A post today from the most entertaining Syracuse sports blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician got us thinking about a couple of seemingly disparate things today.
First, is there any more difficult impossible charge for a college athlete to shed than that of some kind of sexual assault? Similarly, is there any more difficult impossible charge for an institution and the police to prove than that of some kind of sexual assault (eliminating the outright rapes involving DNA, of course)? Usually all that anyone can seem to agree upon is that something happened involving a player and an unnamed woman. How far that something went and whether it was consensual or a simple misunderstanding often involves convolution that would make Robin Lopez’s lafro look stick-straight in comparison.
How Twisted and Convoluted?
We can think of a couple of recent examples where the he-said/she-said repartee ultimately resulted in a slightly uncomfortable exoneration of a player’s name, where everyone sorta shrugs their shoulders, looks around and wonders exactly what the hell happened while simultaneously hoping that it doesn’t impact next year’s team. Kentucky’s Chuck Hayes is but one example. Kansas’ Sherron Collins another. Need we even mention Kobe Bean’s douche d’amour in Eagle, CO? And now we encounter the trio of Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson, each of whom was accused of playing a role in a sexual assault on the Syracuse campus last fall. Flynn is arguably Cuse’s top returning player, and Jardine/Jackson are both contributors whose roles should increase next season.
Come On Ladies, It Was Only a Kiss…
Reading through the grand jury account (filtered through the Syracuse Post-Standard’s news report) is a lot like watching hockey on tv – you know the puck is down there somewhere, but you can’t really follow it until it hits something. Depending on who you ask, the accuser is a) not seeking criminal prosecution; b) seeking criminal prosecution; c) is no longer claiming she was a victim of sexual assault; d) is claiming that she was a victim of sexual assault; e) being treated as a pawn amongst her mother and the university. In other words, about as clear as Mudd.
Ultimately there was a grand jury proceeding, and the accuser testified at the hearing. She must have apparently been laughed out of the room due to the fact that, according to the old legal adage that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich, the accuser’s story did not rise to ham sandwich level. According to Troy Nunes, Syracuse University will continue with its own internal disciplinary proceedings in this matter (on what evidence, we’d love to hear).
Juli Needs to Put the Screws to Jim Again
The other thing that this post got us thinking about was Jim Boeheim’s program in general. We’ve a notion that Boeheim should be called Mail It In-heim for the way he’s been handling the Orange in the years since his only Carmelo-led championship. With his hot MILF wife and his secure ring finger, does Jimmy B. have the drive to push beyond mediocrity anymore (we were going to compare him to Gary Williams at Maryland, but realized quickly that GW deserves his own category of underachievement)?
Three of Boeheim’s eleven 10+ loss seasons in 32 years as a head coach have come in the last three years (12, 11, and 14 losses, respectively). Last year’s 14 losses were the most for a Jim Boeheim-coached team EVER.
Before last year, the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons were the last period where Syracuse had not gone to the NCAAs in consecutive years. (granted, Cuse got screwed royally in 2006-07, but they were still a bubble team) It could have been three in a row if not for G-Mac’s miraculous Big East Tourney title run in 2006.
In fact, Syracuse hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2004, its longest streak of such misery since prior to Boeheim’s arrival in 1976.
Boeheim’s winning percentage from 1976-2003 is .743. His percentage from 2004-present is .694, and that includes four bogus NIT wins played in the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome.
Honestly, the only highlights of the last five seasons since the national championship were the 2005 and 2006 Big East Tournament titles. That’s great and all, but it’s not how Syracuse basketball built its name (both of those were Cinderella runs).
Perhaps this is old news for Syracuse faithful, but it really surprised us when we took a look at the numbers. With an eligible Jonny Flynn and Paul Harris in addition to a healthy Eric Devendorf, there is potential for Syracuse to break its stranglehold on an NIT bid this season; but we’re not sure that Boeheim is getting as much from his players as he once did. We’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on upstate New York this year.