Wrongdoings were done, nobody is debating that. The severity of the punishments handed down by the NCAA to the Syracuse Orange men's basketball program and its head coach Jim Boeheim? That's another story.
According to two separate stories by Syracuse.com's Chris Carlson, Boeheim has backing from good friend and Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and Syracuse Unversity's former director of compliance Robert Mathner.
First, let's hear what Mathner, who worked with Boeheim from 1999-2003, had to say.
"When I got there our compliance staff resources were above most of the Big East schools," Mathner said. "There was a general sense that others didn't allocate as much attention to it. They worried that there was an unfair advantage. We held them to a high standard."
Mathner admits the reports findings on what SU did to keep former center Fab Melo eligible are "pretty crazy," and Boeheim should be held responsible for the NCAA violations committed by the program. However, even though Boeheim can be difficult to work with, Mathner said his former co-worker was always trying to play within the rules.
"It's Division I sports," Mathner said. "We weren't best friends. But who is with Jim? I don't think he bucked the education or the system. Any time you were bringing him bad news you were a little bit apprehensive. He can be tough. He can be a bully. But I never took it personal."
Meanwhile, Coach K was on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" and was asked about what's going on with his Olympic friend and coaching peer, who he'd spend summer talking about the length of the investigation, and came to his defense.
"I do think the punishment is excessive," Krzyzewski said. "I hope they go through the appeals process and there's a way some of these things can be lessened, especially the vacating of games. That bothers me. I think they'll be fine. Jim will be able to handle things and Syracuse, I think, will be behind him. But I don't like the vacating of games. He's spent 39 years building an amazing resume. What accomplishments he's had. I feel bad about that."
We feel bad too, coach.