The long-awaited NCAA sanctions against the Syracuse basketball program came down Thursday, lighter than expected because of the school’s cooperation in the investigation.
The Orangemen were banned from postseason play this season and the school’s entire athletic program was placed on two years’ probation as violations were also found in the women’s basketball, football, lacrosse and wrestling programs.
The NCAA said the penalties were less than the minimum for major violations because of Syracuse’s cooperation in its probe. The NCAA Committee on Infractions stopped short of banning Syracuse from live television appearances, but did assess scholarship and recruiting penalties.
“But for their cooperation, their penalty would have been much greater,” said David Swank, dean of University of Oklahoma Law School and chairman of the committee.
Syracuse chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw said the university would accept the penalties.
Syracuse is the first member of the high-profile Big East basketball conference to be sanctioned by the NCAA.
The conference’s athletic directors will meet Oct. 6-7 at Providence, R.I., for their regular fall meeting at which time they will vote to decide whether Syracuse can participate in the conference postseason tournament.
The Infractions Committee determined “there were repeated and conscious efforts by representatives of the university’s athletic interests to gain recruiting and competitive advantages for the men’s basketball program.”
As a result, Syracuse loses a scholarship in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
In addition, the NCAA banned the men’s basketball coaches from off-campus recruiting from Jan. 1-June 30, 1993. For the rest of this year, only one coach at a time will be allowed to recruit off campus.
The number of expense-paid visits by recruits to the university was also reduced from 15 to nine from this Nov. 13 until Nov. 12, 1993. For the following year, Syracuse will be allowed 13 recruiting visits.
Syracuse acknowledged at least 15 rules violations involving its men’s basketball program after a yearlong investigation. The violations were first brought to light by the Syracuse Post-Standard in an investigative series published in December, 1990.
Among the violations, which the university termed “minor,” it was reported that boosters gave players cash, free housing, meals, legal advice and other benefits.