Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim does not believe that the NCAA violations for which his program was given a five-year probation were committed intentionally, and maintains that the Orange did not gain a competitive advantage, reports Dan Wolken of USA Today.
Boeheim said that he was not happy with the term ‘cheating’ being used to describe the actions of his team, drawing the line a between cheating and rule breaking.
Syracuse was found responsible for violations over a 10-year period, including impermissible benefits for two basketball players related to volunteer work at a YMCA and ignoring its own drug testing policy.
Boeheim was suspended for nine games this season for “failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.”
"When they say cheating, that's not true; rules are being broken is a lot different," Boeheim said. "Cheating to me is intentionally doing something. You want to get this recruit and you arrange a job for him; you went to see him when you shouldn't; you call him when you shouldn't to get an advantage in recruiting to get a really good player. That's cheating."
Boeheim said that he regrets the circumstances that drew the scrutiny of the NCAA, but seemed to disagree with the punishment handed down.
“When rules are violated there should be a punishment,” Boeheim said. “You can always disagree with how an interpretation is made by a committee in this case, that's different from this case, that's different from this case over here. That's one of the problems. It's an imperfect system.”
The Orange will play top-seeded North Carolina in the Final Four on Saturday.