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The Fault in Our Stars: Syracuse Basketball's Blame Game

Syracuse University admitted that transgressions in the past will result in a self-imposed post-season ban this year. Mistakes were made. But is anyone going to take responsibility for them?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

You know now that the Syracuse Orange basketball program will miss the post-season as a self-inflicted punishment meant to satisfy some aspect of the ongoing NCAA investigation.

It will be the first time Syracuse basketball misses a post-season since 1992-1993, when, incidentally, the program was hit with a postseason ban by the NCAA.

You know the gist of why this is happening and, for the most part, Syracuse fans seem content with letting it happen now rather than next year when the Orange should field a much-improved squad with a better post-season outlook.

If there is one question that one might want to ask, it's would be "whose fault is this?" Who's responsible or taking responsibility? Looking at the statements put out by SU officials, coaches and players, it appears to be...someone.

  • "Much of the conduct involved in the case occurred long ago and none occurred after 2012. No current student-athlete is involved." - Official Statement
  • "We have taken responsibility for past violations." - Kent Syverud
  • "I believe the University is doing the right thing by acknowledging that past mistakes occurred." - Jim Boeheim
  • "We are all tremendously disappointed that we are going to miss out on playing in the postseason based on issues that do not involve us." - Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney & Michael Gbinije

Obviously, I'm not surprised no one stepped up and said, "I take responsibility," nor did I expect anyone to. Especially as the NCAA investigation is ongoing and doesn't need any more fuel to it's fire.

But I can't help but wish that Coach Boeheim would stand up at some point and say, "It happened on my watch. I'm responsible. I will make sure it doesn't happen again." Boom. Done. Let's move forward.

But he won't. Because he's Boeheim. And there's a big part of me that loves him for that. His smugness and arrogance and defiance are all things that make most fans dislike him and Syracuse fans adore him. It makes him an anomaly. A person unafraid to say what he wants when he wants when everyone else around him is just coach-speaking and sticking to scripts.

Jim Boeheim will be missed when he's gone. Even by those who don't like him. What he's built here in Syracuse is a basketball empire and he's done it all his way. However, with 'his way' comes some hard truths that we don't always like to look at.

Boeheim runs a loose program. You could make a good case he runs a program that's too loose. Sure, any coach who runs a major program for 30+ years is bound to run into trouble with the NCAA on multiple occasions, but remember, this current investigation started in 2007. Eight years ago. Think of all the troubling things that have happened since 2007. Someone felt the need to start an investigation BEFORE any of that stuff happened. Stuff that includes the entire Bernie Fine ordeal.

I'm still on Team BoeheimHadNoIdea when it comes to that stuff and I wouldn't be surprised if Boeheim had no idea about most of the transgressions that have cumulated over the years for Syracuse Basketball.

But that's the point. Maybe he, you know, should have...

And now, as he spend the last few years of his career attempting to cement his legacy with 1,000 wins and one more deep NCAA run, he's going to have to face-up to this and whatever other punishments await when the NCAA (finally) make their decision. That's on his legacy, whether he likes it or not. Cause that's what happens when you're the guy in charge. You get the blame just as much as you get the praise, deserved or not.

This is one of those situations where you might say we need an adult. We need an adult to tell us what's going on and that it's not going to happen again. Chancellor Syverud, whose been on the job for the briefest of times, has taken that post. I find myself wishing it had been Jim Boeheim instead. He who has lorded over the program, and this school, for longer than many Orange fans have been alive. It would be nice to hear him say, "It's on me, guys. And it ends now."

Maybe he will say something like that at his next press conference. He probably won't. And in a way, that's the defiant Jim that we like. The guy above the niceties and the status quo.

In this instance, however, it would be nice if Jim Boeheim were a little less Jim Boeheim. If only for a few moments.