The Deal Behind That Whole Post-Season Basketball Ban
A few weeks ago, Chancellor Kent Syverud announced that Syracuse University would be self-imposing a ban on its men's basketball team, prohibiting the Orange from playing any post-season games. For many Syracuse students and fans alike, this ban was confusing as hell and seemed to come from out of the blue. But, this ban was actually a calculated decision in response to events that occurred years ago.
In 2007, Syracuse self-reported multiple violations of its drug policy and the NCAA began its almost 10 year investigation of the program. Between 2010 and 2012, basketball center Fab Melo’s academic record was questioned, and the NCAA began to further investigate an internship program through the Department of Child and Family Studies program, which many basketball players study in. The local YMCA, which hosts internships for the program, had been under scrutiny for wrongly documenting hours. And last on the long list of possible violations were reports of players taking money or accepting gifts, both of which are illegal under NCAA rules. Whoops.
These violations seem reasonable enough to impose a ban on the team, right? Sadly, all of these violations occurred before 2012, which means that almost all of the current players on Syracuse’s basketball team are simply taking the hit. Both Syverud and Coach Jim Boeheim have apologized to the team for having to shoulder this burden. Despite all of this, many fans still ask: why now?
This season has been a constant struggle for the Syracuse basketball team, with a current record of 16-9. Injuries have plagued the team all year, forcing them to change up their starting lineup and affecting the dynamics of the team. Furthermore, the end of last year’s season forecasted major changes, with many players graduating or moving on to the professional league.
Going into the 2014-2015 season, Syracuse had a mostly freshman team, with Kaleb Joseph replacing Tyler Ennis, who now plays for the Phoenix Suns. Therefore, it kind of makes sense to ban the team from a tournament they might not even qualify for. Syracuse has already signed four new players for the coming year and hopes to build the team back up. So, it's probably a good thing the ban comes before those changes begin to take place.
The self-imposed aspect of this ban most likely comes as an attempt to keep the NCAA from posing stricter bans that could affect future seasons... very sneaky, 'Cuse. Plus, it could show the association that they are serious about these alleged violations. But, the NCAA still has the jurisdiction to impose any type of ban or take away scholarships from any SU sport teams. Womp.
Nonetheless, as logical as this ban may be in the end, it has still shocked orange fans across campus and around the country. It is especially sad for senior Rakeem Christmas, who will not be able to participate in the last March Madness of his career.
The ban is tragic, but might serve as a nice reminder to the athletic departments that their athletes are not Jesus, or even Yeezus. I mean, just because I can't sink a basket from half court doesn't mean I don't deserve a private tutor and blue sweatsuits galore, too.