Was there a surer bet in the world that as soon as this article was posted on Syracuse.com, Jim Boeheim was going to read it and then respond to it from the pulpit at one of his press conferences?
With a recent graduation rate of 45%, Syracuse Orange basketball doesn't look too hot on paper in terms of getting student-athlete to complete their college education. But as Jim Boeheim (correctly) puts it, no one has yet to explain to him how he can graduate college students that don't want to graduate:
"I think if you have 12 players over a four-year period and they play for four years and only five graduate, I think that's an institutional problem. You haven't done a good job with those guys. However, in our case, that's not what happened. We had six guys stay out of the 12; five graduated. The other six, a couple for the NBA, a couple weren't playing enough and wanted to transfer. One guy was hurt and just didn't want to play any more (McBride). So if someone can explain to me how if six guys choose to leave, for whatever reason — and I think some of them were good reasons in that 12-person group — if someone can tell me how we're supposed to graduate a guy who leaves, I would love for them to come and tell me that. Explain how we can do that.
"The six guys that stayed the four years, we'd like to get all six of them to graduate. Five did. And one is still close and we hope that he will come back to finish. We have two seniors now who are ahead of schedule to graduate and should graduate with one or two courses the second semester.
"So we want every player that stays here four years to graduate. But some guys want to go to the NBA, they end up playing in Europe. That's their choice. And there's a whole heckuva lot of students that decide to leave here. It's not the school's fault. It's not the coach's fault. Some kids just make that decision — some kids transfer because they want to play more and some of it is they want to go play (professionally). And those are decisions that guys make.
"We've had guys leave early to play and we've had several of them come back and graduate. If someone could explain to me how we could have done something to graduate somebody who wasn't here, then I'd like to hear that. That would be good information."There's an obsession that if somebody comes (to school), they should graduate. There's an obsession about it. ... When (players who transfer or depart with remaining eligibility) made the decision (to go) — prior to leaving, they were fine academically. But some kids when they make that decision, they just leave so they're going to be ineligible because they're not going to finish the course work and (they won't) count in terms of graduation rate.
"If everybody stays, our graduation rate is great. But some guys just don't stay. If somebody had an answer, I'd love to hear it."
I don't agree with everything Jimmy B says but in this case, it's pretty straight-forward.