Don’t believe the rumors: Amanda Bynes is NOT going to Syracuse University

This is a (clearly) Photoshopped picture of former actress Amanda Bynes wearing a Syracuse Orange hat.

This is a (clearly) Photoshopped picture of former actress Amanda Bynes wearing a Syracuse Orange hat, but you Otto know the truth: She’s not coming to SU.


Attention: Amanda Bynes is not enrolling at Syracuse University next semester, despite what a few Twitter users may believe.

It all started with a May 28 article on Yahoo! News by snarky The Atlantic writer Richard Lawson. It was recap of the starlet’s crazy news that week, including threatening to sue the NYPD for allegedly groping her during her arrest over a bong-tossing incident and claiming her many “you’re ugly” tweets were doctored.

Lawson wrote: “The Amanda Bynes saga continues, as it will until its inevitable end. (Meaning when she gets her act together, enrolls in undergrad at Syracuse, and then after graduation moves to Paris to study architecture.)”

It was a joke — but some are taking it seriously. There has been no other mention or report of Bynes considering Syracuse University in her future, except on social media.

In the past four weeks, there have been at least 50 tweets by people who think the former Nickelodeon star will attend SU as an undergraduate student. Most of the posts came this week and, thanks to the telephone game, some believe the rumors are now fact and she’s already enrolled:

  • “Sooooooo Amanda Bynes is going to be enrolled as an undergrad at Syracuse next year ‘if she gets her act together’…..” @MeredithLeigh93 tweeted June 30. This is the first tweet mentioning Bynes and Syracuse, clearly based on Lawson’s article.
  • “AMANDA BYNES IS COMING TO SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY AS A STUDENT,” @kaylafazekas exclaimed Sept. 27.
  • “Bring out the dancing lobstahs everybody, Amanda Bynes is coming to the Syracuse University,” @selflesskid wrote Oct. 1.
  • “amanda bynes wants to get an undergraduate degree at Syracuse University? WUT girl bye,” @OhYeahCHELSEAA added Oct. 21.
  • “Amanda Bynes is enrolling in Syracuse? Is she All That? Or is she being a Big Fat Liar? Regardless, She’s The Man if she does go here,” @Arick_With_An_A joked in a serious of movie/TV title puns on Oct. 23.
  • “Hahaha what Amanda Bynes is enrolling in Syracuse??? Has cuse really lowered their standards THAT much?” @nicolearroyo questioned Oct. 23.
  • “If I don’t get into Syracuse and Amanda Bynes gets to go there I’m going to throw a bitch fit, because that ain’t fair,” prospective student @JackieAkerley griped Oct. 23.
  • “AMANDA BYNES APPLIED TO SYRACUSE THIS IS NOT A DRILL #newbestfriendalert,” @shelleykendall optimistically tweeted Oct. 26.

None of the tweets cited any official sources, save for a few people who linked to the Yahoo/Atlantic article. But the author has a habit of making outrageous throwaway jokes in his celebrity gossip articles. In one post last week, he sarcastically referred to Kim Kardashian as a “former NASA engineer who just left a visiting professorship at Cornell” and hypothesized various reasons for the Jonas Brothers’ canceled tour: “Joe is addicted to dolls — he likes the purple ones. Or Kevin has been having marital problems ever since that strapping fireman moved in next door and won’t stop mowing the lawn while shirtless. Or Nick thinks he killed her, he’s not sure, but whatever happened he’s gotta get this body out of this Days Inn and into a shallow grave somewhere. Problems like that.”

How do I know that Lawson’s Bynes comment can’t be taken seriously? Simple deductions and reading comprehension.

For starters, Bynes is not mentally fit to attend college anywhere. She’s been getting intense treatment in rehab facilities since late July, unable to even contact the public for the past three months. (Her last tweet? July 19: “drake is gorgeous.”) And despite making “great strides” recently, she’s also under her parents’ conservatorship until at least Dec. 17.

Further, Bynes hasn’t expressed much interest in higher education. She got her high school diploma in 2004, but the only quote I could find from her even discussing college (“I’ll play it by ear”) was from a PBS Kids interview when she was about 17 years old. (If you find anything more recent, please share.) She announced she was retiring from acting in 2010 at age 24, and three years later hasn’t done much except downward spiral into tabloid fodder.

And finally, if you read the entire May 28 article, you’d see Lawson later admits he doesn’t know what’s next for Bynes. No one does.

Could the former “The Amanda Show” star eventually go to college at Syracuse University or someplace else? Sure. Everyone loves a good comeback story, especially when it involves a troubled former child star. But don’t hold your breath for her to start wearing Orange gear and braving the winters on the SU Hill.

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Syracuse basketball’s Jim Boeheim retiring? How tweeting on the wrong account can really screw things up

Syracuse University's official Twitter account posted a link to a blog rumor about Jim Boeheim's possible retirement. The tweet has since been deleted.

Syracuse University’s official Twitter account posted a link to a blog rumor about Jim Boeheim’s possible retirement. The tweet has since been deleted.

Is Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim retiring? Yes, eventually. Is he retiring at the end of the 2012-13 season? Possibly.

The 68-year-old curmudgeon captain has more than 900 wins, all of them with the Orange(men), and all good things must come to an end eventually. But hopefully this isn’t how it ends.

A tweet posted by @SyracuseU, the official Twitter account for Syracuse University, wrote: “Did I just watch Jim Boeheim’s last game in the Carrier Dome? One source says yes.” It included a link to DYST Now, which stands for Did You See That?! and claims to be “Syracuse’s First All-Sports Newspaper.”

Truthfully, it’s a blog. Written by a college freshman at Onondaga Community College. Whose bio says he’s “been fortunate enough to interview several famous people/players such as famous broadcaster, Bob Costas, the first African American NBA player, Earl Lloyd, NFL player, Chandler Jones, as well as many more professional and collegiate athletes.”

The blog entry that SU’s tweet linked to is filled with similar punctuation and grammar errors. It claims “a source close to DYST Now” told the blogger that Syracuse has asked Boeheim to retire in the wake of another unsubstantiated rumor that Athletics Director Daryl Gross is meeting with the NCAA about violations related to last year’s team. At the end, it promises readers “We’ll have update you more as more of this story comes out.”

In other words, DON’T BELIEVE A WORD OF IT.

But the fact that @SyracuseU tweeted a link to it threw a can of gasoline on the fire, leading to a report on Deadspin and likely countless other major sports reporting outlets. As Deadspin even notes, “Everything about this is weird, and the @SyracuseU tweet has since been deleted. The DYST Now page is certainly of questionable authority, but why did Syracuse link to it?”

The answer is that Syracuse University, like many other brands, lets students handle the brand’s official account. This is a mistake. A student made a similar mistake for the school when they tweeted about how excited they were to eat some Chick-fil-A over November break on @SyracuseU’s account. Not only is there no Chick-fil-A restaurant within 100 miles of Syracuse, N.Y., the chain also hasn’t been cast in a favorable light public relations-wise recently.

Basically, it happens when social media accounts are shared by multiple users, where people accidentally post stuff they meant to put on their personal account.

As public relations firm Tanner Friedman writes, “This trouble didn’t start at the moment of careless students tweeting. It started because our culture has anointed college students as ‘social media experts.'” Students should not be managing accounts that represent a professional brand, especially one that’s worth millions of dollars.

Of course professionals can make mistakes, too. Professionals are people, and “to err is human.” But when a mistake is made, a professional can correct it quickly and handle the ensuing PR crisis or face the risk of losing their job. If a student mis-tweets, they’re not going to be kicked out of school.

In conclusion, do not worry about Jim Boeheim. He’s leaving eventually, and Syracuse alumni and fans will have to deal with that, but not now. At the very least, the Orange have an NCAA Tournament to worry about first.

And if you need further reassurance, SU spokesman Pete Moore told the Syracuse Post-Standard it’s not true.

Update: A little more than two hours after the Twitter drama started, @SyracuseU posted an official statement: “#OrangeNation: Earlier tonight a tweet was mistakenly sent. Nothing in the tweet was true or accurate and we apologize for the confusion.”

Update No. 2: The gaffe has now become an Associated Press story, and the 19-year-old author of the blog post tells The Post-Standard he’s sticking by his report, claiming his unidentified source also proved to be right about Dion Waiters going pro.

Update No. 3: Some have told me they still believe students should manage the school’s official Twitter account, because they’re students and should be able to learn. My opinion? Let them create an account for a fake brand and learn that way. A brand’s official social media account is, in today’s world, the same as an official spokesperson or public relations director — which are never students. A professional can respond to the mistake faster and minimize the damage before a non-story becomes a story, and be held responsible whereas a student won’t be fired or expelled. And, again, this isn’t the first time this has happened. As TNIAAM points out, a @SyracuseU tweet in 2011 violated NCAA guidelines when they celebrated DaJuan Coleman coming to ‘Cuse before he had signed a letter of intent.

Divorced Syracuse basketball fan wants custody of kids for day of NCAA Championship if SU is playing

Divorced Syracuse basketball fan wants custody of kids for day of NCAA Championship if SU is playing

In a divorce agreement, a Syracuse basketball fan (like the one pictured above) wants custody of his kids for the day of the NCAA title game… if SU is playing.

As a child of divorce and a Syracuse University alumnus, I couldn’t help but share this story about a truly die-hard SU basketball fan.

An Illinois man, identified only as Michael by Yahoo! Sports’ The Dagger, has made an unusual (and awesome, if you’re a sports fan) request in his child custody agreement. After divorcing, his ex-wife requested custody of their son and daughter for several Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving and Labor Day.

Most other holidays, including the kids’ birthdays, are divided up evenly or shared but dad wants 7-year-old Julia and 5-year-old Liam every Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and the day of two sporting events: Super Bowl Sunday and the “NCAA Men’s Basketball Final until end of game if Syracuse is in.”

That’s right, the father is demanding custody of his children for the NCAA Championship game if Syracuse is playing for the men’s college basketball title. A screenshot of the agreement can be seen at Cuse Country.

“Even though Syracuse has only won the title once and it may not happen for another 20 years, it’s something that’s really important to me,” Michael told The Dagger. “It’s not a holiday exactly, but it is holy to me. Other people define themselves by their religion or race. Frankly, Syracuse sports, especially basketball, football and lacrosse, are a big part of my heritage.”

And even though he now lives 700 miles from Central New York, Michael says he continues to teach his children to root for Syracuse. He even dressed them in SU sports gear and watches Syracuse football and basketball games with them.

According to The Dagger, Michael never attended Syracuse University but grew up in Syracuse rooting for the Orange when they were still called the Orangemen. In grade school, he and his family gathered to watch former SU basketball stars like Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens and Rony Seikaly.

Of course, the only time Syracuse won the Big Dance was against Kansas in 2003 under head coach Jim Boeheim, with current NBA all-star (and Team USA Olympic player!) Carmelo Anthony. However, Huffington Post notes that SU’s strong performance this past season and already high predictions for the 2012-13 season, Michael just might get to see his kids on the day of the next NCAA title game.

As a fellow fan who bleeds Orange, I always hope Syracuse’s sports teams win big so I’m rooting for Michael’s request. I was a freshman at the school when Hakim Warrick blocked the shot in the final seconds of the 2003 championship, so I got spoiled early. As someone whose own parents are divorced, I don’t see anything wrong with the agreement — unless it’s a nasty jab at his ex-wife for being a fan of one of SU’s rivals, like Georgetown, UConn or whoever will be next in the ACC… which would just makes it more awesome. Go SU!

Remembering the famous ‘Bird Girl’ of Syracuse University

Mary Jo Zawalski aka "Bird Girl"

Mary Jo Zawalski was also known as "Bird Girl" when she was a student at Syracuse University.

To say the famous Bird Girl of Syracuse University is a creative person would be an understatement.

Mary Jo Zawalski — or, as she was better known during her undergraduate studies in ceramics at SU from 2002 to 2006, “Bird Girl” — was well known across the campus for her quirky appearance, especially for clipping odd objects to the top of her head. Usually it was a plastic bird, but she was also spotted with other fake animals and even a plastic waffle once.

“All the birds I wear on my head are paper trained. Unfortunately, the alligator is not,” Zawalski told student newspaper the Daily Orange in 2005.

Any student that attended Syracuse University with at least one year of overlap with Zawalski’s time there knows about Bird Girl. When she was a freshman, she lived in the same residence hall as I did (Flint Hall on top of Mount Olympus) and I often saw her in the dining hall. I would’ve asked her about her headpieces eventually (just like how people tend to ask me about my hearing loss eventually), but the DO ran a feature story on her during our second semester on campus. (And she probably never asked about that deaf DJ on campus because the DO did a feature story on me, too.)

“I want to be visually interesting, instead of beautiful,” the Texas native told the DO in 2003. She explained that she started wearing birds in her hair (and plastic sandwiches, hamburger buns, etc.) as a way to express her pun-filled sense of humor and to gauge new friends. Obviously, if you don’t get the bun-in-her-hair joke or what she means when she’s “flipping the bird,” then she probably doesn’t want to hang out with you.

And a little Google research finds that Zawalski has been doing pretty awesome since she graduated from Syracuse. She got a masters’ degree in Clinical Art Therapy from Long Island University in 2009, speaks Spanish, some Hindi, and works on the Therapeutic Activities staff at an acute psychiatric hospital outside New York City.

In an interview with an acupuncture therapy blogger last year, she makes being an art therapist sound like an emotionally and psychologically exhausting job, but incredibly rewarding from both interaction with staff and patients. “I get to color with crayons and sidewalk chalk at work!” she exclaims. “Oh, and I get to dance and hula hoop too!!!”

And I assume she still wears the birds in her hair — at least that’s what’s she wearing in her default picture on Facebook still. Oh, Bird Girl. Don’t ever change.

Want to feel old? Here are 18 things that are older than this year’s college freshmen

Ah, college. The freshmen that are beginning college this week are, for the most part, 18 or 19 years old which means they were born in 1992 or 1993. (We’ll overlook the Doogie Howser-esque young prodigies for the purposes of this article.) For the class of 2015, LBJ means LeBron James; women have always been on the Supreme Court; Andre the Giant and River Phoenix have always been dead; they’ve never touched a TV dial; and Ferris Bueller is old enough to be their dad.

Want to feel even older? Here are 18 things older than this year’s college freshmen:

1. The Nirvana baby.
Nirvana Baby Spencer Elden
Spencer Elden, who appeared naked on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind, was born February 7, 1991.

2. The world wide web.
Tim Berners-Lee published the world’s first website on August 6, 1991.

3. MTV’s “The Real World.”
The Video Music Awards (or VMAs) have been around since ’84 but in 1992 Bunim-Murray started reality television with a simple show about “what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” Season 26 starts in September. (It’s my theory that everyone under 40 has one season that they strongly identify with from their youth — mine is 1998’s “The Real World Seattle” with Irene and the famous slap heard ’round the world.)

4. Mariah Carey’s entire career.
Her debut album came out June 12, 1990. She had eight #1 songs by the end of 1993.

5. Pac-Man, Mario, Mega Man, Link (“Zelda”) and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Video games Pacman, Mega Man, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, SonicPac-Man may have been the first major video game icon when it debuted in 1980 until that plucky plumber known as Mario arrived as Donkey Kong’s rival in 1981. Then Link appeared in “The Legend of Zelda” in 1986, Mega Man sprung into action in 1987, and Sonic first appeared on Sega in 1991.

6. Reebok Pump inflatable shoes and L.A. Lights’ light-up sneakers.
Reebok Pumps and L.A. Lights light-up sneakersThe craze of getting “pumped up” before a basketball game started in 1989, and kids have been wearing those cool light-up sneakers since 1992.

7. “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?”
Do it Rockapella! This geography show and accompanying theme song both debuted in 1991. (Those of us who watched it will snicker now to realize that the host’s name was Greg Gethard. Tee-hee.)

8. Non-Communist Russia.
Unless they’re studying history, the class of 2015 has little to no knowledge of the fact that Russia used to be known as the U.S.S.R. and was the foremost Communist power in the world until it dissolved in 1991.

9. Pamela Anderson’s ginormous boobs.
Pamela AndersonShe later had them removed (and got them again in 2004), but “Baywatch” lifeguard CJ Parker first got breast implants in 1990, going from a 34C to a 36DD.

10. Barney.
Barney the purple dinosaurBarney the purple dinosaur was created in 1987 and debuted on PBS in “Barney & Friends” in 1992.

11. Mark Wahlberg’s non-acting career.
When today’s college freshmen were born, he was known as Marky Mark, modeled for Calvin Klein and had a #1 rap hit with “Good Vibrations.” His first movie role was in 1993’s The Substitute.

12. Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks.
These NBA and NHL expansion teams were all added between 1988 and 1992. The Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies joined the MLB in 1993.

13. Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Brave Little Toaster and Aladdin.
Disney's Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Brave Little Toaster, and AladdinThese four Disney movies came out between 1987 and 1992. The first Pixar movie, Toy Story, changed animated films forever when it came out in 1995 when today’s freshmen were just 2 or 3 years old.

14. The Silence of the Lambs.
Sir Anthony Hopkins starred as Hannibal Lecter for the first time in 1991. He won an Oscar despite only appearing on screen for 16 minutes, the shortest ever for a Best Actor winner.

15. Hello Kitty.
Hello KittyThe cute Japanese bobtail cat with no mouth is even older than you might realize. She first appeared in the U.S. in 1976 and now is the face of more than 12,000 products worldwide and has earned Sanrio billions of dollars.

16. Jonathan Lipnicki.
Jonathan LipnickiThe cute “the human head weighs 8 pounds” kid from Jerry Maguire was born October 22, 1990. He was adorable when he was 6, but his cuteness (and his career) faded as he got older.

17. “Blossom,” “Doug,” “Rugrats,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Ren & Stimpy,” and “The Jerry Springer Show.”
Blossom, Clarissa, Jerry Springer, Rugrats, Doug and Ren & StimpyAll of these premiered in 1991. Yes, Jerry Springer has been interviewing Nazi midgets with clown fetishes on TV for 20 years, and Mayim Bialik and Melissa Joan Hart are both now 35. “Whoa!”

18. Otto the Orange.
Otto the OrangeSyracuse University, back when their sports teams were still called Orangemen and Orangewomen, did not make Otto the official mascot until 1995. However, according to the SU website, the cheerleading squad first picked the name Otto for “The Orange” in 1990.

Speaking of Syracuse (my alma mater), Michael Jordan’s daughter Jasmine is a freshman at SU this year. Yes, MJ’s youngest child is in college and she was born two years AFTER Syracuse basketball great Derrick Coleman won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1991. How old do you feel now?

Take it from me, Keith Ward Trio’s music rocks – want a free copy of the Syracuse grad’s new album?

Keith Ward's first album, '3 Days Till Next Year,' was recorded at Syracuse University in 2005.

I’ve been a fan of Keith Ward‘s music ever since he and I were in the same class in Syracuse University’s music industry program six, seven years ago. While I was more interested in the marketing, production and management side of the business (I can’t sing or play an instrument besides the turntables), he was more interested in simply making the music. And he does it well.

If you’ve ever been a fan of the gentler side of Ben Folds’ piano rock or wanted to hear a slightly jazzier version of Matt Nathanson, then his adult pop-rock sound is right up your alley.

His 2005 debut, 3 Days Till Next Year, was recorded at Syracuse University and includes my personal favorite track “#1.” It was downloaded more than 70,000 times when iTunes featured it as the Free Download of The Week. After graduating from SU, he recorded his second album Take Your Time and took it to prestigious venues such as New York City’s Bowery Ballroom and Sullivan Hall as well as The Troubadour in London.

On Tuesday, the singer-songwriter released his third opus, Take It From Me, with bassist Mike Chiavaro and drummer Jared Schonig backing him up as the Keith Ward Trio. Co-produced by Ward and Justin King at King’s Vinegar Hill Sound in Brooklyn, NY, you can get the album on iTunes and Spotify Worldwide or preview it at keithwardmusic.com.

Or you can get your own copy for free…

First Run Records is holding a “Tell your friends giveaway!” The first 50 people who click the Facebook ‘like’ button at the bottom of keithwardmusic.com will get a free copy of the new album. Just email firstrunrecords@gmail.com afterwards to tell them where you would like your copy sent to.

Here’s Keith Ward performing “What It’s Like” from the new album, live at London’s Half Moon Putney:

Please support Keith by checking out his music. He’s a Central New York native and a graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School and Syracuse University. Also, not only is it important to support independent music (especially the artists making GOOD music!) but he’s always been an awesome, humble guy with a great sense of humor and a friendly smile for everyone. Happy listening!