Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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NCAA allows Cuse’s Boeheim to begin suspension immediately
The NCAA has upheld its nine-game suspension of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, but he will be allowed to begin serving it immediately.
The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee issued its ruling Thursday, saying Boeheim was not directly involved in underlying violations of academic misconduct, extra benefits and the university’s drug testing policy.
The Committee on Infractions had ruled in March that the suspension be served during Atlantic Coast Conference play.
The change means the 71-year-old Boeheim will now miss six non-conference games and only three ACC games, returning for North Carolina on Jan. 9. Assistant coach Mike Hopkins will lead No. 14 Syracuse on Saturday at Georgetown.
The suspensions and sanctions against the university were imposed in March after a long-term investigation of Syracuse’s athletic department.
Boeheim appealed and called the penalties “unduly harsh.”
Last week, the NCAA restored four basketball scholarships it had originally stripped from Syracuse, reducing the number to eight over four years rather than 12.
>> For more on the Boeheim suspension, visit The Juice.
Boeheim released a statement, via his legal counsel:
“Today, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee rightfully determined that the NCAA Committee on Infractions abused its discretion in imposing a nine conference-game suspension based upon my alleged violation of the Head Coach Responsibility Bylaw.
The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee agreed that the NCAA Committee on Infractions ignored the fact that I had no involvement in any of the underlying violations in this case, and that I did not acquiesce in any of those underlying violations, in imposing its unprecedented suspension. The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee also agreed that this case was in sharp contrast to cases where head coaches were directly involved in a number of underlying violations, including unethical conduct violations, recruiting violations, and violations of the NCAA legislation regarding extra benefits. At the same time, however, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee decided to immediately impose a nine-game suspension, which is longer than any of the suspensions imposed in those cases.
Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed with the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee’s decision, and in particular, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee giving us only two days to make this transition, when the appeal was argued weeks ago. However, I have full faith in the ability of Coach Hopkins, my staff, and our seniors to lead the Men’s Basketball Program through this difficult time, and I look forward to returning to the bench on January 9 against the University of North Carolina.
I am considering my options moving forward and will have no further comment regarding this matter at this time.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.