"Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case, the simpler one is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is."
-- Occam's Razor
In recent days, hot takes and over the top extremes have been written regarding Jim Boeheim and his standing with the Syracuse basketball program. Whether it's Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated writing that keeping Boeheim means SU is putting more importance on the bottom line than academic integrity or Chris Chase of Fox Sports writing a deep master manipulation behind the scenes.
Sorry conspiracy theorists and hot takers, but the simplest explanation is what holds here. Refer back to Occam's Razor above. The more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is.
Now look at the situation surrounding Mike Hopkins departure and Syracuse's extension of Jim Boeheim. The conspiracy theories all involve a lot of assumptions and often go to extremes that do not fit with reality.
At the joint press conference on Monday, Athletics Director John Wildhack and Jim Boeheim offered a timeline of events. Saturday afternoon, an emotional Hopkins informed his mentor he was leaving the school for which he was supposed to take over in 12 months time for another job. One out west to coach at his father's alma mater.
Shortly after that conversation, Hopkins called Wildhack to break the news. Wildhack was in Connecticut, support the women's basketball program's efforts in the NCAA Tournament. He received the call, according to his side of things, while out at a Chick-Fil-A with his family.
Wildhack immediately returned to Syracuse and started working on the next step for the program. It was determined that retaining Boeheim was the best move for continuity and the basketball program as a whole. But it not quite as simple as a decision.
So as fans and media alike were wondering why such a delay in Syracuse's response to the late Sunday morning news of Hopkins departure, clarity was given in state timeline.
Referring back to the original point here, the timeline is simple. Washington offers Hopkins the job on Saturday. Hopkins accepts and informs both Boeheim and Wildhack. After taking the appropriate University and legal steps, Boeheim agrees to an extension and an announcement is made.
A much simpler explanation than a master manipulation over the course of months and years by Boeheim. A manipulation of his bosses and a close friend who he has mentored for more than two decades.
The conspiracy theories will no doubt continue, and many will choose to believe that explanation rather than the simple one that fits with the timeline of events as they actually took place. So as they are offered, consider the following.
If Boeheim had been manipulating and orchestrating his return beyond the 2017-18 season, would it have taken so long to get the extension in place along with the retention of key assistants? Would Wildhack have been in another state, having to scramble to drive back to Central New York and organize an impromptu board meeting? Or do those situations both suggest this caught Boeheim, Wildhack and Syracuse University by surprise?
Which makes the most sense? Sometimes, it is the simplest explanation.