In early March the NCAA announced the penalties handed down to the Syracuse men’s basketball program at the end of an investigation that lasted some eight years, and they were severe to say the least. In addition to the vacation of 108 wins in which ineligible players took the court, Syracuse lost 12 scholarships over a four-year period and head coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for the team’s first nine ACC games in the 2015-16 campaign.
Wednesday Boeheim discussed the situation with ESPN.com, stating that he viewed the penalties as excessive while also expressing some confusion when it comes to how “failure to monitor” is determined.
“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?”
Back in 2012 the NCAA membership endorsed changes to its enforcement model, with head coaches being held more accountable than in the past when it comes to rules violations that occur in their program. And whether they’re directly involved or not, the head coach is now seen as the one ultimately responsible for keeping everyone in line regardless of how difficult that may prove to be.
While Boeheim also stated in the interview that “it’s the first time a head coach was really charged with the monitoring part and been so severely punished,” (note: former UConn head coach Jim Calhoun was suspended three Big East games during the 2011-12 season) given the changes to the enforcement model his suspension didn’t come as a surprise.
But the same may not be said of the length of the suspension, with the Hall of Fame coach due to miss half of the Orange’s ACC games as a result. Boeheim and the school are appealing the penalties, with that portion of the process yet to be resolved.