Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Syracuse Self Imposes Ban for 2015 Post Season

Syracuse University announced today that it is self-imposing a ban on all post season activity for its men's basketball program for this year.  The ban includes the NCAA, NIT and the ACC tournament.

It is a shame that the current roster of players has to suffer for the misdeeds done in the past.  I do not know all the details of this particular investigation, though I have been flustered by what I already know.  Syracuse self-reported academic violations by Feb Melo and James Southerland at the time they occurred.  Melo was suspended first by the university and then later in the season by the NCAA.  The Melo suspension in 2012 was extremely impactful on the Orange as the team was ranked #2 in the country, and one of the top favorites to win the tourney. Without Melo they were talented enough to make a run to the Elite Eight.

Part of me feels like there is double jeopardy in this situation. The punishment was handed out, and the program suffered at the time.

Again, there are probably more issues at hand than what I am aware of.  I will be curious to see what those may be.

The self-imposed ban from the ACC tournament seems excessive.  When Syracuse was banned in 1993 by the NCAA, it was still permitted to play in the Big East Tournament.  So the Syracuse administration is dolling out a very stiff penalty on itself.

The move is definitely self-serving by the university; I am not naive to that. This year's team was not going to have a strong post season, and they are hoping that sacrificing this year will allow the team not to be impacted for next year, nor have any lingering impact on recruiting.   The 1992-1993 ban took a couple of years to get announced, and there were recruits the Orangemen lost as a result.

I do find the NCAA to be a capricious and inconsistent organization.  There does not seem to be any predictable pattern to penalties they dole out, nor which institutions get investigated in the first place.  It seems clear that some programs are cheating academically because practically it seems illogical that they types of players that revolve through their program could not possible maintain proper academic standing, yet they do. 

Anyhow, good luck to the Orange on their remaining nine games this year.  Particularly sad is the relevance to Rakeem Christmas, who is having a tremendous senior season, and will have no opportunity to showcase his talents.  The greatest irony being that Christmas is one of the best student athletes Syracuse has ever had, completing his four year degree in only three years (no redshirt year).

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