If you’ve filled out your brackets and you had Syracuse going to the Final Four or even the Final Eight or 16 for that matter, you might want to retrieve your sheets, feed them to the shredder and start over.
Because for the second time this season center Fab Melo has been declared ineligible, meaning he won’t play a single second in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Meaning SU’s hopes for a trip to New Orleans and a possible national title are over.
As we learned during Melo’s mid-season three-game hiatus – allegedly because of academic problems – the Orangemen are a good but not great team without the 7-foot Brazilian in the middle. Fab is the shot-blocker and shot-alterer who anchors the tenacious 2-3 zone that has propelled SU to a 31-2 record.
His ineligibility clearly is a crushing blow for second-ranked Syracuse and another black eye against the program in a season full of black eyes.
It all started, of course, with the sexual child molestation scandal involving Bernie Fine back in November.
Then there was the defamation suit brought against Jim Boeheim for the insensitive comments he made initially against Fine’s accusers.
That was followed by Melo’s first suspension.
Then came allegations that SU allowed players who failed drug tests during the past decade to continue practicing and playing games.
And now this.
The cumulative impact of these events clearly has tarnished the reputation of the program and of Boeheim. They have given the impression there is a lack of institutional control.
I’ve grown weary of it.
And I wonder when the powers-that-be at SU grow weary of it, too.
The Hall of Fame coach needs to rein in things in a hurry.
He needs to take a more hands-on approach.
Either that, or step aside and allow someone else to take charge because this is absurd.