With America full of places sports fans and media members can speak their minds, there sure seems to be a lot more doom-and-glooming going on nowadays.
In the case of the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team and its looming NCAA sanctions, the rumor mill, full of multi-year postseason bans, losses in scholarships and even vacated victories, has been ever-evolving.
Heck, before things got hairy some reports had head coach Jim Boehiem being forced into early retirement. (Though, we all quickly learned that the source was just as made up as the story.)
Now that the day of reckoning has come, as Syracuse University announced Wednesday evening that it will self-impose a postseason ban for the 2014-15 season, all the doom-and-gloom theories seem to be, well, made-up fairy tales created to scare the masses and get "recs" on message boards.
Don't believe me? Fine. But just understand it was ESPN's Jay Bilas who sparked my brain into thinking about my theory.
"Please. That was negotiated with the NCAA," said Bilas shortly after SU announced its ban. "Like calling a plea bargain "self-imposed." Just a public shaming. Nothing more."
Add a Thursday morning report from SNY's Adam Zagoria, who is saying Boeheim has already been reaching out to 2016 recruits telling them the ban will not impact them, and ESPN Jeff Goodman's opinion the 70-year-old headman is in full control of his retirement destiny, it is easy to buy-in to the fact this could be the end of the NCAA saga.
The case for this theory get stronger when you consider the NCAA has become overwhelmed by an influx of academic-related issues with other programs, the most newsworthy being the one involving the University of North Carolina's men's basketball and football teams, and it doesn't have time to figure out exact punishments for SU.
And let's be honest, how can it? With 20 other issues going on, none of them being the same, there's no way the NCAA could punish Jim Boeheim's program without knowing what others have done as well. It especially can't be handing out big-time punishments to SU without dealing with UNC first, because it will be the tone-setter.
Sure, more could be coming from the NCAA–because we should all hope they release finding of its prolonged investigation that was kickstarted when SU self=reported violations in 2007–but I am now willing to put money down that the NCAA's report on SU will focus more on details of infractions and its findings then handing out more punishments.
So, yeap, I am going to be the one to break it to you. For over three years, a timespan that has given pessimists plenty of time to concoct a ton of worst-case scenarios, Syracuse fans have been waiting for the NCAA sanctions hammer to drop and this is all you're probably going to get–one season, no chance at a postseason, not even the conference tournament. And yes, it conveniently falls on a year that the team has less than a 50-50 shot at making the Big Dance.
It does stink, especially for the players we root so hard for, but considering what most have been saying for years, Orange nation will take it–and tell UConn Husky fans all about it.
Hey, it is about time we caught a break.