Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim hadn’t spoken on the long-ranging FBI college basketball investigation, one that saw several assistant coaches involved and which eventually led to the firing of Louisville’s Rick Pitino.
On Friday evening, though, the media finally heard what the longtime Orange head man had to say, nearly a month after first news of the incident broke.
Boeheim was primarily adamant about the fact that Nike, which has a sponsorship with the school, was not involved in providing financial incentives for a recruit to select a specific program over another. His point was that it would not have made sense for the company to do so because Nike is involved with so many other schools nationally.
I think the thing with the shoe companies, there’s always been some involvement…It doesn’t happen with Nike. Nike has about 80 schools. The guys we’re recruiting, we’re recruiting against three or four Nike schools most of the time. (Nike) isn’t going to help one of those schools.
The fact that the findings of the investigation centered on assistant coaches was “a surprise to me…(and) everybody,” Boeheim said.
There’s always been outside influences in terms of shoe companies or agents, but it’s the first time, I think, that there was found to be involvement of assistant coaches. That’s troubling. That’s not what we need in our game…Obviously, it’s a difficult time. That’s what it is. A very difficult time.
As far as reform measures in the wake of the scandal, Boeheim is against the NCAA’s proposal to limit coaches’ involvement in recruiting players that may play over the summer.
Kids are still going to play AAU basketball. They may not play quite as much if we’re not there, but my guess is, if their summer comes and there’s a weekend tournament in Atlanta and then a weekend tournament in Vegas or California or wherever…if we’re not there, who will be there?
I’ve found a lot of players in the summer time when I can go out that we would have never recruited. Hakim Warrick’s the biggest one, but there have been others, too.
Syracuse opens its season November 10 against Cornell.
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