Syracuse Orange and Georgetown Hoyas' Students Say, "Can It!"

Gene SiudutContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2012

NEW YORK - MARCH 11:  Austin Freeman #15 of the Georgetown Hoyas goes to the hoop against Kris Joseph #32 and Rick Jackson #00 of the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinal of the 2010 NCAA Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Both Syracuse and Georgetown Universities share a deep hatred for each other on the basketball court, but their students have put their bitterness aside for a good cause.

“Can It! Rivals on the Court: Teammates in the Fight Against Hunger,” was announced by the Syracuse Athletic Department as, “…a University-wide interfaith initiative that will kick off on both campuses in February to collect canned food and monetary donations for local food banks.”

Those in attendance of Wednesday night’s showdown between the No. 2 Orange and the No. 11 Hoyas are encouraged to bring canned food to the Carrier Dome. The food will be given to local food banks. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

"We wanted to embody the slogan 'Better Together' by coming together, despite rivalries, for the common good."—Dean Tiffany Steinwert

This is a big step for the two Universities which have shared a heated history since 1980 when coach John Thompson kicked up the heat a notch.

Syracuse, then also No. 2 in the country, was in the midst of a 57-game winning streak at Manley Field house, its old home court. Georgetown came in for the last game to be played at the historic home of the Orangemen. They would move to the Carrier Dome the next season.

Georgetown spoiled Syracuse’s dreams of closing the building with a 58-game win streak and won 52-50. After the game, John Thompson announced to the stunned Syracuse crowd that, “Manley Field House is officially closed.”

That statement kicked off 30-plus years of hatred.

Sports can sometimes take precedence over decency and rivalries often give opposing fans an excuse to dehumanize each other. It’s refreshing to see these bitter rivals put their differences aside, at least until the 7:00 tip-off.