Yesterday the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will have to give up three basketball scholarships per season for the next four seasons. These losses could be pushed back one year however. The Post Standard reports that, “Syracuse can delay the lost scholarships for a season…only if the school has already executed financial aid agreements with [commits].”
The Orange has four commits signed in the 2015 class so it’s safe to say financial aid has already been decided on. Unless SU backs out on a commit, the loss of three scholarships shouldn’t start until after next season.
The school has self-imposed a penalty which takes away one scholarship for next season though and here’s where things get interesting. There are currently ten players on scholarship for Syracuse basketball. Rakeem Christmas leaves after this season, which means nine scholarship players are set to return next year. With a four person recruiting class coming in this fall, Syracuse will have 13 scholarship players in 2015-2016. 13 is the maximum number of scholarships for a program, so with the loss of one either someone has to transfer or one of the 2015 commits will have their scholarship pulled.
Looking ahead two years when the three scholarships are lost, the Orange may only be able to bring just one new player. After next season Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije graduate and Chris McCullough is almost a lock to head to the NBA. This leaves SU with 9 returning scholarship players (if one ends up leaving/decommitting because of the loss of a scholarship for next season). Losing three scholarships means that ten is the most the team can have, so there will only be room for one freshman addition.
Unless Tyler Roberson and Malachi Richardson have incredible seasons next year and head to the NBA or someone else transfers, having just a single freshman join the team in 2016 looks realistic.
There is still a lot to come out about these sanctions. Jim Boeheim will appeal and the university wants to fight this as well which could result in the NCAA rescinding some penalties. For now though, the program is clearly not in a good spot.
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Posted: Connor Morrissette