Syracuse Hoops Got Lucky

syracuseAt first blush, I thought that the NCAA dropped the hammer on Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse basketball program. Boeheim was suspended for nine ACC games (including the one this past Saturday) and his basketball program will be losing 12 scholarships over a four-year period. Syracuse was placed on a five-year probation.

And last, but certainly not least, the NCAA vacated 108 of Boeheim’s wins.

That led me to opine on Facebook that I feared that not only Boeheim’s legacy would take a huge hit, but the suspension could very well be his swan song.

After revisiting it though, things could have gone MUCH worse for Boeheim and the Orange.

Look at the charges the NCAA levied against Syracuse:

“Over the course of a decade, Syracuse University did not control and monitor its athletics programs. And its head men’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program.”

There’s more.

The NCAA mentioned that the violations included academic misconduct, extra benefits, failure to follow the drug-testing policy and impermissible booster activity. Add to that Boeheim’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff, and the school’s lack of institutional control.

That is ONE STEP closer to the dreaded “lack of institutional control” charge.

I don’t know about you, but those charges normally carry more than just a probationary period and loss of a few scholarships.

Speaking of the latter, 12 scholarships seemed harsh at first blush until you divide it by the aforementioned four years. Given that an average roster for a men’s basketball team is 12-14 players, three lost scholarships per year only hurts the Orange’s depth if anything.

The fact that Syracuse did not receive any postseason bans (other than its own self-imposed ban this season) should give Orange fans a huge sigh of relief.

As for Boeheim himself, I still think he is one of the best coaches in college basketball. The fact that he molded Syracuse into a perennial college basketball powerhouse should be commended.

Sure the nine-game suspension and vacated wins will leave some egg on his face, but a postseason ban would have created a major stain on his legacy.

So rest easy Orange fans, your beloved Syracuse is out of the woods.

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