Syracuse University announced Wednesday that it has instituted a self-imposed postseason ban for the current men’s basketball season as part of its case pending before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
The school initiated the case, which includes academics, when it self-reported potential athletic department violations to the NCAA in 2007. School officials said Wednesday none of the conduct occurred after 2012 and no current student-athlete is involved.
The ban also includes the ACC tournament. After Syracuse’s announcement, the conference released an updated bracket for a tournament shortened by one game.
Coach Jim Boeheim says he’s disappointed, especially for senior Rakeem Christmas, but supports the decision.
"I believe the university is doing the right thing by acknowledging that past mistakes occurred," Boeheim said in a statement.
In 2012, Syracuse declared former center Fab Melo ineligible for the NCAA tournament days before it started. Melo also missed three Big East games during the season because of an academic issue. Early in the 2012-13 season, former forward James Southerland sat out six games for an academic issue but helped lead the Orange to the Final Four.
In March 2012, school officials said the university had self-reported possible violations of its internal drug policy by former members of the team and that the NCAA was investigating. None of the members of that team was involved.
The school also acknowledged the NCAA had inquired into old allegations that players were allowed to practice and play despite being in violation of the school’s drug policy.
"We are fully supportive of Syracuse and its decision to self-impose sanctions by removing themselves from any men’s basketball postseason opportunities," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said.
The probe also involves issues with football. Syracuse completed a two-day hearing before the Committee on Infractions in October, and among those who attended were Boeheim and football coach Scott Shafer.
"While this is a tough decision for the university and its students, faculty, staff and fans, it helps to close this particular chapter and allows us to focus on the future," said newly appointed faculty athletics representative Rick Burton.
Plagued by injuries, Syracuse has struggled to a 15-7 mark this season and was a longshot to make the NCAA tournament or NIT. Still, the announcement was difficult for the players to accept.
"We are all tremendously disappointed that we are going to miss out on playing in the postseason based on issues that do not involve us," Christmas, Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije said in a joint statement.
While the Orange have only eight scholarship players currently available to play due to injuries, Boeheim has the top recruiting class in his 39 years as head coach inked for next year and big things are expected as he nears 1,000 career victories. If the NCAA agrees a one-year postseason ban is sufficient, the new recruits won’t be affected.