The Syracuse University (SU) men’s basketball program will gain back one scholarship per year over the next four years, but the vacation of wins remains part of theNCAA penalty.
The decision reduces the Committee on Infractions’ scholarship penalty from 12 down to eight scholarships over a four-year period. That’s two scholarships for each academic year, including the 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years.
That’s according to a decision that the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee issued on Wednesday.
SU had submitted its appeal on March 20.
The decision didn’t include any ruling on SU men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension beginning at the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play.
A ruling on that appeal is still “pending,” the NCAA said.
The Infractions Appeals Committee also upheld the vacation of wins and the financial penalty prescribed by an NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel, the NCAA said in a news release posted on the organization’s website.
The NCAA reduced the amount of SU’s financial penalty as the school noticed an error in the amount when preparing its appeal, Kevin Quinn, SU’s senior VP for public affairs, said in a statement posted at cuse.com, the website of SU Athletics.
The appeal decision resulted in the reduction of a “significant” penalty, Quinn said in the SU statement.
“The Infractions Appeals Committee ruled that the University will gain back one men's basketball scholarship per year over the next four years. This will result in a total reduction of 8 scholarships over 4 years (2 per year from 2015-16 through 2018-19), rather than 12,” said Quinn.
SU also noted it had previously noticed an error in the financial part of the NCAA penalty.
“In addition, even before the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee issued its decision, the university won a significant victory by achieving a $1.23 million reduction in the financial penalty previously imposed. In formulating its appeal, the university discovered the NCAA Committee on Infractions had incorrectly penalized it by requiring the forfeiture of monies received from the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Committee on Infractions acknowledged the error and corrected its earlier decision by reducing the financial penalty,” according to Quinn.
SU’s statement then continued.
“The university is pleased with these two positive outcomes resulting from our appeal. We strongly believed the original scholarship reduction penalty was too severe when compared to other infraction cases. Also, the scholarship reduction penalty directly impacts current and future student-athletes and their academic and athletic opportunities. We remain disappointed in the decision to vacate a significant amount of men's basketball wins, a decision that was upheld.”
“Although the appellate panel did not grant every one of our requests, it recognized there was merit in our appeal. We simply sought to be judged according to the same standards as other institutions, and we did our best to achieve that goal. Regardless of today's outcome, our top priority is to give our student-athletes the best possible education and teach them how to achieve their highest potential in the classroom and on the playing fields. We look forward to a bright future for all of our student-athletes and teams.”
About the appeal
In its appeal, SU asked the Infractions Appeals Committee to review the men’s basketball scholarship reductions because it believed the penalty is “disproportionate to the specific details of the case,” according to the NCAA news release.
SU also argued the vacation of men’s basketball and football records was “inconsistent” with other cases related to extra benefits.
After its review, the Infractions Appeals Committee found the vacation of men’s basketball and football records was “not an abuse of discretion” by the Committee on Infractions.
However, the Infractions Appeals Committee determined the scholarship reductions in men’s basketball were a “departure from precedent” and modified the reduction.
The Committee on Infractions on March 6 found that Syracuse “did not control and monitor” its athletics programs, and Boeheim “failed to monitor” his program over the course of a decade.
Syracuse self-reported a number of the violations, dating back to 2001, including academic misconduct, extra benefits, the failure to follow its drug-testing policy and impermissible booster activity.
The Committee on Infractions also found impermissible academic assistance and services were provided to players, the NCAA said.
The Committee on Infractions’ penalties included five years of probation; financial penalties; reduction of three men’s basketball scholarships per year for four years, which has been reduced in this ruling; vacation of wins in which ineligible students participated; a nine, conference-game suspension for Boeheim; and men’s basketball-recruiting restrictions for two years.
Additionally, the panel accepted the school’s one-year postseason ban in men’s basketball it had self-imposed after the NCAA hearing.
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Photo credit: (Adam Rombel / BJNN file photo)