NCAA sanctions Syracuse, Boeheim suspended 9 games

Indianapolis, IN ( - Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim has been suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 ACC season as part of the penalties handed to the university by the NCAA on Friday.

The NCAA's Committee on Infractions determined that Boeheim failed to monitor the men's basketball program in the results of an investigation that found numerous violations dating back to 2001.

Syracuse self-reported 10 violations in the case, which primarily involved the basketball program, but also included football. Some of the violations included academic misconduct, extra benefits, the failure to follow its drug testing policy and impermissible booster activity.

Other violations revolved around impermissible academic assistance and services, the head basketball coach's failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff, and the school's lack of control over its athletics program.

In addition to Boeheim's suspension, the university's athletic department was placed on five years' probation. The basketball program will have scholarships reduced by a total of 12 -- three each over a four-year period -- and will vacate wins in which ineligible students participated.

The school's self-imposed one-year postseason ban was accepted by the NCAA, meaning the Orange will be eligible to participate in next year's ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

Syracuse will not have to forfeit its 2003 NCAA Tournament championship.

In a statement issued through the school, Boeheim expressed relief that the eight-year investigation was over but said he was disappointed with many of the findings, saying the committee "chose to ignore the efforts which I have undertaken over the past 37 years to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the men's basketball program."

"Instead," Boeheim said, "they chose to focus on the rogue and secretive actions of a former employee of the local YMCA and my former director of basketball operations in order to impose an unprecedented series of penalties upon the university and the men's basketball program."

The NCAA said 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 Tournament.

In addition, the Orange will vacate 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 university agreed with some of the NCAA's findings, including the discovery in 2004-05 that two men's basketball and three football players received a combined total of $8,335, provided by a part-time local YMCA employee who qualified under NCAA rules as a university athletics "booster." The monies received in this instance were considered prohibited "extra benefits."

Boeheim called the YMCA employee "a highly regarded individual who worked for the one most respected organizations in the country."

"I cannot think of a place where I would rather have my student-athletes spend their free time than a community YMCA," he said. "My coaches and I knew and trusted this man, and he was thoroughly vetted by the Office of Athletic Compliance before he was permitted to interact with our student-athletes. If the committee is correct that this individual abused the trust that had been placed in him by the YMCA, the university, and me, then I am deeply disappointed."

Academic misconduct centered around a men's basketball player submitting a paper in a course he already passed in an effort to improve his course grade and restore NCAA eligibility. The paper was prepared with assistance from two (now former) athletics employees, both of whom were aware their actions were improper and wrong.

However, the university disagreed with the NCAA's assertion that it was also considered an "extra benefit."

"As the head coach of the program, I demand academic excellence from my student-athletes," Boeheim said. "However, under NCAA rules, I am not permitted to intervene in academic matters nor am I permitted to review academic work performed by student-athletes.

"In short, I am disappointed with the infractions report. At this time, however, I will have no further comment on this matter as I consider my options moving forward."

The university acknowledged its own drug testing program, which is not required by NCAA regulations, was not followed with respect to student- athletes who tested positive for use of marijuana.

As far as the allegations of failure to monitor by the athletic department and the penalty against Boeheim, the university strongly disagreed with the NCAA's stance and is considering an appeal of those sanctions.

"The university is considering whether it will appeal certain portions of the decision," said Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud in a statement Friday. "Coach Boeheim may choose to appeal the portions of the decision that impact him personally. Should he decide to do so, we would support him in this step."

If the vacated wins are upheld, Boeheim would lose 108 victories. He had 966 wins, second only to Duke's Mike Krzyzewski in Division I.