In an unsurprising, day-before-a-holiday-weekend news dump, the NCAA has released its ruling on Syracuse’s appeal.
The Orange, who originally was forced to vacate three scholarships a season for the next four years, will instead only vacate two a year. Furthermore, SU will still have to vacate 101 wins and pay a fine. The original sanctions handed down by the NCAA were the harshest scholarship penalties ever given out to a basketball program.
Syracuse originally appealed the decision way back in March, but ultimately, this news has to be taken positively for Syracuse fans. After seeing how hard it is to work a nine-man rotation this year, knowing that the Orange will have at least eleven scholarship players for the next three years has to make fans breathe a sigh of relief.
Next season, the Orange has already assigned eleven scholarships, assuming no underclassmen declare for the draft early. When Tyus Battle committed to the Orange, his scholarship did not fit under the umbrella of the ten allotted. Now, SU can legally bring in Battle, Matthew Moyer, and Paschal Chukwu, who is currently filling the tenth scholarship while sitting out because of NCAA transfer rules.
While this news is positive, SU is not done with the NCAA just yet. Despite these reductions being announced today, there was no mention of coach Jim Boeheim’s individual appeal of his nine-game suspension to start ACC play. With the ACC opener set for December 30 at Pitt, a decision on this separate case should be coming very soon, as well. However, the fact that the program is still in the dark on their head coach’s appeal when the season is already underway is still questionable at best. Boeheim and SMU’s Larry Brown are tied for the longest suspension ever given out to a college basketball coach.
While the Orange did get its scholarship ban reduced, ACC programs who are also undergoing investigation, like Louisville and North Carolina, shouldn’t necessarily breathe easy. The Orange’s violations were much less severe than anything that the two ACC powerhouses have been accused of. It will be interesting to see how this changed ruling affects the eventual penalties on those two programs.