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Critics Question Dick Vitale's Bias After Lengthy On-Air Defense Of Jim Boeheim

Critics Question Dick Vitale's Bias After Lengthy On-Air Defense Of Jim Boeheim

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NCAA sanctions will force Boeheim out of nine ACC contests next season
Dick Vitale during ESPN's telecast of the Virginia-Louisville college basketball game on Saturday night "went on a spirited, nearly two-minute defense" of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, according to Hank Domin of the Syracuse POST-STANDARD. Boeheim on Friday was suspended by the NCAA for nine ACC games next season, while the program will vacate 108 wins. Vitale said, "Jim Boeheim was guilty of one thing: trust. He had trust in his people, trust in his boosters from the YMCA, and they really violated that trust. They laid cash on some players. Jim Boeheim was not aware they were getting cash. If he was, trust me, he would have done something." He added, "I know Jim Boeheim, and people who label him a cheater, should be fired, absolutely is a joke. ... Syracuse deserved punishment -- they definitely did for some of the things they did. But for what (the NCAA) did to Jim Boeheim, I think has really been sad, and I think you're going to see an appeal process by him. What about the millions he's raised for cancer?" Domin noted Boeheim will be "among those honored in May during the Dick Vitale Gala that raises money for pediatric cancer" (SYRACUSE.com, 3/8). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes Vitale "went a little too far" in his comments about Boeheim. Because of the "conflict" created by Boeheim's ties to the pediatric cancer event, Vitale "probably should have stayed clear of commenting on the Boeheim situation" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/9). In Spokane, Vince Grippi wrote, "My ears nearly [bled] having to listen to Dick Vitale tie the English language in knots attempting to defend Jim Boeheim -- note to Dicky V: just because Boeheim does a lot of charity work, and he does, doesn't mean he didn't break a bunch of NCAA rules" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 3/8).

TWITTER REAX: Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg wrote, "Dick Vitale's inability to separate Jim Boeheim's philanthropy and Jim Boeheim's responsibilities as a head coach is troublesome." The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore: "Dick Vitale ranting about how Jim Boeheim isn't a cheater because he didn't know. 1) He should have known. 2) I've got a bridge to sell you." USA Today's Dan Wolken: "Dick Vitale is consistent. Give him that." Sports blog Rush the Court: "Vitale needs to separate Boeheim the coach from Boeheim the philanthropist or whatever else he's referring to here."

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