in meeting with parents and athletes. He steps in if there is knowledge that a coach is not up front about this process.
  • When it comes to paying athletes, both Frazier and Little said this would not be in SU's best interests. Citing non revenue sports, SU Athletics is a small department in comparison to many others and could not afford to pay revenue athletes while keeping non revenue sports. While the Nike contract guarantees equipment and the newest things, the department still is obligated to buy at least $500,000 worth of gear each year.
  • Moving towards Title IX, Frazier said that it's not about having men and women's sports equal, it's about having an Athletic Department matching the gender numbers of the University. Currently, the student demographics at SU are 55% women, 45% men.
  • The above is why the Athletic Department isn't adding baseball anytime soon. The numbers just are not there. There is also scheduling worries with Syracuse Spring weather (or lack there of) and where to play.
  • Finally, someone asked about one and dones in basketball. Frazier said he didn't believe Tyler Ennis or Jerami Grant were ready to go, but there wasn't a lot they could do the change the way the system is set up. Frazier said he's spoken highly of all Syracuse basketball players who have left early for the NBA to scouts and general managers who have called. Academically, the GPA of all athletes who left early is between 2.9 and 3.5.

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