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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “hypocrisy”

A Sad State of Affairs: Jim Boeheim & Politics

This author grew up in the shadow of the Carrier Dome and has defended Jim Boeheim for years.  When he was getting unexpectedly bounced from the Big Dance, this author defended him.  When Keith Smart hit that jumper, this author defended him.  After forty years of sharing Syracuse basketball together, there have been few instances of criticism.  When the Bernie Fine saga broke, it was suggested that perhaps the “all-in” strategy was risky, calling victims liars and resulting in a lawsuit against him.  So take this next criticism for what it is–a rarity.

In his report from the Olympics, Jim Boeheim strayed from the expected topics–you know, basketball, the Olympics, and Rio–to discuss American politics.  He specifically stated the following:

You don’t see the news down here. Not much, anyway. So we don’t talk a lot about Donald Trump. But I will say that it’s a sad state of affairs that he could be running for president.

He appeals to a certain radicalized part of the country that basically hates everything that’s going on, without reason. I hope, and think, that when we vote in November the American people will wake up and there will be the greatest landslide in our nation’s political history.

But like I said, we don’t talk about that stuff too much. We’re here to play eight games in 15 days and try to win a gold medal. That’s keeping us pretty busy.

Boeheim did not just express a “preference,” he came right out and criticized Donald Trump, belittled Trump’s followers, insulted those who think our country can and should be doing better, and went beyond “all-in” with respect to Hillary Clinton.

Look, Boeheim can do what he pleases.  He can stay 1,000 miles from politics.  He can ride in Hillary Clinton’s campaign bus and get a tattoo of her logo on his face.  It is his life to do what he pleases.

However, he has clearly and intentionally insulted a significant portion of his fan base and the country.  He has insulted this author.  Though this article is written from the sun belt, it is written by a Syracuse fan from birth that has lived most of his life dealing with lake effect snow and scarves.  Relative to substance, although the writer of this article seriously questions the direction of our country socially, politically, and religiously… it is with good reason and far from “without reason.”

To be sure, the fairest characterization is that both candidates are demonstrative of a “sad state of affairs.”  While Donald Trump is a poor candidate, Hillary Clinton is an equally poor candidate.  The former says some really dumb things, while the latter has done some really dumb things.  And vice-versa.  Neither inspire confidence, which makes their respective nominations all the more disconcerting if you really think about it.  Although the Justice Department punted–or perhaps even “quick kicked” when comparing the explanation with the result–on the investigation into Clinton’s emails, has there ever been a major party candidate with such a history of scandal leading up to and including an FBI investigation during the campaign?

But Jim Boeheim did not say that or anything similar.  Instead, he took a clear, specific position that just so happened to insult a portion of his fan base and the country.  And, without even getting to whether he is “right” or “wrong,” Jim Boeheim has his own history of improper statements and behavior that make him a poor spokesperson on politics or morals.  Want to investigate?  How about these “sad states of affairs” involving Syracuse basketball under Boeheim:

  • Casual Hoya lists a number of arrests involving Syracuse basketball players over Boeheim’s lengthy career.  A large number of rape allegations.
  • In 1992, Syracuse was placed on probation for two years, including a one-year post-season ban from the NCAA tournament for recruiting violations.
  • Although Boeheim called the victims’ liars, the general consensus was that there was some credibility to the accusations against Boeheim’s long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine (who was ultimately terminated by Syracuse).  Boeheim has been sued for his comments.
  • In 2015, Syracuse basketball was again sanctioned by the NCAA–fairly severely–for violations of a several-year period.

Given the sexual scandals at Syracuse involving players and assistant coaches, and given Bill Clinton’s history, perhaps Boeheim and Hillary do have something in common.

Regardless, Boeheim has criticized the NCAA for sanctioning him for not knowing what was going on within the Syracuse program academically.  Boeheim has claimed to not know what was going on inside his program relative to Bernie Fine and alleged molestation of children.  Boeheim seems to have a lot on his plate keeping him from already doing his job to the fullest.  In the meantime, there is no need for him to do a “bull in the china shop” routine in the delicate, political landscape.  (Parenthetically, what did he mean by Trump “could be” running for President?  Was this article written in early 2015?).

And do we really need entertainers using their cult of personality to influence politics?  That seems to be an even sadder state of affairs.  Americans should know who to vote for without knowing how any other famous person is voting.

For now, there is no protest or significant backlash.  Boeheim has a long history of dumb statements that will cause many of his critics to move on quickly.  Many Boeheim supporters will shrug off or rationalize these comments with the same vigor that Trump’s supporters shrug off or rationalize Trump’s ill-advised statements.  The funny thing is that, in the end, isn’t this a pot criticizing a kettle?   Another sad state of affairs.

What do you think?  Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Boeheim, do you find it in poor taste for him to include that political opinion in his report from Rio?   

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N-C-A-Absurdity

The college basketball season just ended.  You knew that from your bracket.  Heck, even Ned Flanders would think a bracket is too much fun to be immoral.  But the season just ended two days ago.  And guess when the deadline is for college underclassmen to decide whether to turn pro?  Next freakin’ Tuesday, according to Syracuse.com, who laid this all out for Syracuse fans wondering what CJ Fair is going to do.

This is the timeline:

  • April 8, 2013: Championship Game
  • April 10, 2013: The deadline to apply for an assessment from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
  • April 15, 2013: The deadline to receive assessment from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
  • April 16, 2013: NCAA Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline

That’s right.  The underclassmen in the Final Four have exactly one week to decide that they are not going to make themselves eligible for the draft.  The most important decision of their respective lives, and the NCAA gives kids as little as one week to decide.  Even worse, a kid like CJ Fair can receive his “assessment” on April 15 and get a whole 24 hours to decide.  24 hours.

An NCAA apologist might say that a kid could still decide to go pro between April 16 and April 28.  However, anyone choosing to go pro during that period would give up their NCAA eligibility.  There is no chance to return to college at that point.

It gets better.  The purpose of moving up the dates to crunch this timeline was…. get ready for this… to benefit the student-athlete.  That’s right, the NCAA is actually telling the world, with a straight face presumably, that they tightened the deadlines to help kids.  The Syracuse.com article stated as follows: “The NCAA moved this date up in 2012 ‘to help keep student-athletes focused on academics in the spring term and to give coaches a better idea of their roster for the coming year before the recruiting period is closed,’ according to the organization.”  Right.  The latter part of the sentence is true, but not the former.  This has nothing to do with helping kids.

If the NCAA cared about the players, it would allow them to go all the way through the draft, see where they are drafted, and then decide whether to come back to college.  Indeed, as long as the player did not sign a contract, why should they be deemed to have lost their amateur status?  Larry Bird was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1978.  He played for Indiana State in the 1978-1979 season.  He then went pro for the 1979-1980 season, and the rest is history.  Despite the Boston Celtics holding his rights, amateur athletics did not come to a halt.  Things worked out quite well, actually.

Surely, you say, it would be improper for any current college athlete to be drafted and stay in college, right?  Well, not if you are a baseball player.  The MLB draft is set up to allow the drafting of three categories of players:

  • High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
  • College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
  • Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

A high school player that is drafted, but chooses not to sign gets to go play college baseball.  The NCAA will let him play.  For a while, as the college baseball player will not be eligible again for the MLB draft until he turns 21 or completes his junior season.  So, somehow, the NCAA allows drafted, but unsigned, baseball players to compete.  It works the same way in hockey.

So, why is there one set of rules for baseball and hockey, but a much more onerous set of rules for basketball and football?  If you are an optimist, you think it is because the NCAA makes so much money with football and basketball, that they care a lot more about keeping the amateur ranks clean.  But, if you think about it, that cannot be.  If it was only about ratings and attendance, keeping the best basketball and football players around would be even more profitable.  If you are a pessimist, you might suspect racism.  Right?  The more “white” the sport, the more likely the NCAA is to allow you to be drafted and return to college nonetheless.  At the very least, with a largely African-American sport such as basketball, the NCAA is more than willing to force kids to make a decision, one that will either be smart or terrible, in one week.  Every time a basketball player leaves early, is not drafted, and is never heard from again… it is a warning sign to others that might consider leaving early.  The NCAA will gladly ruin someone’s life to protect their cash cow.  Especially when they are ruining a young African-American male’s life.  Yes, this is a pessimistic view, all right.

Hey… if you can find a rationale for having different rules for the different sports, feel free to share it.  The Confidential would love to hear why it must be different.

Whatever the reason, it is just one more example of just how absurd the NCAA is.  But you knew that already…

 

 

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