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Sports Illustrated features SU students on one of its March Madness preview covers

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, Julie Deutsch’s name was misspelled. The Daily Orange regrets this error.

Syracuse basketball may not be the top ranked team in the country, but that didn’t stop Sports Illustrated from featuring New York’s College Team on one of its covers for the NCAA Tournament preview.

Sports Illustrated released the photograph on Twitter on Tuesday morning, spotlighting Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams among a slew of orange-clad Syracuse University students.

The magazine contacted SU Athletics’ communications office about the photo, said Ben Glidden, president of Otto’s Army. The communications office then put the task in the hands of Otto’s Army, which selected group members who commonly support SU’s teams, he said. They specifically looked for students who had camped out for the Feb. 23 game against Georgetown.

“I really wanted them to kind of reward the people who have given a lot to Otto’s Army over the semester,” Glidden said. “The people who attend the meetings, the people who camp out, things like that.”

Even though the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on a Sports Illustrated cover enticed many, the timing of the shoot was still inconvenient for some, he said.

As a result, members of Otto’s Army had to search last minute for students inside Sadler Hall, located adjacent to the Carrier Dome, to fill out the photo, Glidden said.

“The commitment was pretty long, and it was right in the middle of a school day, so we got a bunch of people rounded up, and unfortunately, not everyone that we got was able to make it,” Glidden said. “So with a dorm right there, a few of our board members took the initiative and headed on over.”

Trish Kilgannon, a sophomore broadcast and digital journalism major, was invited to be in the photo by Glidden because she had camped out to see the Georgetown game. She said seeing her photo on the cover Tuesday morning was a remarkable experience.

“I was very excited (Tuesday) morning,” Kilgannon said. “We didn’t know exactly when it would be coming out. My friend saw it on Twitter and sent me the picture, and I quickly sent it to everyone I knew.”

The release of the photo comes two weeks to the day the photo was taken. Although 50 students participated in the shoot, several were cut off by the Sports Illustrated banner at the top of the magazine.

That wasn’t the case for Julie Deutsch, a senior information management and technology major who stood next to Carter-Williams in the photo.

Deutsch said she went to the shoot with a friend. When she arrived, she asked the magazine representative if she and her friend could be Carter-Williams’ “right- and left-hand women,” to which the representative agreed.

The cover is one of four that Sports Illustrated will showcase this week. Each cover features student supporters from a different school. The three other schools are Indiana, Gonzaga and Kansas, all of which were selected as No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse was the only No. 4 seed featured on a cover.

With the tournament still days away, Deutsch said she was surprised Sports Illustrated released the photo on Tuesday.

“I thought it was coming out next week,” she said. “And then when I saw it on the Facebook page of Syracuse University, and my friends texting me, and my friend got the Sports Illustrated delivered and he was surprised to see me. It was just awesome. It was so funny to me. I can’t believe that I’m actually on the cover.”

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