Syracuse has had one of its best seasons on the court and one of its most distracting seasons off it.
Just two days after winning its record 30th regular season game, Yahoo! Sports reported this afternoon that over the past decade, SU’s basketball program repeatedly violated its internal drug policy.
This news, of course, comes in the same season that produced a child molestation scandal with Bernie Fine, and an academic issue concerning Fab Melo.
It’s too early to make heads or tails of the Yahoo! report. We’re not sure if this will trigger an NCAA investigation. We’re not sure if this will lead to any sanctions. We’re not sure which players were alleged to have violated team policy.
But here’s what we can be sure about: This won’t affect Syracuse’s performance on the court.
Not even slightly.
I’m not basing this on conjecture or speculation. We have all the evidence we need in front of us.
First, there was the shocking allegations that led to the dismissal of Fine, the long time Syracuse assistant coach. For the first time in 35 seasons, SU played without Fine carrying his signature clipboard on the sidelines.
Only a month later, Fab Melo was forced to sit out several games because of a reported academic issue.
And what did Syracuse do during this time?
Set a record for most wins in conference play. Become the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Go undefeated in the Carrier Dome for the first time since the 2003 season.
The latest story has even less of an impact than the previous two did, mainly because, according to a release from Syracuse University spokesman Kevin Quinn, no one on the current team is being investigated. Syracuse is going into the postseason with the same roster that finished the regular season.
We couldn’t say that for the other two stories.
SU coach Jim Boeheim has also learned his lesson. When asked about the report, Boeheim was quick not to issue any sort of comment.
We all know what happened with Boeheim’s immediate reaction to the Bernie Fine story. That will be a non-factor this time around.
In essence, there is no immediate impact on this team.
If Syracuse has persevered through the other two storms, there’s reason to think they can’t do so now.