Syracuse self-imposes ban

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Syracuse Universityhas self-imposed a postseason ban on its men's basketball team this season in response to an ongoing NCAA investigation into potential past infractions by the team.

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 that none of the conduct occurred after 2012, and no current student-athlete is involved.

The ban includes the NCAA tournament, ACC tournament and NIT.

The ACC tournament will feature 14 teams instead of 15, according to the league, and teams will slide up to replace Syracuse once the regular season ends. Syracuse is included in any tiebreakers for determining seeds.

"I am very disappointed that our basketball team will miss the opportunity to play in the postseason this year," coach Jim Boeheim said in a news release. "However, I supported this decision and I believe the University is doing the right thing by acknowledging that past mistakes occurred."

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. No members of that team were involved.

"We have taken responsibility for past violations and worked hard to ensure they are not repeated," university chancellor Kent Syverud said in a release. "I am disappointed for our current men's basketball players who must shoulder this postseason ban. I also recognize that not participating in postseason play will be disappointing for many in the University community and to all Orange supporters."

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 long shot 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," team captainsRakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije said in a joint statement.

While the Orange have only eight scholarship players currently available to play because of injuries, Boeheim has the top recruiting class in his 39 years as head coach signed 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.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski called the ban "shocking news."

"I feel bad that that's happening," Krzyzewski said. "I love Syracuse, I love Jim and you don't want anything bad to happen to any conference member."

Information from's Andy Katz and C.L. Brown and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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