Syracuse Self-Imposed Ban

Earlier this season, Syracuse self-imposed a postseason ban from the ACC and NCAA tournaments. This is because of an investigation into impermissible benefits given to players and into academic-related allegations involving former Orange players Fab Melo and James Southerland.

The above is the basis for the CBSsports column that features comments made by Jim Boeheim to Dan Dakich on Dakich’s radio show.

CBS Sports Link

Fab Melo played for the Cuse during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons appearing in 63 games, starting 54 and averaged close to 8 points/6 rebounds during his 2 year career. James Southerland played from 2009-2013 appearing mostly as a reserve for the Cuse but appearing in over 100 games in his career while there. During the two years each played on the roster together the “Cuse” participated in the NCAA tournament losing in the second round in 2011 and the regional final in 2012. Melo entered the NBA draft early and was selected with the 22nd pick by the Celtics while Southerland also has played in the NBA albeit briefly for both New Orleans and Charlotte.

Rakeem Christmas is currently on the Syracuse basketball team. By all accounts he has improved his game and is ranked as one of the top senior players in college basketball, most likely will be named a member of this years All-ACC team and a possible 2nd round pick in this years NBA draft according to multiple outlets. Appearing in the NCAA tournament and playing well could quite possibly improve his positioning in that draft. Unfortunately that will not happen.

Why? Because he is being punished for the transgressions committed by former players and others unnamed people within the Cuse program. However, former players Melo and Sutherland played in the NCAA tournament and both had the opportunity from those appearances to bolster their image leading to the opportunity to play in the NBA because of it.

To members of the NCAA and administration of Syracuse. What’s wrong with this picture?

This ongoing situation in dealing with former program transgressions uncovered is and has been a wrong policy continued by the NCAA that clearly needs to be rectified. The continuing practice of punishing current players who by all accounts knew nothing of the former transgressions committed is absolutely unfair by any standard. The fact is many other actions could be taken that would be fair when these types of transgressions are uncovered. Current players should not be held accountable for “past sins” of the program.

What penalties and suggestions could be considered immediately.

  1. COACHES; If any member of the basketball staff or staff of the athletic department /university is found to be involved, immediately sanction the head coach and impose stiff fines on all involved. Certainly with the salaries coaches are making today that should not be contested by the NABC. Also if need be suspend him for a number of games either within the current season or to be served at the beginning of the next season. The suspension would be more fair if imposed during the next season so as not to affect the current group of players. At least the next years players would know of the suspension and measures could be taken during those games to adjust to the coach not on the bench. In addition if the coach leaves the program let the university that hires him accept the penalty in continuation. After all and as stated in the interview by Coach Boeheim “I am responsible, I’m in charge of the program.”
  2. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT AND UNIVERSITY: Both should be made to return at the rate of 150% any and all monies received by the University as payments made via their involvement in the NCAA tourney of the years in question. Monies received by participating were in effect earned through transgressions. Altering the games won or lost records is humorous at best because the games were played and the outcome officially in the books. In addition, depending on the severity imposing future scholarship loss could also be done as this would not affect the current players but would certainly alter future recruiting for a period of time.
  3. NCAA; Any monies received by either fines or returned by the University should be placed in an existing program or used to create one if not existing that involves teaching young future players what constitutes transgression within the rules. The money returned used by the NCAA program to establish monetary awards to deserving youth organizations through a submitted criteria grant process. The primary purpose being simply, the more informed future players and families are of this, the less likely in the future we will have it.

Will the above stop all these types of transgressions from happening in the future. Probably not, but it will create an immediate righting of a wrong which is penalizing current student athletes who neither committed the transgression or knew anything of it and place blame in a manner on those that should be held accountable. At the very least current players such as Rakeem Christmas and many others will not suffer potential financial harm in their future from penalties stemming from the transgressions of former players and or staff members and really, NCAA why should they?