There's been quite a few things said about Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse Orange basketball program in recent weeks. Let's get caught up from where we left off.
Last we checked in, SU's David Rubin was telling like it is while MarketWatch was blaming Boeheim for the collapse of the Central New York economy.
The weekend kicked off with a stellar New York Times opinion piece by Joe Nocera that you've no doubt already read, posted on your Facebook page, tweeted out and done just about everything else possible to spread it far and wide. Without absolving Boeheim of fault, Nocera calls the NCAA out on it's bullshit.
Syracuse, concluded the N.C.A.A., violated the association’s "fundamental core values." Not really. Very soon, the annual March Madness college basketball tournament will be upon us. The N.C.A.A. will reap somewhere on the order of $800 million. Now, we’re talking core values.
Staying in New York but missing the point altogether, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post was excited to see his Syracuse friends get taken down a peg. Mushnick makes sure to quote one Syracuse fan who says they'll stop rooting for the Orange.
"I used to be a huge ’Cuse fan. I no longer care. I don’t waste my time supporting [the] sham students who can dunk a ball but can’t pass a 10th grade math test. …You could close the program down permanently for all I care."
First of all, unnamed SU fan, you're exactly the kind of asshole we don't want around here anyway. Why you need to blame the players, 95% of whom did nothing wrong here, speaks to the level of your fandom. Second, were you under the impression the people dunking basketballs in Orange were Rhodes Scholars this whole time? Finally, I don't think I could pass a 10th grade math test right now to be honest with you. What is that, Algebra II? Yeah, I'm failing that. You probably are too.
Closer to home, both the Utica Observer-Dispatch and the Daily Orange (via Jesse Dougherty) lay the blame squarely on Jim Boeheim's shoulders. I'm on the record myself as saying that Jim Boeheim needs to "coach up" and accept some responsibility here. So far, he hasn't, and he's even gone as far as to point fingers elsewhere. So I don't have any problems here.
Finally, two people who probably have more insight into following the Syracuse basketball program during the time the violations took place, Donna Ditota and Mike Waters, came to the defense of the beleaguered coach with their piece about how the NCAA wants Boeheim to be a policeman. They paint a picture of Boeheim as someone above the fray who is "not a micromanager" but who will defend his players fiercely when required. They make some good points and provide a lot of examples to show that Boeheim does indeed care about his players, even if he's not the one dealing with the day-to-day. Still...that doesn't absolve him of blame, even if he's a different kind of manager than he's expected to be.