The rules and sanctions imposed upon Jim Boeheim and Syracuse University could very well signal the end of the Hall of Fame playcaller as the NCAA plunges further into trouble.
What was once a game you could enjoy, what with the thrill of seeing future NBA stars showcasing their talents, relative unknowns upsetting the odds against seeded and raucous crowds creating an atmosphere that you would only ever see in Euroleague games has turned into a farce, where players are using the ‘one and done’ rule to get into the league instead of honing their skills for a couple of years.
The matches themselves for me are mainly being switched off to watch something else as the standard of basketball overall has gone down, the game has taken a slower and more predictable form and with Kentucky completing a flawless 31-0 season, which shows what limited challenges they’ve encountered this term.
And now this: Boeheim being hit by the NCAA with a lengthy suspension for failing to control his program. It goes to show that even the most legendary of figures can be hit with suspensions.
In Boeheim’s case, he has been suspended for nine ACC games, had12 scholarships taken away, and ordered that the 108 wins be vacated as a result of a multiyear investigation into the university’s athletic programs.
Syracuse’s penalties have also included a five-year probation and the vacating of all wins in which ineligible men’s basketball student-athletes played during the 2004-07 and 2010-12 seasons, and in which ineligible football student-athletes played in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
The violations in detail, which were self-reported by Syracuse and dated back to 2001, included academic misconduct, extra benefits, failure to follow the drug-testing policy and impermissible booster activity.
Jim Boeheim also helped the USA win three bronze medals and three gold between 1990 and 2014.
“Over the course of a decade, Syracuse University did not control and monitor its athletics programs,” the NCAA said in a statement, “and its head men’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program.”
These sanctions could tarnish Syracuse’s ability to field a deep team for many years but for Boeheim, who is reported to appeal this ruling, it could prove to be the end in his 29 years at the helm.
His status was not helped with his refusal to come out for the post-game press conference following the Orange’s season-ending 71-57 loss to North Carolina State.
Instead Boeheim released a statement for the media after the game.
“Yesterday I issued a full statement with my thoughts on and reaction to the NCAA Committee on Infractions report,” Boeheim said. “In that statement I said I would have no further comment on this matter as I consider my options moving forward. That remains the case today.”
Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins addressed the media and said the only reason why Boeheim did not was because he “doesn’t want to answer ‘no comment.'”
Boeheim’s statement added: “There will be time in the future for me to more fully comment on NCAA issues and of course I will take the opportunity to do that at the right time.”
While the reasons stated are of fair note, the future of the 70-year-old has to be called into question following this news. If he loses the appeal, Syarcuse will have to build a program again from the ground up and the Orange will need someone fresh-faced and eager to be up to that challenge.
Surely at 70, Boeheim will not be up for that long-term task. Especially as the students, who might have expressed interest in the school, Boeheim will coach if he does continue on will have read every article regarding this news.
Indeed succeeding Boeheim is a feat in itself, but the veteran coach will hopefully still be remembered for what he has done for the school before the scandal. A 2003 National Title, three trips to the Final Four and six Big East championships, IF the sanctions are included.
In the end though, it’s another story in a sad tale of the NCAA, as they battle with Roy Williams and North Carolina, which has been the subject of an ongoing and long-range academic scandal involving “paper classes” and Mike Krzyzewski’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving former guard Rasheed Sulaimon at Duke.