Who Dropped the Ball in Syracuse?

The NCAA announced that they were suspending Syracuse Basketball coach Jim Boeheim for nine conference games next season and vacating more than 100 of his wins as coach. This decision comes after an investigation of academic fraud that started back in 2005, which raises the question what took so long?

The NCAA announced that Boeheim hired a Director of Basketball Operations to fix their academic problems. The newly hired director’s solution was too essentially do the work for the players, which is how one of the first red flags was raised when a player went from ineligible to eligible too quickly. The NCAA also states that the organization wrote papers for players, spoke to professors over email impersonating the players, and even signing up the players for bogus classes that only required a research paper which got high marks no matter what. The players were also given improper benefits, which has been a problem throughout the college system for years, and failure to enforce the drug policy.

It should be stated at this point that University has admitted to breaking and skewing numerous NCAA rules.

In all the NCAA has punished Boeheim by suspending him and taking away wins, but they are also taking away twelve scholarships over four years, the basketball and football programs are on probation for five years, and there will only be two off-campus recruiters allowed to recruit for the university from June 1, 2015 and ending May 31, 2017. Of course, Syracuse has to pony up a lot of money too.

Now Syracuse is not the first university to be dealt such harsh penalties. They join the ranks of University of Miami, whose struggles have been well documented in both The U and The U Part 2 of the ESPN documentary series. It was found in the end that the NCAA had boached the investigation into improper benefits from boosters to the university, could the same be said about the investigation into the Syracuse academic fraud?

Why did the investigation take so long? It’s hard to believe that the NCAA could not find any evidence into the academic fraud between 2005 to now. This investigation could be one of the most lengthy investigations in the history of the NCAA, which could have some negative backlash on the organization. Some could claim that the investigation took so long because employees involved might have been afraid to say anything for fear of backlash, but that claim is laughable. Employees could have given the NCAA anonymous tips about the dealings of the organization without there being any backlash, so simply the NCAA took their good old sweet time to do a through investigation and then dropped the hammer.

The last part of this whole scandal is the suspension of Boeheim and the current students. Can you really blame the coach for what the director and his staff were doing? While, it might be hard to believe that Boeheim had nothing to do with it, he might not have known exactly how they were going about getting players academic eligibility up to par. So to suspend him seems as if they just picked the highest profile person in the organization to punish to send the message.

It is then also fair to punish the current and future students of Syracuse for the actions of those that came before them? It’s been the problem with investigations and punishments for quite some time. It’s as if a young teenager would be punished for the actions of their parents, it would laughable.

The organization should be punished for their actions, there is no doubt about that; but to hurt the current team and future teams reeks of injustice.

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