Thursday 1 December 2022
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NCAA: SU did not Control Athletics Program

SU_basketball“Over the course of a decade, Syracuse University did not control and monitor its athletics programs, and its head men’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program,” the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said in a statement, following an eight-year long investigation into the SU’s athletic program.

The NCAA said it has found the school guilty of several violations, including academic misconduct, extra benefits for athletes, and an improper drug-testing policy, beginning in the year 2001.

CNY Vision published an article regarding the allegations surrounding the program in 2013, which included allegations of possible collusion between Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, and other officials at the school.

One of the main infractions the NCAA found in its recent report happened in 2012, when, according to officials, SU’s former director of basketball operations Stan Kissel, and a men’s basketball receptionist, violated ethical conduct rules, by giving former university basketball star Fab Melo improper academic assistance at the school.

The NCAA said a part-time SU tutor also committed academic fraud, from 2005 to 2007, on behalf of three football players at the school, by giving the students academic credit for misrepresented work.

Specifically, the NCAA committee addressed its concern about academic integrity in its decision.

“Improper institutional involvement and influence in a student’s academic work in order to gain or maintain eligibility is a violation of NCAA rules, and a violation of the most fundamental core values of the NCAA and higher education,” the committee wrote. “The behavior in this case, which placed the desire to achieve success on the basketball court over academic integrity, demonstrated clearly misplaced institutional priorities.”

Additionally, the NCAA said it found evidence of staff and student booster relationships, including payments from YMCA employee Jeff Cornish in Oneida County, as well as the school’s failure to stop several basketball athletes who tested positive for marijuana from playing throughout the years.

As a result, the NCAA handed down the following sanctions to the school, not including those self-imposed by the university:

• Five years of probation;

• Vacation of wins in which ineligible students participated;

• Fine of $500 per contest played by ineligible students;

• The school must return to the NCAA all funds it has received, to date, through the former Big East Conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament;

• A nine conference game suspension for head basketball coach Jim Boeheim;

• Reduction of three men’s basketball scholarships per year for four years;

• And, men’s basketball recruiting restrictions for two years.

In addition, the NCAA said it has accepted the school’s one-year postseason ban in men’s basketball, which the school self-imposed after the NCAA hearing.

SU Chancellor Kent Syverud released the following statement, in part, regarding the decision:

“We believe the NCAA’s investigation of Syracuse University has taken longer than any other investigation in NCAA history. The entire process has taken close to eight years, and involved a review of conduct dating back to 2001. By comparison, the investigation into the fixing of the 1919 World Series took two months, and the 2007 investigation of steroid use in baseball took 21 months.

The university, and the NCAA, devoted massive resources to this process. Hundreds of thousands of documents were reviewed, hundreds of interviews were conducted, and thousands of hours of human capital were expended.

Syracuse University cooperated throughout the investigation, and its length is a product of decisions we made separately and together. Nevertheless, when I became Chancellor in 2014, I concluded that the process had gone on long enough, and it needed to reach a prompt conclusion. We have worked hard with the NCAA during the last year to complete this matter, and we have done so.

Syracuse University did not and does not agree with all the conclusions reached by the NCAA, including some of the findings and penalties included in today’s report. However, we take the report and the issues it identifies very seriously, particularly those that involve academic integrity, and the overall well-being of student-athletes.”

In addition, the university’s board of trustees released the following statement regarding the matter:

“The Board of Trustees also concurs with the Chancellor that more action is required. Following the board’s full consultation next week, the university expects to share promptly, and publicly, further information about additional steps being taken.

As a Board of Trustees our responsibilities demand that we focus on ensuring that the university’s academic reputation and values are sustained, and that we offer the best possible academic support for our student-athletes. It is our sincere desire to do all possible to ensure this outcome, and celebrate the academic success of our student athletes.”

According to the NCAA’s decision, SU must provide written notification of its intent to appeal any of the investigation’s findings or penalties by March 21.

Reportedly, SU officials are considering the option.