Boeheim suspension caps Syracuse scandal

By: Steve Miller – Asst Sports Editor

It was a bubbling volcano just waiting to erupt.

On March 6 the NCAA suspended Jim Boeheim, the  men’s basketball head coach of Syracuse University, for the first nine Atlantic Coast Conference games of the 2015-2016 season. Along with the suspension, Syracuse was forced to vacate 108 wins from five different seasons from 2004-2012 in which ineligible players took the court. They will also be forced to reduce the number of scholarships for the next four seasons.

The sanctions came after a multi-year investigation by the NCAA into the Syracuse athletics program.

The eight-year ordeal, which is reportedly the longest such investigation carried out by the NCAA, began in 2007 when it surfaced that Syracuse athletes and coaches had received payment from local YMCA employees. The university launched an internal investigation at that point, reporting potential violations to the NCAA.

In 2010, 2013 and 2014, Syracuse submitted reports of violations the university itself found as a result of the internal investigation.

And in January 2015, Syracuse announced a self-imposed 2015 postseason ban, which included both the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

An article on published the day the sanctions were announced cited that the discovered violations included “academic misconduct, extra benefits, the failure to follow its drug testing policy and impermissible booster activity.”

These policy breaches by the university date back to 2001.

Boeheim, who has been the head coach of the Syracuse Orange since 1976, was found to have promoted these misconducts and was suspended as a result. During his nearly 40-year tenure as head coach, Boeheim has led the school to four NCAA Final Fours and one NCAA National Championship. He was also an assistant coach on the USA Men’s Basketball team during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In 2006 he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I am very disappointed that our basketball team will miss the opportunity to play in the postseason this year,” Boeheim said in a news release after the announcement of the 2015 postseason ban. “However, I supported this decision and I believe the University is doing the right thing by acknowledging that past mistakes occurred.”

In addition to Boeheim’s nine-game suspension for next season, he and the program also lose 108 wins in total over five different seasons spanning from 2004-2012. Previously, Boeheim needed just 36 wins to reach 1,000 for his head coaching career. He was second only to Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski in total wins for Division I men’s basketball all-time. After losing 108, he has fallen to sixth on the list.

For the next four seasons, Syracuse basketball must reduce the number of scholarships from 13 to 10.

With regards to the scholarship reduction Boeheim said, “Our players have faced adversity and challenges before. I know they will rise to this challenge by keeping our program strong and continuing to make our university proud.”

The 70 year-old head coach’s future with the program is uncertain. After being taunted by fans in a season-ending loss at North Carolina State University, Boeheim spoke to the Syracuse faithful at a banquet March 9.

“I came here in 1962,” Boeheim said to the fans, “I’m not going anywhere.”

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