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Boeheim's retirement is set, so what does that mean for Orange basketball?

via Flickr
Syracuse University men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim, center. Mike Hopkins, Boeheim's assistant and presumed heir, is to the right.

The career of basketball coach Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University now has an end date, with his announced retirement coming in the aftermath of an NCAA investigation into his program.

The university saysBoeheim’sretirement in three years will bring certainty to the program and allow for "a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership," Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote in an open letter.

All eyes are on Mike Hopkins, Boeheim’s assistant, who has long been viewed as the heir to the Orange sideline.

Mike McAllister, who blogs about S.U. sports at CuseNation, says the Syracuse program will still be a major institution in college basketball without Boeheim.

"Syracuse is still a brand people are going to recognize and assuming Hopkins can step in and keep things going," he said. "I don’t think you’ll see much of an impact in terms of the quality of player they’re recruiting."

The three years also allows time for people to move on from this scandal before the Boeheim retirement party begins. McAllister says this investigation doesn’t tarnish the coach’s legacy.

"If you look at the rest of the fan base, I think largely it doesn’t really impact where things stand. And I think his farewell tour will be a largely positive one both at home and on the road," said McAllister.

Hopkins would have a void to fill as he coaches a basketball team playing on Jim Boeheim Court in the Carrier Dome.

"I think he'll be remembered fondly, especially in Syracuse, but there will be an understanding that he wasn't perfect and he was who he was," added Sean Keeley creator of the Nunes Magician blog and an author about Orange sports.

Boeheim has never publicly shown himself to be one that cares much about legacy, even with four decades as coach of the Orange, but he’s still a Hall of Fame coach with a national championship and more than 800 wins.

For alleged rule violations in the basketball program that took place over a decade, the NCAA is stripping Boeheim of more than 100 victories and suspending him for nine conference games. The university is appealing.

The college sports governing body is also reducing the basketball team's allotted scholarships and the number of recruiters it's allowed to employ.

Keeley says by giving Boeheim a three-year timeline to retire by, it covers the school's ability to get the house in order, but sends a message that Boeheim is no longer free to do as he pleases.

"It's a way for everybody to come out of this feeling good about the situation," said Keeley.

A fall guy?

Boeheim is not the only person leaving a job in the wake of the NCAA finding a pattern of poor control and academic fraud within the athletic program. As S.U. sports watchers predicted, Daryl Gross is stepping down immediately as athletic director.

Gross is not leaving the university. He's sliding into a role as a vice president and advisor to chancellor, working from the school's sports management program.

Peter Sala, an associate athletics director that manages the Carrier Dome, will serve as interim athletic director. Floyd Little, a special assistant in the athletics department, will counsel and assist Sala.

Gross was not the "fall guy" in this scandal, contends Rick Burton, the university’s faculty representative to the NCAA.

"We as a university, we collectively, we as one university own the responsibility of our actions," Burton said in an interview. "The fact that coach Boeheim is staying on to continue coaching and the fact that Dr. Gross is not staying on to be the athletic director is a function of their discussions and decisions with the chancellor."

 Boeheim is 70 years old and was nearing retirement. He became an iconic figure within the university community. But his retirement date is one move he’s not making entirely on his own.