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Suspension of Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim upheld, will start sooner than expected

Suspension of Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim upheld, will start sooner than expected
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim yells to his players during a game against Wisconsin on Wednesday. (Nick Lisi / Associated Press)

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim still will have to serve a nine-game suspension for violations that happened under his watch, but he won't have to wait until his team begins its ACC schedule against Pittsburgh on Dec. 30.

Instead, Boeheim's suspension starts ... now!

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Well, actually it starts two days from now, when the Orange takes on Georgetown, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee ruled Thursday while upholding the rest of Boeheim's suspension.

Still, that's not much time for the team to prepare for his absence, the 71-year-old Boeheim told ESPN on Thursday.

"They gave us two days' notice," Boeheim said. "If they were going to do this, why not six weeks ago? We'd been preparing to use the next few games and practices to prepare the coaching staff for what was going to happen. Now we have less than two days. It's less than ideal. The players are in class. I can't pull them out of class. They're going to know from the public before they hear it from me."

Assistant Coach Mike Hopkins will take over after midnight Saturday, when Boeheim no longer is allowed to have contact with his team. His first game back will be Jan. 9 against North Carolina.

An NCAA investigation concluded in March found violations of academic misconduct, extra benefits and the university's drug-testing policy.

"The Appeals Committee determined that the NCAA Committee on Infractions 'abused its discretion' by directing the suspension be served during conference play, because Coach Boeheim was not directly involved in the underlying violations of the case," Syracuse Senior Vice President Kevin Quinn said in a statement Thursday.

"The University is pleased the Appeals Committee recognized that the initial sanction imposed on Coach Boeheim was too harsh. Nevertheless, we supported Coach Boeheim's argument made during his hearing that any nine-game suspension would be too severe based on previous cases, and his lack of involvement in the underlying conduct, which the Appeals Committee recognized."

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