Saturday marks the renewal of one of the sport’s best rivalries, as former Big East foes Syracuse and Georgetown will meet in the nation’s capital. Unfortunately, one of the most influential figures in this rivalry won’t be present.
Thursday morning the NCAA announced that Jim Boeheim’s nine-game suspension as part of the sanctions handed down for NCAA rules violations will begin with Saturday’s game. This is a change from the initial ruling that Boeheim would have to sit out the Orange’s first nine ACC games. That decision did not fall in line with the penalty handed down to SMU’s Larry Brown, who’s in the midst of his own nine-game suspension.
With that being the case the NCAA decided that like Brown, Boeheim’s suspension should not have been limited to conference games. While the fact that he’ll only miss three conference games can be viewed as a positive, the short notice of this ruling isn’t particularly fair to Boeheim or his program.
That being said, one could also make that argument in regards to the school’s timing for announcing their self-imposed postseason ban last February.
Assistant coach and head coach designate Mike Hopkins will take the reigns for Syracuse, and the earliest Boeheim can return to coaching in games will be for the Orange’s game against North Carolina January 9. During the suspension Boeheim is prohibited from having any contact with his players or coaches.