Monday, September 19, 2011

Jim Boeheim seems like he would be fun to go out drinking with

Jim Boeheim is nothing if he's not frank.

The man tells it like it is. He's not afraid of laying into a writer or making fun of a question he gets asked at a press conference. Twice last season, we dedicated an entire post to a gem of a Boeheim press conference. And who can forget this epic rant about Gerry McNamara being overrated.

The fans and the writers that are unaware of Boeheim's quotable tendencies got a face full of it this afternoon when Jon Solomon, a writer for The Birmingham News, was present for the Syracuse coach's speech at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham.

"If conference commissioners were the founding fathers of this country, we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States," Boeheim said. "This audience knows why we are doing this. There's two reasons: Money and football."

And it only got better from there.

"We're going to end up with mega conferences," Boeheim said, "and 10 years from now either I'm going to be dead wrong -- and I'll be the first to admit it -- or everybody is going to be like, why did we do this again? Why is Alabama playing Texas A&M this week and going to Texas Tech next weekend? And why is Syracuse going to Miami in basketball this week and next week they're going to play Florida State?"

Is he the only person in college athletics with any kind of sense? It appears that way. Boeheim also had plenty to say about the money that will be made by the schools, although he did stop short of saying that the players that earn all of that money never see a dime.

"It's interesting because 30 years ago schools made X amount of money," he said. "Twenty years ago, they made 2X. Ten years ago, they made 4X. Now they're going to make 6X. And you know what? They're going to end up breaking even, just like they did 30 years ago."

"At the end of the day, there's a school with a billion-dollar budget and they're talking about making an extra $4 million. What does that really mean when your school's budget is a billion dollars? It's just what has happened. People feel like they have to get these mega conferences. Whether they're right or wrong, we won't know for a while."

Boeheim did say that there would "be some heartbreak" over losing longstanding rivalries and conference affiliations with some of the other programs that founded the Big East -- he used St. John's and Georgetown by name. But his biggest concern -- playing a conference tournament in Greensboro?

"It's a great place for a tournament," he said in regards to the potential for the ACC to hold their tournament in Madison Square Garden. "Where would you want to go to to a tournament for five days? Let's see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you."

You think this guy wants to see the Cuse leave the Big East?

And since you can never leave a gold mine untapped, Solomon ended his piece with a quote from Boeheim where he said John Calipari and Rick Pitino aren't on the same level as Bob Knight but think they are.

Good luck, ACC scribes. Be aware of what awaits you.

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