Jim Boeheim released a statement on Friday night -- his first public comments since the NCAA ruling today. In the statement, Boeheim distances himself from some of the violations and calls the ruling an "unprecedented series of penalties."
"Initially, I would like to express relief that the NCAA's unparalleled 8-year investigation of the University and the Men's Basketball program is finally over. As I expressed at the Committee on Infractions Hearing, I acknowledge that violations occurred within the Men's Basketball Program, and as the Head Coach of the Program, I take those violations very seriously.
That being said, I am disappointed with many of the findings and conclusions as stated in the Infractions Report. The committee chose to ignore the efforts which I have undertaken over the past 37 years to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the Men's Basketball Program. Instead they chose to focus on the rogue and secretive actions of a former employee of the local YMCA and my former Director of Basketball Operations in order to impose an unprecedented series of penalties upon the University and the Men's Basketball Program.
Much is made in the Infractions Report regarding the actions of a former employee of the local YMCA. As I explained to the committee, this individual was not someone who was allowed unique access to the Men's Basketball Program. This was a highly regarded individual who worked for the one most respected organizations in the country. I cannot think of a place where I would rather have my student-athletes spend their free time than a community YMCA. My coaches and I knew and trusted this man, and he was thoroughly vetted by the Office of Athletic Compliance before he was permitted to interact with our student-athletes. If the Committee is correct that this individual abused the trust that had been placed in him by the YMCA, the University, and me, then I am deeply disappointed."
It's good to hear from Coach Boeheim on the matter -- especially considering how much the NCAA's sanctions from earlier today seem to target him personally a bit. Obviously he's appealing the suspension, and obviously he's disappointed. But where should that disappointment really lie?
As Sean mentioned this afternoon -- maybe it should lie on him, just a bit. Overall, this statement seems to point fingers at the YMCA employee in question, former director of basketball operations in question and well... everyone but himself, really. "HE" made sure he'd created the proper basketball environment. "HIS" school vetted the folks in question and found nothing. "HE" cannot believe how "HIS" trust was violated...
You get the drift. It's likely we'll always love Jim Boeheim and be thankful for what he's done for the Syracuse basketball program. But if you take a look at what's happened and what is about to happen... you start to wonder if some blame finally needs to fall on the one person who's been here for all of it. Y'know, the one with his name on the basketball court.