NCAA suspends Jim Boeheim 9 games and strips him of dozens of wins for rule violations
Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim has been suspended for nine ACC conference games next season and Syracuse will lose 12 scholarships over four years as a result of multiple rules infractions committed over the last several years, the NCAA reported Friday.
According to the lengthy and detailed report issued Friday by the NCAA, the university self-reported the violations, which date back to 2001, and include "academic misconduct, extra benefits, failure to follow its drug testing policy and impermissable booster activity." The report does not name any players, though other media outlets have identified some players involved.
Some of the misconduct surrounds internships many players participated in at the Oneida YMCA. Players did not, the report alleges, always complete the work they said they did and oversight on behalf of the YMCA and Syracuse University was lax.
A "booster" and executive at the Oneida YMCA is also accused of paying five different basketball and football players a total of $8,355 for work associated with a community amateur basketball league. That booster also gave players rides and gifts.
In 2012, the report says two athletic department officials wrote an academic paper in order to boost the grade in a previously taken course by a prominent player in order to restore his eligibility. That player is reportedly Fab Melo, who faced academic suspensions during his short playing career at the university.
The basketball program did not follow the guidelines of its self-written drug testing policy, the NCAA said, as the team often did not follow protocol for disciplining players as prescribed.
"The institution's head basketball coach failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance and monitor his staff," the report said.
Britton Banowsky, who chaired the investigation for NCAA, told reporters on a conference call that the conduct of the basketball program and its players all falls on Boeheim.
"There’s a higher level of responsibly that attaches to the head coach because, ultimately, he or she is responsible," he said
Syracuse instituted a self-imposed ban on this year's men's basketball team ahead of the report's release. "We noted it and accepted it," said Banowsky of the ban. "That's it."
The current lackluster season for the Orange concludes Saturday at North Carolina State.
The Syracuse football team was also found to have committed several violations over a number of years. As a result, both the men's basketball and football teams have been placed on probation for five years.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said the university "does not agree with all of the conclusions reached by the NCAA, including some of the findings and penalties included" in the NCAA report. Syverud said the university is considering whether to appeal parts of the decision.
Syverud also bemoaned the length of time it took for the investigation to be conducted and the report to be released. Banowsky also said it took too long.
Current and former Syracuse athletic officials, Boeheim and others testified to the NCAA panel in October.
In addition to the NCAA's penalties, which can be seen below, Syracuse University detailed its self-imposed penalties, in addition to a ban on post-season play this year. Those penalties include the loss of one men's basketball scholarship for the 2015-16 season and the vacation of 24 basketball and 11 football wins, among others.
The number of wins vacated by Boeheim could end up being much higher, as many as 108. Syracuse will forfeit wins for which ineligible players participated in during five different seasons. Banowsky declined to do the math, saying it still had to be worked out.
Syracuse University will not lose its 2003 national championship.
Boeheim was the second winningest coach in college basketball. The stripping of these victories will knock him down that list.
Here is the full list of penalties imposed by the NCAA:
- Vacation of all wins in which ineligible men’s basketball students played in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2010-11 and 2011-12 and ineligible football students played in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. The public decision contains additional details.
- 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.
- Suspension of the head basketball coach from the first nine conference games of 2015-16.
- Reduction of men’s basketball scholarships by three for the 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. If the school has already executed scholarship offers for the 2015-16 year, the school may begin the four-year penalty with the 2016-17 year.
- Reduction in the number of permissible off-campus recruiters from four to two during June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2017.
- The panel also accepted the school’s self-imposed postseason ban for the 2014-15 season, but noted that self-imposition of penalties after the conclusion of infractions hearings does not influence the outcome.