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NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee decreases Syracuse University scholarship penalty

Download the Syracuse University public infractions appeals committee decision

Syracuse University will gain back one men’s basketball scholarship per year over the next four years, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee. The Infractions Appeals Committee also upheld the vacation of wins and the financial penalty prescribed by an NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

In its appeal, the school stated the vacation of men’s basketball and football records was inconsistent with other cases related to extra benefits. Additionally, the school asked the Infractions Appeals Committee to review the men’s basketball scholarship reductions because it believed the penalty is disproportionate to the specific details of the case. 

After its review, the Infractions Appeals Committee found the vacation of men’s basketball and football records was not an abuse of discretion by the Committee on Infractions. However, the Infractions Appeals Committee determined the scholarship reductions in men’s basketball were a departure from precedent and modified the reduction.  The scholarship reduction of 12 imposed by the Committee on Infractions was reduced to eight scholarships over a four-year period – two scholarships for each academic year (2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19).

In March, the Committee on Infractions found that over the course of a decade, Syracuse did not control and monitor its athletics programs, and its head men’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program. Syracuse self-reported a number of the violations, dating back to 2001, including academic misconduct, extra benefits, the failure to follow its drug-testing policy and impermissible booster activity. The Committee on Infractions also found impermissible academic assistance and services were provided to student-athletes.

Penalties prescribed by the Committee on Infractions earlier this year, not including those self-imposed by the school, included five years of probation; financial penalties; reduction of three men’s basketball scholarships per year for four years; vacation of wins in which ineligible students participated; a suspension of nine conference games for the head basketball coach; and men’s basketball recruiting restrictions for two years. Additionally, the panel accepted the school’s one-year postseason ban in men’s basketball it self-imposed after the NCAA hearing, among other measures outlined in the public decision.

An appeal by the head men's basketball coach is pending.

The members of the Infractions Appeals Committee who heard this case were David Williams, committee chair and vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics and athletics director at Vanderbilt University; Susan Cross Lipnickey, associate athletics director for student-athlete services and senior woman administrator at Xavier University; Jack Friedenthal, professor emeritus at George Washington University; W. Anthony Jenkins, attorney in private practice; and Patti Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.