NCAA Sanctions Syracuse Coach: The Week In Sports
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
And it's time for sports.
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SIMON: Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, one of the big-name coaches in college basketball, has been suspended for nine games by the NCAA. The team has been stripped of 108 wins after investigation dates back more than a decade in allegations of cash payouts and forged homework et cetera. Say it ain't so or what do you expect? Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine joins us.
HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. What do you expect?
SIMON: Well, what else did the NCAA find? And - well, all right. What else did they uncover?
BRYANT: Well, I think what they uncovered in terms of their investigation was what they considered to be a lack of oversight on the part of the head coach. Believe me, this story focuses squarely on Jim Boeheim, one of the great and most successful coaches in college basketball history. And what the NCAA is saying is that he's essentially been running a program that's not been clean, that hasn't adhered to the standards of the NCAA. Now, obviously that governing body in of itself has a lot of its own problems, but I think what this really says - it's bothersome to me, Scott, because we spend so much time giving these coaches a sort of dispensation that they don't deserve. And the money is so great. These coaches are generally, across the country - especially in state schools - the highest-paid employees in the state. And there's no accountability, and I think the NCAA put a little - tried to at least place a little bit of accountability on Syracuse.
SIMON: I mean, the implication of the finding is that there was deliberate cheating going on in a prestigious program, and Coach Boeheim not only knew of it, he was, in many ways, behind it.
BRYANT: Well, exactly - and booster activities as well. And now, his argument - and he's always tried to be very feisty about this and combative, and I think that also makes him unattractive to me because he seems not to understand that he's part of this. I mean, in college basketball - especially college basketball, college football - the head coach is everything. They run the entire program. They have complete control over everything. And for him to say that, well, you know, I'm - the rules don't allow me to monitor activity with my players. Well, he handpicked the people that are implicated in this 94-page report. And he essentially threw them under the bus by saying, well, look, people didn't pay attention to the things that I've done over the last 37 years. And I feel that, that, once again, does not take responsibility for the fact that when you run this program, you've been there for almost 40 years, you're in control. Take some responsibility for your program. Well - and the NCAA has been investigating him for eight years, and that kind of says something as well.
SIMON: Why - I've got to ask this before we close - why does nobody seem to think Jim Boeheim is going to lose his job over this?
BRYANT: Well, because he's not going to lose his job over it. He's going to be suspended for nine games. And this is not something that happens in college sports where - I mean, look at the number of infractions. All of these coaches resurface. And I think there's this culture of the coach, once again, that the coach is somehow this moral figure when really what they are is the CEO of a company that doesn't even pay its employees.
SIMON: (Laughter). Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine. Thanks so much for being with us. Talk to you soon, my friend.
BRYANT: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.