Christian Cieri – Illustrator

For several years, the Syracuse University Men’s Basketball program has been under investigation by the NCAA because of what head coach Jim Boeheim has called “past mistakes” related to the academic habits of some of his players. Because of the supposed scandal, the school has imposed a ban on postseason competition this year.

At first glance, it may look like Syracuse is taking a moral stand here – disciplining itself for breaking NCAA rules. The reality, however, is much less respectable.

Self-imposed bans like this are done in the hopes that, once the NCAA concludes its investigation, they won’t enact any additional penalties on the school.  Additionally, any punishment from the NCAA would likely be harsher than sanctions determined by the school itself.

In other words, Syracuse’s actions are completely in line with their own interests and have nothing to do with the program’s morality.

Perhaps the best evidence that shows the self-serving nature of Syracuse’s actions stem from the fact that the team was unlikely to even make the postseason this year at all.  The unranked Orangemen have been plagued by injuries and is one of the weakest squads in Boeheim’s 39 years as a head coach. Furthermore, according to ESPN, next year’s recruiting class is looking to be the best in program history.

The convenient timing of Syracuse’s action is no coincidence, nor is it a vague explanation of why they are punishing themselves. The school is doing everything it can to get out of the situation with as small a slap on the wrist as possible. It is up to the NCAA—an organization not exactly known for its fairness or moral respectability—to prevent Syracuse from getting away with misconduct.

The NCAA should either force Syracuse to publicize exactly why it is self-imposing this ban, or disallow any self-discipline and, upon the completion of the investigation of the school’s infractions, impose their own penalties.

Unless any action is taken to amend the current system, schools like Syracuse will likely continue to break NCAA rules regarding academics, recruiting or anything else, for that matter. The repercussions—especially when they’re self-imposed—are simply not enough to deter this behavior.

Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.  


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An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.