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Prompted by the book, the Syracuse Post-Standard conducted an investigation that resulted in a series of articles in December alleging that Syracuse players had accepted cash, gifts, free legal advice and rental-car discounts from boosters, including a close friend of Boeheim's, Syracuse car dealer Bill Rapp Jr.
The Orangemen's woes mounted last Friday, on the eve of a game at Notre Dame, when Syracuse, as the result of an in-house investigation begun in the wake of the Post-Standard series, declared seven players ineligible because of possible violations of NCAA rules. The woes were eased slightly when the NCAA reinstated the players three hours later. Boeheim said that the possible violations included an instance of his watching Orangemen star Billy Owens, then a recruit, play pickup ball at a time when coaches were prohibited from evaluating talent, and another of guard Dave Johnson and center LeRon Ellis living rent free for a week in the home of booster Joseph Gianuzzi.
Because the NCAA determined that the players had not "willfully" broken rules, Owens, Ellis et al. were cleared to fly to South Bend to avert what figured to be a nationally televised mismatch. "Petty stuff," said Owens after the Orange's 70-69 win. Taken individually the infractions may seem petty, but together they suggest a disturbing pattern. The investigation is ongoing, and more revelations are likely.
On top of everything else, in recent weeks basketball recruit Wilfred Kirkaldy and Dave Johnson have been implicated in separate cases of alleged sexual misconduct. As his program was spinning out of control, Boeheim seemed to want to pin the blame elsewhere. When Irish fans taunted Johnson about the incident in which he was involved, Boeheim complained, "I didn't notice much Catholic charity."
Last week Syracuse disassociated itself from Gianuzzi. But Rapp is still Syracuse's official scorer at away games. Boeheim apparently sees no evil in this. In fact, he seems reluctant to assume responsibility for the ills of his program. Last week, as the embarrassments piled up, he told SI's William F. Reed that Raw Recruits "started the whole thing."
Once again, Boeheim was blaming the messengers for the message.
A Real Hazard
The prize money in last week's PGA Tour event, the Bob Hope Desert Classic in Palm Springs, was $1.1 million, but the pressure of playing in that tournament was nothing compared to that of playing in the $88,000 Zimbabwe Open, held recently at the Chapman Club in Harare, Zimbabwe. It seems that a six-foot-long-and growing-crocodile named Cuthbert lives in the water off the 6th hole, and Cuthbert has been known to make unexpected appearances on the golf course.
"We've tried to catch it, without success," says Roger Baylis, the Chapman Club's leaching professional. "It could now take a small dog, but not yet a man. We told the players it wouldn't bother them, but I'm not sure some of them believed me." In Zimbabwe, crocodiles are also known as flat dogs or, more whimsically, handbags. Of course, nobody laughs when he loses a ball in the water on the 6th hole, and none of the caddies at the club dare to retrieve it.