Syracuse forward James Southerland has been suspended indefinitely for “eligibility issues.” It’s rumored that his suspension is due to academic issues, most likely from the fall semester. If that’s the case, this is a remarkably similar scenario to that of Fab Melo last season. Melo ended up leaving the team and being drafted by the Boston Celtics.
Southerland, a senior, was averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds for the sevent-ranked Orange. But I’m sure they won’t miss their second-leading scorer and one of their best three-point shooters.
Southerland also doesn’t have the same draft prospects Melo did in 2012, so this could do far more damage to his career.
The suspension could have come at a better time for Syracuse. Though they do have an entire week to prepare, their next two games are against seventh-ranked Louisville and 21st ranked Cincinnati. And that’s just in the short term. The Orange are currently first in the Big East and 16-1 overall.
If Southerland is academically ineligible, as is being rumored, then he has achieved something very difficult in today’s NCAA. Sure, UConn and other schools have laughably sad academic ratings, even they still provide an army of tutors, academic specialists, and other help for every scholarship athlete. For anyone on scholarship to be ineligible is pretty impressive. Especially since Southerland is a senior and has spent the previous three years being academically eligble.
It’s important not to speculate on what’s going on in his life or assume that he has definitely been suspended for academics, but if that IS the case, well done, sir. Well done.