It’s been a busy few days for Syracuse as the NCAA came down with penalties on the men’s basketball program on Friday after years of investigation.
As a result of violations that date back to 2001, Syracuse men’s basketball will lose 12 scholarships over the next four years. Also, head coach Jim Boeheim was given a nine-game suspension for his “failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance” with NCAA rules. The suspension will be served during Syracuse’s first nine ACC games next season.
But the Orange still had to complete the 2014-15 season and traveled to face N.C. State on Saturday. After a 71-57 ACC loss to the Wolfpack, Boeheim did not meet with the press after the game, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. Instead, he sent longtime assistant coach Mike Hopkins to deal with the media availability. Boeheim instead issued a written statement.
Here’s the full statement:
Yesterday I issued a full statement with my thoughts on and reaction to the NCAA Committee on Infractions report. In that statement I said I would have no further comment on this matter as I consider my options moving forward. That remains the case today.
Win or lose, today should be about this terrific team and how they have made me, our coaches, the University and the community proud during a challenging season on and off the court. I’m as proud of this team as any I have ever coached. I think these players have done everything any and all of us could have asked them to do.
I want to make sure today, as we play our last game and are together for last time as team, that the focus is on our players, and all they have done to make our University proud. This should be the focus this afternoon and nothing else.
That is why I have asked Coach Mike Hopkins to lead today’s post-game media availablity. There will be time in the future for me to more fully comment on the NCAA issues and of course I will take the opportunity to do that at the right time.
Hopkins declined to answer any questions pertaining to the NCAA investigation or the loss of scholarships. He also defended his boss, describing Boeheim at one point by saying, “Coach is a warrior. He’s a superhero. Superhero.”
The Syracuse coach-in-waiting might believe that his former coach is a “warrior” and a “superhero” but I’ve never seen a warrior or superhero run and hide from a group of sports reporters with voice recorders and notepads.
Boeheim could have faced the music, brushed off questions about the investigation like he’s been known to do, and at least shown some respect to the current players whose season he ended prematurely by showing face and saying in person how proud he was of them.
It’s hard to say if Boeheim blew off the press conference or Syracuse asked the head coach to skip the media availability, but this move is going to draw more attention than if Boeheim just answered a few questions.