By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport. He has been the head coach at his alma mater since 1976 and will probably retire after next season. He has spent a lifetime building a legacy that is now going to be tarnished because he wasn’t micromanaging the basketball program enough.
The NCAA investigation pointed out some not so good things about Syracuse basketball. This included academic fraud and improper payments to players by a booster. It’s bad but many feel that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. That punishment includes vacating wins and suspending Boeheim for several conference games next season.
The 94-page NCAA report reads in part, ‘the head basketball coach’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff…‘ which is a direct slap in the face to Boeheim. The NCAA uses this line to essentially say that the coach should have known what was going on. Boeheim took responsibility and apologized even though he feels that the program was far from running amuck. Regardless, Syracuse will give up scholarships, vacate wins in both basketball and football and the AD has even stepped down.
These sanctions fall on the basketball program while the memory of the Bernie Fine incident is still fresh on everyone’s mind. Boeheim withstood that storm but these latest sanctions appeared to be the straw that broke the 70 year olds back.
Essentially it’s been one thing after another since Boeheim led Syracuse to the NCAA Title back in 2003. Yes he probably isn’t as “on top” of the program as he was back when he was 50 but who really is “on top” of their program? There are only so many hours in the day and the job is hard enough to do when you are in your 40’s much less in your 70’s.
Does Boeheim deserve to be run out of the game by the NCAA because of these latest violations? Probably not but he is getting a bit of a break. He is getting his choice as to when to leave when a coach of lesser standing may have been fired on the spot. Regardless if the NCAA vacates wins or not, we know who was standing on the sideline for Syracuse during that time. We know the legacy Boeheim built and not even the NCAA can take that away from the memory of basketball fans.