According to a report published by Syracuse.com on Wednesday, Chase Scanlan’s indefinite suspension from last week was the result of what Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety labeled “a domestic incident a day before he was suspended by the team, according to law enforcement sources and people familiar with the case”.
Although Scanlan was not charged with a crime by DPS, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick informed Syracuse.com that his office and City of Syracuse Police had joined the investigation, and will be meeting with the other individual (an unnamed woman) involved.
“We plan on meeting with the victim at her convenience,” Fitzpatrick said on Wednesday. Fitzpatrick also said that “his office would have no further comment until such time as an arrest has been made or the investigation is closed.” At this time, the domestic case is still listed as open.
The call involving Scanlan was “characterized in Syracuse University Department of Public Safety crime logs as a domestic incident that took place at 11:34 p.m. ET, April 17 on SU’s South Campus”. That was the night of SU’s 21-9 loss to North Carolina.
Scanlan’s suspension was announced the Tuesday following the incident (April 20), but that suspension lasted less than a week. On Monday (April 26), it was reported that Scanlan had been reinstated to the team.
However, before his first practice back on Tuesday, reports came out that the players were planning to walk out of practice if Chase rejoined the team.
During his media session on Wednesday, Coach John Desko spoke for the first time about the incident. He started with a prepared statement, and then largely spent the rest of the time saying that he only wanted to talk about Notre Dame.
Here's Syracuse MLAX head coach John Desko's full opening statement on Chase Scanlan from the press conference: pic.twitter.com/eCg6Hwz6yE— Andrew Crane (@CraneAndrew) April 28, 2021
The main takeaways from Desko’s comments were him saying that it was his decision to reinstate Chase, and also that Chase would not be traveling with the team to Notre Dame this weekend.
Desko also said that Chase did practice on Wednesday, although it was later clarified that Chase “practiced independently with a member of the coaching staff,” not with the rest of the team.
You just have to wonder why the decision was made so hastily to reinstate Chase after only a week when an investigation of a domestic incident is still open. On top of that, he is not even traveling to the next game, so the decision becomes even more puzzling.
I think our own Andy Pregler summed it up well on his personal Twitter account:
This whole thing is an absolute mess, and if we are to take what's being said at face value, the Head Coach made a decision to reinstate a player involved in an ongoing assault investigation before the authorities made a judgement on the situation.— Andy Pregler (@acpregler) April 28, 2021
Not ok. https://t.co/PS2Y06WGRg
Andy’s right. This situation was always going to be bad, but it has been made much worse with the reinstating of Chase while an investigation against him is ongoing. The fact that his fellow players also threatened to walk out if he showed up is even further proof that decisions have been hasty here, at absolute minimum, considering the nature of the reported incident.
It is now THE story surrounding Syracuse men’s lacrosse at the moment, and will certainly remain that way as the Orange travel to South Bend this weekend for their matchup with Notre Dame.
How the rest of the players deal with this on the field remains to be seen, but the actions leading to the reaction have been head-scratching to say the very least. Why Desko has seemingly been able to act unilaterally here makes little sense. And then without any support from SU Athletics and/or the school during Wednesday’s remarks, it shows a situation being handled increasingly poorly as it progresses. It would be wise for John Wildhack or the school to issue a statement soon, even if it’s simply stating that they’re allowing the legal process to play out.