Jim Boeheim has long been one of the nation’s finest college basketball coaches. He can be thoroughly entertaining, even if combative, in news conferences. But arrogance can lead to anybody’s undoing, and consider the Syracuse coach the latest example.
Boeheim and his program were slammed by the NCAA for multiple violations Friday, including the mother of all no-nos: academic fraud.
Also for everything else. The NCAA said Boeheim “failed to monitor his program,” noting infractions included “academic misconduct, extra benefits, the failure to follow its drug testing policy and impermissible booster activity.”
Seriously, what’s left?
Syracuse was hit with five years probation. It will lose three scholarships annually for four years, have limitations placed on off-campus recruiting for two years, must vacate all wins for five basketball seasons (and three football seasons), was hit with multiple financial penalties and Boeheim was suspended for the first nine ACC games of the 2015-16 season. The NCAA also accepted Syracuse’s self-imposed, one-year postseason ban.
Actually, given all the NCAA found wrong at Syracuse, the penalties could have/should have been a lot worse.
To read the NCAA’s official release, click here.
This isn’t just a mark on Boeheim’s legacy, it’s a significant blow to the ACC. The last conference expansion included Syracuse, largely because of the school’s basketball program. School administrators must have anticipated the sanctions would be bad or they wouldn’t have self-imposed penalties that included pulling themselves out of this year’s ACC and NCAA tournaments.
A sample of the findings:
• Two Syracuse basketball staff members completed coursework for an undisclosed basketball player who was on the verge of becoming academically ineligible in January of 2012. This occurred at a time when the school was already under investigation for other potential violations and — and — after the NCAA denied an eligibility waiver for the same student.
• A booster developed relationships with basketball staff members, and basketball and football athletes and provided more than $8,000 to two basketball players and three football players for volunteer work. The NCAA found that staff members encouraged the students’ relationship with the booster.
• The school violated its own drug testing policy. From the NCAA: “The athletics director said the department followed an ‘unwritten policy’ because the written policy was confusing. As a result, basketball students who tested positive on more than one occasion were not withheld from practice and games, as the written policy directed.”
(So to translate, players flunked test but the school did nothing because, well, there was a game that night.)
• A part-time tutor certified that three football players completed a required number of study hours, when in fact that wasn’t the case.The 10-year NCAA investigation does not affect Syracuse’s 2003 national championship.
The penalties also do not extend the postseason ban beyond this season, which leads to one question: Why not?
•Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Erving says Hawks should do better job embracing their history — MyAJC: Hank Aaron knows exactly how Dominique Wilkins feels — MyAJC: Despite loss, Fox has Georgia pointed in right direction — AJC: Mark Fox deserved contract extension (which he finally signed) — AJC: Falcons, Ndamukong Suh and waiting on fake noise penalty — AJC: Falcons’ payroll slash continues — Blalock, Douglas released — AJC: Steven Jackson expected to be missing piece, but he wasn’t — MyAJC: Can Kevin Seitzer avoid being Braves’ next scapegoat — AJC: Freeman on ’14 roster: Heyward leading off not well-constructed lineup — MyAJC: By any name, Braves need a different Upton — AJC: How long should Braves give Upton to show improvement? — MyAJC: Braves have issues but McDowell not one of them — AJC: I still can’t talk to Roger McDowell without thinking of ‘The Second Spitter’ — AJC: Poll: Are expectations for Braves too low, high or about right? — MyAJC: Will Gonzalez be given some latitude during Braves’ rebuilding? — MyAJC: Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names — AJC: Data show Falcons got least (10-22) from most ($279.3 million) — MyAJC: Georgia shows why we still can’t assume success — AJC: Are Hawks getting Ray Allen? Odds site makes them favorite — MyAJC: Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices — AJC: Tiger Woods seems in danger of missing Masters (again) — AJC: Trade likely means Hawks are planning for something — MyAJC: Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has absorbed a lot of jabs