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#pounditThursday, September 21, 2023

Outgoing Syracuse player raises big question about program

Adrian Autry coaching Syracuse

Jan 14, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange associate head coach Adrian Autry looks on prior to the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Center Jesse Edwards, regarded as one of the top transfers in the portal, announced Sunday he would be leaving Syracuse for West Virginia. In doing so, he raised some questions about where the Orange are going as a program.

Edwards, an All-ACC Third Team selection as a junior last year, admitted that West Virginia’s name, image and likeness setup influenced his decision, and suggested that the Syracuse program has fallen well behind in that department.

“I mostly wanted to have a fresh start and a new challenge. NIL isn’t what I’m playing for,” Edwards said, via Jonathan Givony of ESPN. “I didn’t really want to get into this, but it doesn’t seem that Syracuse as an organization is that into that. I’m not really sure what their plan is or what the school’s idea is behind it. For me it was something that they couldn’t offer in that way.”

NIL is a major factor in college sports whether schools like it or not. Former Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was not shy about his dislike of what college basketball has become, which is probably part of the reason Syracuse’s NIL organization might be lagging behind.

Boeheim retired after the season and will be replaced by former assistant Adrian Autry. For the program to attract top talent, Autry might have some work to do in the NIL department.

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