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Kentucky Wildcats Saturday Quickies: Syracuse Sanctions Edition

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA lowered the boom on Syracuse basketball yesterday, vacating over 100 of their wins and suspending head basketball coach Jim Boeheim for nine games next season for not promoting an atmosphere of compliance at Syracuse over more than a decade.

Even if this report is not completely accurate in it’s conclusions (and I’m not suggesting it isn’t, I’m just giving Syracuse some benefit of the doubt), Boehim’s program got off much lighter than it could have. I think part of this was due to the NCAA not being as sanguine about some of its conclusions as it may have appeared in the report.

The bottom line is that Boeheim clearly did wrong things, did a poor job of monitoring his program, and generally didn’t take the compliance program seriously enough. Whether it’s in business or in college athletics, the regulatory agencies get really exercised when you have a compliance program in place and then deliberately do not follow it. Compliance programs are meant to demonstrate a commitment to compliance, but it’s better not to have one at all then to have one and not follow it.

Sean Keeley of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, SB Nation’s Syracuse blog, has always been a voice of sanity, reason, and honesty. He writes that Boeheim’s loose running of the program has been an ongoing issue, and that the seeds of the Orange Crush that just came down were sown by him over many years:

Syracuse isn’t innocent. As much as the NCAA is a joke, Syracuse got caught doing some dumb and shady things. The only reason the NCAA shone it’s flashlight on us and not one of the other 300 programs where the same stuff is happening all the time is because we gave them a reason to.

You should read the whole thing. I am not going to take a high and mighty approach here, because one day, it could be Kentucky on the receiving end of something like this, just as we have been before. I sympathize with Syracuse fans despite the annoying Syracuse butt-hole that kept trolling A Sea of Blue back in 2012 — sanctions like this suck for the fans, and for the players who did nothing wrong.

We won’t be rehashing all the flaws in the way the NCAA does things here, and I will not be ripping a hall of fame coach despite his obvious shortcomings. I’ll leave that to others with more moral authority, or at least more inclination to holier-than-thou affectation, to do that.

Instead, I’ll wish the Orange well, hope they get some reduction on appeal, and that they will get their own version of Sandy Bell who can help the athletic department right the ship and steer it straight.

One last thing — if you haven’t sung any hosannas to Bell lately, may I respectfully suggest that you do so now. It would seem to be a good time for a paen to her successful efforts to keep the NCAA wolves at bay, and Kentucky on the straight and narrow (or at least close enough).

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Keep in mind that UK needs 3 more consecutive wins to eclipse the all-time UK winning streak, period.

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