Though some feel that the NCAA penalties levied against the Syracuse men’s basketball program last year were fair and just, longtime coach Jim Boeheim is not one of them. In an interview with Tommy Tomlinson of ESPN, the Hall of Famer stated that he thought the overall punishment was too much, particularly when it came to himself and being charged with “failure to monitor.”
“I didn’t commit a violation in eight years of investigation, and obviously they tried to find everything that was there, as they should,” Boeheim said. “I’m guilty of not monitoring, which is a very nebulous term. Nobody has defined it. What does that mean?”
“I think we feel the punishment has been excessive, and it’s the first time a head coach was really charged with the monitoring part and been so severely punished,” he said.
Over the course of said eight-year investigation, the NCAA found enough to charge Syracuse’s men’s basketball and football programs with everything from academic misconduct to student-athletes receiving improper benefits to improper booster activity to even failure to monitor drug testing policy. As a result, both programs were put on probation for five years, but there was more for the basketball program. 108 wins were vacated, dropping Boeheim’s career win total from 966 to 858, the program will lose three scholarships a year for four years beginning in 2016-17, and Boeheim was also suspended for the first nine ACC games of the 2015-16 season.
Granted, Syracuse is appealing the ruling and the slate could end up being wiped clean, but the odds of that are unlikely. Back in 2012, the NCAA enforcement model was changed so that head coaches were held more accountable regarding rules violations in their respective programs and even if Boeheim did not indeed commit any violations himself, his punishment could very well stand due to the fact he seemingly lost control of everything. Should he bring up his point about the hazy definition of “failure to monitor” during the appeal, which has yet to be resolved, perhaps the NCAA will reset the precedent for such and not once again look like a major organization throwing its weight around just because it can.
Campus Sports will update this story as any new information becomes available.
Syracuse opens the season at home against the Patriot League’s Lehigh Mountain Hawks on November 13.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports