For the second year in a row, Syracuse is pulling some shifty academic shenanigans

Patrick McDermott

James Southerland is returning from his suspension after only six games. Shocking.

UConn's hosting Syracuse on Wednesday, and if you hadn't heard, it's kind of a big deal:

Fortunately for the Orange, they'll be playing with James Southerland, one of their best players, who found out yesterday that he was once again eligible to play college basketball. Once again eligible you say? Yes, you see Southerland apparently had an issue with a term paper. You know, the type of issue that comes up when someone else writes your term paper for you. Anyway, Southerland was suspended at the start of the semester and missed six games before he presented his case to an appeals board, which eventually cleared him.

Here's a bit about that board:

According to the university's website, the student makes his or her appeal in front of a hearings panel, which consists of an equal number of instructors and students plus at least one administrator. There are usually an odd number of people on the panel.

Now far be it from to suggest anything was fishy about this, other than the fact that it seems like a process that could easily be exploited. Take for example the half of the board made up of students, which I'm sure were all thrilled to vote to make a classmate ineligible to play. I'm just guessing here, but I'd wager that this picture contains every Syracuse student who would have voted against Southerland.

Let's not forget the administrator either. I don't want to say things were shady, but I did find this reenactment of their role on the board:

If all of this sounds familiar to you, it should, because Syracuse pulled almost the same trick last year, reinstating an ineligible Fab Melo days before hosting UConn (a game Syracuse went on to win). Later that month Melo traveled to Storrs and helped the Orange steal another win from UConn thanks to an uncalled goaltend in the last minute. Then, two weeks after that, Melo was suddenly ineligible again. Stunning, I know. But hey, what do you expect, it's Syracuse.

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