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Dickinson: Syracuse Gets Off Easy with NCAA

Since the NCAA’s sanctions were released on Friday, my fellow Fizz writers have wasted no time in bringing you the facts, their opinions, and speculation (see here, here, and here). Now it’s my turn:

I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as what everyone’s making it to be. The program hasn’t been crippled, there’s no need to make any major changes, and the notion that Jim Boeheim should resign is absolutely ridiculous. The future of the program is not in danger; at the very least it could have been a lot worse.

To prove my point, let’s take a look at the complete list of setbacks that Syracuse is looking at, as reported by Syracuse.com.

1. Jim Boeheim suspended for nine ACC games in the 2015-16 season.

 

Jim Boeheim missing a few games isn’t all that important in the scheme of things. It’s well known that Mike Hopkins is a capable coach and will know what to do in Boeheim’s absence.

Boeheim will have to settle for yelling at Kaleb Joseph before and after the game instead of during.

2. The removal of 108 of Boeheim’s coaching victories, dropping him down to sixth on the all-time wins list in Division I.

 

This sucks when looking at the legacy of Syracuse and Boeheim, but it doesn’t affect the future at all. Something tells me this number will get smaller after the appeals process runs its course.

 

3. A reduction of 12 scholarships over four years.

 

This is the big one, but it isn’t as big as it seems. For starters, these reductions can be pushed back a year, meaning that the outstanding recruiting class that Jim Boeheim has put together won’t have to be separated.

The reduction in later years will bring the number of scholarship players Syracuse can have on the roster down to 10 from 13. Syracuse recruits NBA talent, meaning that there’s going to be players who only stay for a year or two. The quick rotation of players staying for a year and then heading to the pros makes losing scholarships in college basketball less harmful than in football. Add this to the fact that Coach Boeheim only consistently played 6 players this year and the blow gets a little easier to bear.

 

4. Fine of $500 per contest played by ineligible students.

 

Something tells me the school that charges $60,000 a year for tuition will be able to find the money.

 

5. Syracuse must return to the NCAA all funds it has received to date through the former Big East Conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. This could cost the school more than $1 million.

 

See Item #4.

 

6. Reduction in the number of permissible off-campus recruiters from four to two during June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2017.

 

If the team is recruiting fewer players then it won’t need as many people to recruit them with. That’s the simple answer. In reality, this could hurt more than the loss of scholarships, considering that less scholarships doesn’t matter if you can’t get players to want to play for you in the first place.

 

7. Men’s basketball and football programs placed on five-year probation from March 6, 2015 through March 5, 2020.

I’m guessing Syracuse won’t be causing any more mischief in the next five years, so this should be an afterthought.

8. Self-imposed restrictions

The self-imposed sanctions that Syracuse put on itself include the vacation of 24 basketball wins and 11 football wins, the reduction of a single scholarship, and 6 months without a recruiter.

In conclusion

The biggest reason to be okay with these sanctions isn’t in what you saw, but instead what you didn’t see. Syracuse wasn’t banned from any more postseason play, and will be fully eligible after this year. This is huge. Unlike the Penn State punishments – which these sanctions have been most compared to – Syracuse will be able to tell recruits that they’ll still be able to play for a title.

Is the situation that has been presented to Syracuse ideal? No. Will less scholarships set back the development of the program? Of course. But if everything that the NCAA’s report says Syracuse did is true, then I think the school got off easy.

Posted:  Nathan Dickinson

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