College basketball season ends in early April with the Final Four. However, this offseason has been anything but quiet in college hoops. And we’re not talking about coaching changes, impact freshman, breakout players or even the top 25. Nope, we’re talking about scandals. And recently, a few top name programs from the ACC have been behind the biggest scandals of them all. We’ve already talked about Larry Brown and his SMU scandal, so I won’t divulge into that too much. But three legendary coaches at three legendary schools are under fire for all kinds of violations.
The first school under attack is The University of North Carolina. UNC is one of the top five most historic basketball schools in the country. Their rivalry with Duke is one of the best in any sport at any level. But instead of people talking about how they tied with Kentucky for the number one spot on the coach’s top 25 pre-season poll, we’re talking about a scandal that goes beyond men’s basketball. The women’s basketball team is also under investigation, as is the men’s soccer team at UNC.The scandal revolves around questionable classes that the student athletes took. The allegations don’t sound too bad compared to other allegations other schools have faced, but when people realize how unfair the NCAA is to athletes, its a bit picky. The NCAA is the same company (because let’s be realistic, it’s a company) that doesn’t let players receive anything from anyone, but they make millions, maybe even billions, off of these kids. Anyways, the suspected violations went on for 18 years. In that span, the men’s basketball team, coached by Roy Williams, won two national tittles, in 2005 and 2009. The potential penalties don’t seem to be affecting the Tarheels off the court as they bring back every key member of the team from last year outside J.P Tokoto, and they didn’t lose anyone to transfers. The Tarheels likely won’t have to face any penalties this year, as new information is still coming out about the scandal, but either way, the general consensus is that this will be swept under the rug.
The next program thats looking pretty spotty at the moment is the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball program. The punishment handed out to Jim Boeheim and his squad is much more intense than the potential ones UNC faces. Boeheim and his program have been hammered with many violations, including loss of recruits, past wins and Boeheim himself getting suspended for a portion of the season for not reporting violations to the NCAA. Syracuse will lose 12 scholarships over the next four years. Among the violations are players receiving improper benefits, academic misconduct and not enforcing the schools drug policy. The school will have to pay over 1 million dollars back to the NCAA for the improper benefits. The main player involved in the academic misconduct is Fab Melo, who played for the school in 2011-2012. During Boeheim’s time at the helm, many players tested positive for illicit and illegal drugs, but were not disciplined for it. The NCAA will also remove 108 wins from Boeheim’s record as a result of the violations. Boeheim will also be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-2016 season, which is the same punishment handed to Larry Brown at SMU. However, Boeheim will miss ACC Conference games and is appealing to miss games in the beginning stages of the season. The NCAA will not strip the school of its National Championship in 2003, where Carmelo Anthony led the Orange to the title. Syracuse will feel the affect of these penalties for a long time.
The newest hot topic in college basketball takes place in Kentucky. No, it’s not Calipari, who has a history of violating NCAA rules, but instead it’s Kentucky’s biggest in-state rival, Louisville. This scandal still involves a legendary coach in Rick Pitino. Louisville’s allegations are extreme and quite embarrassing for a program with normally high standards. Louisville is accused of throwing recruits excessive parties will strippers among things like that. At least five former players have come forward and said they were involved. The news hit like a tidal wave and has been all the news on sports media. Pitino’s future is in question, even though earlier today he said he would not resign from his duties as head coach. Now the question remains, will he be fired? It all depends on if Pitino knew about these meetings and parties. Will players leave the program because of these reports? Louisville still signed a recruit a few days ago after the story broke out. The future of Louisville basketball and Rick Pitino’s future remains in a delicate state of balance.
These programs are usually known for their NBA stars and consistently showing up in March Madness. Each program has legendary coaches who are well respected in basketball. The tides have turned on each of these programs and coaches. Instead of being looked at as great places for athletes to continue their careers, they’ll be remembered for their scandals. It’s not just these programs, however. Instances like this happen all the time at schools with less prestige so they don’t make headlines. The NCAA has an epidemic of cheating on their hands. Whether it’s their fault for having too strict of rules or the schools faults for negligence, something needs to be done to change it.