The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee upheld the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel’s finding that the Syracuse University head men’s basketball coach failed to create an atmosphere of compliance within his program. Also, the Infractions Appeals Committee determined that the coach’s nine-game suspension during conference play will begin with the team’s next game instead of the start of conference competition.
In his appeal, the coach stated that he believes the Committee on Infractions used the wrong standard to determine its finding that he did not create an atmosphere of compliance. He also argued that the Committee on Infractions abused its discretion when it prescribed a nine-conference-game suspension.
After an oral argument attended by the coach and Committee on Infractions, the Infractions Appeals Committee determined the Committee on Infractions had sufficient information to support the finding on the coach’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. However, the Infractions Appeals Committee determined the stipulation that the suspension be served during conference play was a departure from precedent. Because the coach was not directly involved in the underlying violations of the case, the appeals committee modified the penalty to begin with the team’s next game.
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 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.
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 nine-conference-game suspension 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.
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.