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Syracuse sanctioned: ACC screws itself again


syracuseThe news about the crippling sanctions being handed down to Syracuse for NCAA violations in its men’s basketball program effectively turn another good move by the ACC into a steaming pile of crap.

The loss of 12 scholarships over the next four years will hamstring Syracuse for the next decade. Three scholarships down per year for the next four, the margin of error for coach Jim Boeheim and his staff is in the negative. As long as he recruits Carmelo Anthonys every year, he’s OK, and better if the Carmelos don’t leave, but anything less than that, and Syracuse will be fielding a YMCA team in a couple of years.

Which is what happens when you get caught doing what Syracuse got caught doing. The punishment fits the crime. I’m not going all Dick Vitale here on what a great guy Jim Boeheim is, how he raises money for cancer research, et cetera, because that’s all irrelevant. Money changes hands, kids aren’t doing their own schoolwork, you get caught, you get sanctioned, and kudos to the NCAA for throwing the hammer down.

From the ACC’s perspective, this hits the conference as hard as it does Syracuse. The ACC didn’t bring Syracuse in to bolster its already impressive lineup of lacrosse teams. The Orange don’t add anything to the football. ‘Cuse doesn’t even have a baseball team.

Syracuse is in the ACC to add to the marquee sport, men’s basketball, and specifically to bring the New York City market to the ACC. Yes, Syracuse is on the other side of the world from NYC, but as the school’s athletics department markets itself, it is the home team for New York.

The ACC doubled down on its commitment to what Syracuse can bring the league that it decided to move its 2017 and 2018 ACC Tournaments to Brooklyn.

That move looks really solid right about now, does it not? New Yorkers are no doubt going to come out in droves to see Syracuse lose on Tuesday, and then stay away in similar droves the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, those of us who have been attending the tournament for years, even those of us who cover it, get to pay New York prices for accommodations, which is to say, we get to watch the games on TV, with the upper decks in Barclays tarped off to shield the conference from the embarrassment of swaths of empty seats at what is otherwise college basketball’s premier conference tournament.

Applaud the ACC for taking the initiative to think big and think, Syracuse is a big piece in the puzzle. Whoever was in charge of due diligence, and failed to follow through on years-old allegations that Barney Fife could have figured out was going to lead to NCAA penalties, maybe that guy needs to get sacked.

– Column by Chris Graham



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