Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim has launched an astonishing assault against ESPN college basketball reporter Andy Katz Wednesday night. At Boeheim's press conference after the #6 Orange were upset by Connecticut, Katz asked the coach a question about the Syracuse-UConn series and Boeheim responded by saying he wasn't going to answer it. He also included these choice words about Katz recorded by WAER:
"I'll answer anyone's question but yours because you're an idiot and really a disloyal person. And a few other things I can add, but I'm not gonna go there."
Let me pick up mouth on the floor! That's an attack you will rarely ever see from a coach to a well-known national reporter… and seemingly out of the blue as well. Although Boeheim may still hold a grudge against ESPN and Katz for reporting that goes all the way back to the Bernie Fine case, it's more likely Katz's recent reporting on ineligible Orange player James Southerland is the crux of the issue. Katz shared specifics about Southerland's academic eligibility during Wednesday night's game. Larry Brown Sports notes Fox's Peter Schrager says that's why Boeheim called Katz "disloyal"…
I'm told by "in the know" sources that Katz irked Boeheim by sharing info JB believed was off the record on the air re: James Southerland.
— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) February 14, 2013
Katz had this response in the press room according to WAER:
.@espnandykatz response to the press room crowd: last time I checked I wasn't getting paid by Syracuse U
— WAER Sports (@WAERSports) February 14, 2013
This controversy is a bit trickier of a situation than initially meets the eye. If Katz was told that information about Southerland confidentially, you can understand why the coach would be upset. That said, Katz's checks are written by ESPN, not Syracuse, and certainly not Boeheim. If Boeheim had a problem with Katz reporting something that was supposed to stay off the record, he could have handled it in a much better way. To launch such an outlandish personal attack on Katz from his bully pulpit is a terrible look for the Syracuse coach, and it's far from the first time Boeheim has overstepped with little class in this way. College coaches have enough of a problem with insane, egotistical power trips as it is without trying to intimidate and bully members of the media like Jim Boeheim.
It's a complex situation and one likely involving Katz's sources, which means we'll probably never know the full story. However, at the end of the day Andy Katz's loyalty lies with his reporting and ESPN. Not Jim Boeheim.