bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Jim Boeheim and Syracuse smacked by the NCAA

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Have you ever disliked a public figure but not been sure why you felt that way? It happens to me all the time. I am a person of strong opinions, and that often leads to strong feelings in both directions. In sports, there are guys of whom I am a huge fan and there are guys that I despise. One of those on my bad list is Jim Boeheim, the head basketball coach at Syracuse. I have always disliked him, but never had a really solid reason for it. Until now, that is.

On Friday, the NCAA ended a multi-year investigation into Syracuse athletics by releasing a report that showed a program run amok. I have been highly critical of the NCAA in recent years, much of which was related to the Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State and the ridiculous way it was handled by the college sports governing body. The main issue there was that the matter was completely outside of the NCAA’s jurisdiction and should have been treated as such. In the Syracuse case, this stuff is exactly what they are supposed to be policing. I can’t imagine why it took eight years for them to complete this investigation, but that’s a different story.

Boeheim was found to have “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.” The report said he had numerous people that reported to him whose activities he failed to monitor. The penalties handed down were pretty severe. The program will lose three scholarships a year over the next four years, which is a large number for a basketball team. Over 100 victories have been vacated and wiped from the record books. The team is also inelgible for the postseason this year, although I think they got off easy with that one. They aren’t that good right now anyway, so missing the tournament this year doesn’t mean all that much. There were other smaller sanctions as well, including Boeheim being suspended for the first nine conference games next season.

I know that stuff like this happens all over college sports. Benefits and money were provided to players and recruits, the school’s drug policy was not enforced, coursework was forged by staffers, and numerous other underhanded things were happening. I am still waiting for the NCAA to hammer North Carolina, which looks to be worse than all of them, as far as players taking fake classes and receiving other impermissible benefits.

Boeheim has a face that you just want to punch. The picture in the linked article is what he looks like all the time, or at least when he is not whining and yelling. He has had great success as a coach, but he has also had some spectacular failures in the NCAA Tournament. A couple of years ago, when one of his assistant coaches was being accused of having molested some students around the program, Boeheim took the opportunity to take a swipe at Joe Paterno, suggesting that the Penn State coach had covered up for Sandusky and that he himself was doing no such thing for Fine. Paterno did not cover anything up, and yes, Jim Boeheim, you’re not Joe Paterno. You’re a cheater.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Earlier this season, the Penn State basketball team was the victim of just an unbelievably bad call when one of it players was called for an offensive foul for being yanked to the ground by an opposing player. Coach Pat Chambers was fined for justifiably ripping the officials after the game. This week, though, virtually the same thing happened. D.J. Newbill, the star guard for the Nittany Lions, was the recipient of the atrocious officiating this time. Newbill was shoved out of the way by an Ohio State player as both men trailed Penn State forward Ross Travis, who was headed in for a layup. Somehow, the foul was called on Newbill. Watch the video.

3) In this week’s example of sports homophobia, Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets felt it necessary to tell a New Jersey website that he “disagrees with the lifestyle” of Billy Bean, a former MLB player who is gay and is touring spring training sites as the league’s “ambassador for inclusion.” As you might expect, Murphy’s disagreement is due to his “trying to surrender to Christ in my own life.” I am so confused by the concept of “disagreeing” with someone else’s life. If people said they disagreed with Murphy’s religious lifestyle, I imagine he would be shocked and appalled at the very idea.

4) Larry Donnell, a tight end for the New York Giants, was one of the people on that plane that skidded off the runway after trying to land at LaGuardia in a snow storm on Thursday. He was not injured, but that had to be scary.

5) Much has been made over the years of Tiger Woods’ bad behavior in front of fans, including cursing and throwing clubs. Well, it appears that golf’s new golden boy, Rory McIlroy, is not above such behavior as well. On the eighth hole at Doral on Friday for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, he hooked a shot into the water and promptly heaved his club into the water after it.

6) Chris Johnson, the running back who most recently played for the New York Jets, was shot in the shoulder early Sunday morning in Orlando. It was a drive-by shooting, and the driver of the car Johnson was riding in was killed.

7) A top football recruit who recently committed to Oklahoma reversed his decision on Monday in the wake of an awful video that surfaced last week involving a bunch of fraternity kids singing a virulently racist song on a bus.

Good sports:

1) Jim Harbaugh, now the head football coach at Michigan, stopped to help two women whose car had flipped over on an interstate in Michigan last Tuesday. He performed first aid and stayed with them until police came.

2) Score a crazy-looking soccer goal and you have a good chance at getting a mention in BSGS. Check out the video of this buzzer-beater in a high school game in Texas from last Tuesday.

3)Notre Dame and UMass played the longest hockey game in Division 1 history on Friday night. UMass eventually won the marathon game in five overtimes, 4-3.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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