If you accept that the Syracuse Orange basketball program was going to received a post-season ban one way or another over the ongoing NCAA investigation, you can to consider news that the school will self-impose that ban for the 2014-2015 season instead of next year a best-case scenario.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said "I am very disappointed that our basketball team will miss the opportunity to play in the post-season this year. However, I supported this decision and I believe the University is doing the right thing by acknowledging that past mistakes occurred. Our players have faced adversity and challenges before. I know they will rise to this challenge by keeping our program strong and continuing to make our University proud."
Chancellor Kent Syverud released a statement via e-mail on Wednesday evening explaining the decision.
"I am writing to give you advance notice that the University is announcing today it has self-imposed a one-year post-season ban for the men’s basketball 2014-15 season as part of its case pending before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
This one-year ban includes the ACC Tournament and any additional post-season tournaments such as the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). I made this decision in consultation with the Board of Trustees Athletics Committee and with the support of Athletics Director Daryl Gross and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jim Boeheim. This was a difficult decision but one we believe appropriate given the facts associated with the NCAA investigation.
Syracuse’s history demonstrates a strong commitment to integrity, responsibility and fairness, values I have personally observed in practice many times since becoming Chancellor last year. The University has taken this matter seriously and worked with the NCAA for nearly eight years to investigate and address potential rules violations. The process has been exhaustive.
We have taken responsibility for past violations and worked hard to ensure they are not repeated. We believe these voluntary sanctions are consistent with those imposed on other NCAA schools in similar cases. I have included below a copy of the University announcement that will be issued shortly.
I am disappointed for our current men’s basketball players who must shoulder this post-season ban as a result of things that occurred years ago. I also recognize that not participating in post-season play will be disappointing for you and other Orange supporters. However, we look forward to moving past this matter and I am confident the men’s basketball program will be strong and successful both on the court and in the classroom in the years ahead."
One has to assume that this decision was made with the understanding that the NCAA would take it into consideration with it's impending punishments. However, no official word on that yet.
Hell of a shame for Rakeem Christmas, whose final season for SU won't end in the post-season. Without appearances in the ACC Tourney and post-season, it's a missed opportunity for his legacy and draft stock.
It's the second post-season ban of Jim Boeheim's career. Syracuse sat out the 1992-1993 post-season over NCAA violations.
The craziest update to come out of the news is that this is a culmination of an investigation that began in 2007. That seems a lot longer than anyone knew about and also makes one wonder what was going on back in the mid-2000s we don't yet know about.
The good (?) news is that the Orange presumably won't have to deal with a post-season limitation next season, when a talented draft class and core of returning players should put the program back in position to compete in March. This March, however, is going to be a long one.
This is probably as good a time as any to mention the Syracuse Lacrosse teams are really, really good this year. FYI.