Golden Eagles fly east for winter

The Cal State L.A. men's basketball team, with SU alum Stephen Thompson, comes to Syracuse in October for an exhibition game.

Colleges and universities across the country are tightening up the athletic department budgets, yet Cal State-Los Angeles feels the need to travel across the country for an exhibition men’s basketball game at Syracuse.

The connection is obvious and heart-warming:  former SU standout Stephen Thompson is the head coach of the Division II Golden Eagles (12-15 last season).  This will be the third trip east in four years for Cal State L.A.; the team stayed close with the Orange in 2008, trailing by just four points at halftime before giving up a 20-5 run at the start of the second half.

Why wouldn’t Thompson keep the team close to home?  Is it a chance for the team to bond?  Is it a recruiting trip?  There is just one player on the current Golden Eagle roster from outside of California (sophomore forward Leland Jones is from Texas).

And is there something to be said for equality?  Billie Jean King is Cal State L.A.’s most famous alum and a champion of equality for women’s athletics, yet the Golden Eagle women’s basketball team took its exhibition tour to Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine (both northern California schools).

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