Syracuse relents, will travel to Arkansas

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Late last week, the schedule for the SEC/Big East Invitational was released and, as you can probably imagine, things didn’t quite go as well as Syracuse and Pitt had hoped.

The Panthers, despite being told that they would be participating, were one of the three Big East schools that were on the outside looking in. It’s not really all that surprising given that the school’s departure from the conference has played a massive role in the Big East becoming the butt of seemingly every joke since conference realignment began.

Syracuse was scheduled.

At Arkansas.

And they were none too pleased. AD Darryl Gross, in a reply-all email eventually obtained by ESPN.com, essentially said, “Y’all trippin’. We’re not playing Arkansas.” And while this led to many jokes involving Syracuse and how rarely they play outside the state of New York during the non-conference portion of their schedule, no one really put much stock into the Orange’s qualms.

Why?

Because they are contractually obligated to. As of 2012-2013, Syracuse is still a part of the Big East conference, and as a member of that conference, they are not only required to take part in the made-for-TV event, they have to play a road game. And on Wednesday, Syracuse officially relented.

“We discussed our concerns regarding Syracuse’s participation in the SEC/Big East Challenge with the conference and have come to an agreement on the logistics of the game,” Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said in a statement. “The Big East Conference will work with us to assist in our on-conference scheduling for the 2012-13 season.”

Am I the only one that gets the feeling that the final, elongated year that Syracuse and Pitt spend in the Big East will have roughly the same amount of bickering and posturing as the fifth hour of an eight hour drive with three teenaged siblings crammed into the back seat of a Honda Accord?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.