This year’s Syracuse Orange basketball team has enough questions surrounding it with an inexperienced squad and a #24 preseason Coaches Poll ranking. An NCAA investigation hasn’t made things any easier.
A hearing in October officially ended the NCAA’s investigation of the Syracuse basketball (and football) programs, and a ruling could be coming at any time. The ongoing investigations have meant a lot of confidentiality and little talk of what possible sanctions could be put on the programs, but what we do know can help us point to what kind of ruling Coach Boeheim and the basketball team could be looking at as they enter the new season.
New pieces to the puzzle came out yesterday afternoon, when it was reported by the Post Standard andsyracuse.com that NCAA officials had talked to the Oneida YMCA during their investigation regarding an internship program that many athletes were involved in during the time in question.
Two major concerns with the internship program were expressed in the reports.
First: that the athletes involved were not putting in the hours that were being logged;
and second: that Jeff Cornish, who had been previously sued by the YMCA for taking nearly $340,000 in non-for-profit money, had used some or all of that money to pay athletes.
Those closest to the allegations, including Cornish, either failed to comment or could not legally talk about the NCAA’s investigation.
The paying of players or academic dishonesty could lead to serious sanctions, but those who have elected to comment have made it clear that it would be very unlikely to prove that the violations took place or that the university was aware of them.
What does this mean for this year’s Syracuse basketball team? Most likely nothing. None of the allegations involve current players, and it doesn’t appear that any of the violations are significant or substantial enough to justify making the Orange ineligible for postseason play. Enjoy the season.
More likely is that Syracuse basketball is looking at a fine and loss of future scholarships. The worst-case scenario would be that these scholarships are taken away from the upcoming year, a recruiting class that Boeheim says is the best he’s ever brought in and is arguably the best in school history.
The vacating of some wins could also be in order, but such action would have no real effect on the team other than pushing back Boeheim’s official 1,000th win a few years.
Long story short: we’re gonna make it out of this alive. If no further evidence of wrongdoing comes out, it would appear that Syracuse has either done little wrong or covered their tracks well enough to get away with one.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson