Yet another day that we still don't know who Syracuse's new athletic director is. Earlier in June, we saw that one fan favorite, Northern Illinois' Sean Frazier was not contacted nor was he interested in leaving DeKalb, Ill. for the role. Today, we hear that perceived favorite John Hardt (currently AD at Bucknell) can also have his name crossed off the list.
For those who forgot, Hardt was previously at Syracuse as a compliance officer, before leaving for Michigan State and then, has spent the last 15 years at Bucknell growing the fundraising and overall recognition of the Bisons' athletic program. As he indicated to the Harrisburg Patriot-News today, however:
"The Syracuse folks never contacted me directly. I think their search firm was out there taking pulses on a lot of folks. I told them now is not the time for me to leave Bucknell."
On paper, seems like there's nothing more to read into there -- and hopefully in fact, the same holds true. But that's two favored candidates not only uninterested in taking the role at SU, but two favored candidates who have not been in contact with the administration in any way, shape or form (beyond the search firm). That seems weird, no? I mean, I've never been (seriously) involved in an athletic director search process, but you'd think any real candidate would get some direct line to the administration to have a conversation, right?
So who are the candidates left? That's another problem. We don't know. Syracuse.com mentioned three possible options yesterday -- one of which was Hardt. The other two, Buffalo's Danny White and New Hampshire's Marty Scarano, certainly aren't the splashiest hires. It also gets you thinking, what does Pitt have that we don't? -- especially when you look at their "final four" of Vince Nicastro (Villanova), Mark Coyle (Boise State), Frazier and their ultimate choice, Scott Barnes (Utah State). What is it that we're having this search firm look for that completely surpasses those names in favor of what many would perceive as "safe" or even underwhelming choices from two schools that have never showed an ability to excel at FBS-level football.
Again, that's the cynical view. And the one that sees those two (Scarano and White) as the main candidates left in the pool. Perhaps they are, and perhaps they aren't. The point of SU Chancellor Kent Syverud's search was to hire someone to keep Orange athletics in line with the NCAA's letter of the law, and for fans, to find a way to bring football back to some sort of national relevance. Is Kent leaning on the first task more than the second? Or maybe he's going for the financially prudent route, given his desire to cut fat around the university?
Hopefully we know soon. That July 1 start date for the 2015-16 academic and athletic calendar is fast-approaching.