Effect of sanctions against Syracuse basketball will be negligible

Hop&Gerj

Mike Hopkins should take over after Jim Boeheim retires

Well, I was right about ‘Cuse not making the NCAA Tournament NOR the NIT Tournament. Yes, it’s a technicality since it had nothing to do with the on-the-court play, but whatever, I was still right.

Seriously though, while it’s depressing not being able to root for the Orange in the postseason, and equally annoying watching the NCAA try to discredit the program, the bottom line is none of this matters going forward.

No one, and I mean no one, believes Coach Jim Boeheim was directly involved in any of this. If you’ve followed the story and listened to those close to it, Boeheim really was left out of the mix. He’s guilty by association and has taken his rightful share of the blame as head coach, but the nine game suspension at the start of ACC play next season is a bunch of malarkey.

Seriously, what is the NCAA doing? Ten years to investigate self-reported violations, and in the end, all the NCAA did was give Mike Hopkins, the coach-in-waiting some real game experience.

And what about these other “sanctions?” Five years of probation simply means they need to keep following the rules. Way to lay the smack down, NCAA.

» Related: After NCAA black eye, Syracuse to shine hosting NCAA regional

Losing 12 scholarships starting in 2016 over 4 years? We already got rid of BJ Johnson and Ron Patterson, so off to a solid start dealing with that one. Although I’m sure the Orange will really miss Patterson’s 17 percent shooting from downtown.

Don’t forget, Syracuse will still have 10 scholarship spots open every year. That’s not going to slow this program down. Boeheim rarely plays more than 8 or 9 guys anyway. It will require some creativity if not enough guys are graduating/moving on to the NBA, but it’s nowhere close to a death knell.

And of course, let’s not forget coach lost 108 wins off of his total. Does anyone believe he won’t get those back? And even if he doesn’t, does anyone really care? He certainly doesn’t. Most importantly for him and the school, the 2003 National Championship is safe (how that happened I’ll never know, but thank you for being wildly inconsistent and downright crooked, NCAA).

More than anything, I expect these sanctions to create a contender next season. The highly ranked incoming freshmen class is still committed. Chris McCullough will be back from injury. Everyone else who played meaningful minutes, besides graduating Senior Rakeem Christmas, will be back. Boeheim will be back and as defiant as ever.

Next year’s team has something to prove. The loyal Syracuse fans will be right behind them, supporting the team they love. I haven’t spoken to a single Syracuse fan who bemoans the team or the school. The NCAA is the evil here, and rightfully so.

The NCAA sanctions brought a tight-knit community and fan base even close together. We are all ready to move past this and enjoy the last three years of Boeheim’s hall of fame career- and then the Mike Hopkins era to follow. The players will keep committing, the teams will keep winning, and it will be business as usual in Central New York.

If anything, the NCAA helped make sure this outlier of a season, the rare unsuccessful Boeheim season, was pushed to the background in the greater narrative. All that matters now is how next year’s team responds in the face of the NCAA ruling. This year’s losses will be forgotten. Next year has the potential to be the ultimate redemption story- a defining moment in a long, illustrious career.

So thank you NCAA. Just please, don’t take so long next time.

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Matt Goodman

About Matt Goodman

Matt worked for the Westchester Journal News, covering a variety of sports. He has also covered Syracuse University basketball from 2003-05 in both online and print. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2004 and currently resides in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @mattgoodman44.
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