Syracuse Basketball & The Life & Times of The NCAA

December 27, 2011
by Justin

If you’ve read ScoutMe’s As the College Football World Turns, you should know one thing; when it comes to drama or any movement in college sports, you can depend on the @HempsteadHuddle to bring you the juicy details. Welcome back to The Bold and the Basketball, your top-tier source for the drama, along with new rules and regulations in college basketball that you should know about. The first week’s article was about the Syracuse and AAU sexual misconduct scandals. This week will update you about the Syracuse scandal and the changes the NCAA will implement for the compensation of its student athletes, along with new rules for athletic scholarships.


Syracuse Basketball

This year in amateur sports has been filled with scandal after scandal; from Penn State to AAU basketball, scandal has caught several headlines. Syracuse Coach, Bernie Fine, along with the whole Syracuse Basketball program was put under America’s microscope, when he was accused of sexual misconduct with former ball boys, Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, who are now adults. Syracuse’s Head Coach and Olympic basketball assistant Jim Boeheim, came to his friend’s defense, calling Fine’s accusers liars.


After the initial allegations were made public, another person claimed to have been molested by Fine in 2002 and shortly thereafter on November 27, 2011, it was announced that Syracuse University Chancellor, Nancy Cantor, had fired basketball coach Bernie Fine. It turns out that his goose was cooked after ESPN released of a 2002 phone conversation between one of the former Syracuse basketball ball boys, Bobby Davis, and Fine’s wife Laurie. The tape confirmed that Laurie knew about her husband’s behavior, but felt incapable of stopping it.


Because these incidents occurred over 10 years ago, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick indicated that the statute of limitations wouldn’t permit any action. On December 14, 2011, former ball boys Bobby Davis and Michael Lang sued for defamation of character. This civil suit could cost the university up to $50 million dollars. Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim has been named in the lawsuit for openly assuming Lang and Davis were just attempting to receive compensation and destroy his program’s credibility. Legal experts expect the case to be thrown out or settled outside the court. Nevertheless, this is black eye on the Syracuse program.


NCAA Approves Scholarship Stipend Increase & Scholarship Changes 

On October 27, the NCAA approved a stipend increase for student athletes, in an attempt to eliminate the propensity for athletes to seek payments outside of their school’s jurisdiction. It was unclear whether the increase will only be for the larger, more profitable sports like football, but most likely, there will be an increase across the board. This movement seems to be a direct reaction to situations like the Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor scadals, who both were beneficiaries of compensation the NCAA deemed unlawful. The new stipend will reportedly be up to $2,000 and is supposed to cover the full cost of attendance. By full cost of attendance, the NCAA calculated that the $2,000 dollar stipend would cover student athletes’ expenses outside of the classroom, like food and miscellaneous expenses. Some of the officials at the larger universities thought the total amount should have been higher.


The NCAA board also approved a measure that will give individual schools the authority to award scholarships on a multiple-year basis. The current model allows for scholarships to be renewed yearly, and permits the NCAA institution to revoke the scholarship for any reason. If adopted, NCAA member schools could guarantee scholarships for the player’s entire career and would be unable to revoke it based solely on athletic performance. According to the NCAA and ESPN, scholarships could still be pulled for reasons such as poor grades, academic misconduct or other forms of improper behavior.


According to ESPN, Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany said studies have shown the average athlete pays roughly $3,000 to $4,000 out of his or her own pocket in college costs. I for one can attest to that fact. This stipend is music to my ears, and hopefully will cause a positive shift in NCAA sports. Check back next week for another installment of The Bold and the Basketball. Until then, this is Yorick Hempstead signing off.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.

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