As a Syracuse Orange fan, my inclination is to point and laugh at the Connecticut Huskies, who are banned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament because of a poor two-year Academic Performance Rate (APR).
As a Syracuse Orange fan, it's my inclination to point and laugh at UConn every chance I get, but that's just me.
However, as the Huskies prepare for this decimating punishment, which not only kills revenue and exposure but also hits them in the recruiting bread basket, I can't help but worry that the Orange might meet a similar fate in the not-so-distant future.
First of all, what exactly happened to get UConn here?
Under its by-laws, the NCAA requires schools to post a two-year Academic Progress Rate of at least 930 or a four-year average of 900, neither of which UConn is expected to meet after the numbers were calculated from last academic year. An 826 rating in the 2009-2010 season — the year before the Huskies won the Big East and national championships — doomed next year's postseason chances, despite posting an expected 975 rating last season (all numbers come via the Associated Press).
While I appreciate the idea of punishing UConn for something...anything...I can't help but feel like this is nonsense since the APR itself is nonsense. You're punishing the program not because a guy decided to F-off from classes all semester but because AFTER he decided to transfer or leave early, he stopped going to class.
When Dana O'Neil and Pat Forde write their next easy columns on this (that you will read while making a wanking motion), they'll wax philosophical about how the Huskies got what they deserved and the student-athlete persona has been sullied because, you know, protecting our children and America and the Bible and Innocence and whatever.
But the reason you should be worried about a shady system for determining the academic health of a basketball team is because the Syracuse basketball team has been and is skating on thin ice.
Dion Waiters said that he's going to keep taking classes until the semester is over, so let's hope he does. But I think we can all agree that Fabricio Melo is going to spend more of his final days at Syracuse at Chucks than he is in the Geology building. And while that's his right as a guy no longer playing basketball for the school, his doing so will adversely-affect the team moving forward.
Boeheim said that the program is in good shape when he called out the U.S. Secretary of Education (seriously, read that again). And while Boeheim's history of saying things before checking to make sure they're true is spotty, I believe him on that. I don't think Gross and SU Athletics would let him get away with that otherwise.
The question will be whether or not the departures of Melo, Waiters, DaShonte Riley and Mookie Jones affect our APR in the years to come. I saw some people work out the Syracuse APR on Twitter a few weeks back and most came to the conclusion that we are safe...but barely.
The lesson is, as always, if you're at Chuck's on a Wednesday night and our starting center is there out-drinking you, ESCORT HIM OUT OF THE BUILDING AND LOCK HIM IN A STUDY CARRAL. Future Syracuse basketball fans will thank you for it.
In the meantime however, we're still safe and UConn is screwed. As God intended.