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Syracuse And The Mistaken Identity

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Sure, it was just a mistake. But Syracuse sure does seem to make a lot of mistakes.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In the grand scheme of things, presenting Roosevelt Bouie with a misspelled jersey and plaque during his jersey retirement ceremony at the Carrier Dome isn't a big deal. It's a mistake and a silly one at that. Syracuse Athletics' communications chief Joe Giansante said that SU "deeply regret that it happened" and I'm sure of that.

But as part of his discussion with Chris Carlson, he also added this:

"It was not something that — how can I say it — it wasn't something that you'd think would need to be looked at beforehand."

Now that's an interesting line of thought. I remember when I worked in an office and would outsource work to vendors or agencies to do on our behalf. I would entrust those vendors to do the job correctly with the distinct understanding that if they got anything wrong it was my butt on the line in the eyes of my boss or my client.

So when they returned their final work to me, you better be damn sure I checked to make sure they didn't make any errors.

Hell, when we created the Orange Eagle Trophy, a silly fan trophy, we all made sure to double-check the spelling as to avoid any dumb errors.

But like I said, on its own, the Bouie thing is a mistake. Mistakes happen. And when they do happen, you learn from them and you correct the issue to ensure it doesn't happen again.

And then I remembered the unveiling of the Ernie Davis statue. You remember, when he was covered in Nike swooshes? The inappropriate logos weren't a case of shady viral marketing but instead the result of a lack of communication between the school and the sculptor.

I was commissioned by Syracuse University to make this bronze life-size sculpture of Ernie Davis in October of 2007. Syracuse University sent me all of the materials of Ernie's uniform and football gear of the clothing, the helmet, cleats, pads and the football to be used in the making of Ernie's sculpture. When the clay stage was completed, Syracuse University approved it. When the bronze was completed, Syracuse University again approved it. And they paid for it upon its completion. They told me that they were thrilled with it. Syracuse University picked up Ernie's bronze sculpture in June, 2008, photographed it and installed it right before it's unveiling on Sept. 13, 2008, on campus. On Sept. 16, 2008, I was shocked to learn that the material given to me for the helmet and the cleats were mistaken.

That was back in 2007 but it sure sounds a lot like whatever process led to SU bringing Roosevelt Bouie a jersey and plaque with an incorrect name on it during halftime of the game on Saturday.

And then I started thinking about 2007 and 2015 and everything that's happened in that time. That includes whatever issues led to the NCAA's investigation into Syracuse Athletics. The issues reportedly began in 2007 and continued with a timeline that seems unrealistic in retrospect. Every year, a new academic issue. Every year, a new infraction. Again and again and again.

What kind of atmosphere allows for that to happen?

The kind of atmosphere where "it wasn't something that you'd think would need to be looked at beforehand" is a feasible reaction after the fact..

I don't know what goes on behind the scenes at SU Athletics but I've been involved in enough businesses to know that when you have an issue that's hurting your company, you change it. I would have thought that would've happened by now. But this weekend's mistake, that silly mistake, makes me think that's not the case.

Adding up all the mistakes between 2007 and now, they don't seem so silly after all.