Syracuse Basketball Facing NCAA Probe, Offenses Said To Be ‘Major’
Syracuse University’s basketball program is facing an NCAA investigation for offenses over a multi-year period, according to multiple reports from Wednesday.
The university has reportedly received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA, though it isn’t clear when Syracuse basketball officials were notified of the investigation. CBS Sports reported that the transgressions are considered major.
Syracuse basketball came under investigation last year for drug-related violations, but the scope has now reportedly expanded to include handling of Fab Melo’s academic eligibility and an alleged sexual assault case in 2007 involving three players.
Last year the Orange declared Melo ineligible for the 2012 NCAA Tournament just before the team’s first game. Melo also missed three games during the regular season because of an academic issue.
The case is not said to be related to past sexual abuse accusations made against former assistant coach Bernie Fine. Federal investigators closed that investigation and did not charge Fine, as one of the accusers admitted he made up stories of abuse by Fine and doubt was cast on the intentions of two others.
The report came just as the Orange were preparing for their Second Round game against Montana. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim didn’t answer any specific questions about the inquiry, but noted that last year’s investigation came at the same time.
“Same story they had last year at this time,” Boeheim said. “I guess that’s annual. I guess next year we’ll get it again.”
Boeheim said he’s keeping his team focused on the tournament.
“We’re concerned about playing Montana,” he said. “What people write or say, you know, there’s 30,000 people in the Dome yelling at me all the time. People yell at their television sets. I tell them I can’t hear them, but they still yell at them. There’s no distractions for me. And these players, there’s absolutely no distractions for them. They’re here to play Montana and that’s it.”
The NCAA investigation reportedly involves Syracuse’s football team as well, though it is primarily focused on basketball transgressions.