The NCAA brought the hammer down on Syracuse University’s Basketball program yesterday yet it fell short of delivering the blow necessary to send a real message. Yes, the Orange were stripped of three scholarships over the next four years, Head Coach Jim Boeheim was stripped of 108 wins and he’ll be suspended for the first half of the ACC schedule next season which equates to nine games.
The removal of those wins drops Boeheim from the second most-winningest coach in men’s basketball history to the sixth spot. This all stems from the use of ineligible players, corruption of the drug-testing policy and illegal booster activity. Frankly, Boeheim and the university are getting off easy in my opinion.
First of all, the NCAA accepted Syracuse’s self-imposed postseason ban for this year and that will be their only postseason ban through all of this. How ironic since this year’s Syracuse team has no chance of winning the title.
Secondly, the date of the infractions begins one month after the Orange won their only title under Boeheim in 2003. Again, how convenient is that?
I take no pleasure in giving my opinion on this stuff but if it helps change the culture of college basketball and college sports in general then so be it. I’ve always found Boeheim to be arrogant and condescending when speaking to anyone who he perceived not to be on “his level.” Boeheim isn’t the first player or coach to be that way but its’ been his M.O. for many yeas now. Look at articles across the top sports hubs this morning and you’ll see that disdain from writers commenting on this.
If the NCAA really wanted to send a message they would have stripped the title and/or imposed a postseason ban for the next three years. Boeheim’s ego will likely take a hit with a loss of those wins but I don’t expect him to take this lying down either. He’ll fight it and since he basically runs the university anyway he’ll have no shortage of support.
This is yet another sad saga in college basketball.
LMU 25 Years Later
I can remember like it was yesterday watching Loyola-Marymount run the out-of-shape and defending national champion Michigan Wolverines out of the gym in the second round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament. LMU’s run and gun style saw them average 122 points a game that year under Head Coach Paul Westhead. They made the Wolverines look like a group of bar buddies who played hoops a the local gym once a month.
It was the tragic death of star player Hank Gathers during the season that brought LMU into the national spotlight. With teammate Bo Kimble shooting left-handed free throws to honor his fallen teammate, the Lions rode their emotional wave all the way to the Elite Eight.
It was there they finally met their match in losing to eventual national champion UNLV.
What I found most interesting this week was just how bad basketball has become in college, not to mention the pros. Members of the team and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas made great points about how that LMU team played the game with fun and passion. They weren’t coached on every single dribble the way players are today; they were allowed to create and run the floor making the game full court rather than the half-court style we see today.