Syracuse coach Boeheim to retire in 3 years; AD resigns
Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim will retire in three years and the university's athletic director has resigned, the school announced Wednesday following a scathing NCAA report that imposed sanctions for violations that lasted more than a decade.
Chancellor Kent Syverud said Wednesday that Boeheim, a Hall of Famer and head coach for 39 years, decided to make the announcement to "bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years" and to allow for a smooth transition.
Longtime assistant coach Mike Hopkins, a former star for the Orange, is in line to succeed Boeheim. Athletic director Daryl Gross will take another marketing position with the school, while Pete Sala will serve as interim athletic director.
The violations involved academic misconduct, extra benefits and the university's drug-testing policy, according to a March 6 report by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Boeheim, 70, is already suspended for the first half of the next Atlantic Coast Conference season, a total of nine games. Syracuse will also have three scholarships taken away for four seasons and all wins vacated in which an ineligible player participated during five seasons between 2004 and 2012. The total wins removed from records could be as high as 108, depending on what happens in the appeal process. Syracuse has already vacated 24 wins.
"Coach Jim Boeheim has been a mainstay at Syracuse University for more than one-third of our entire 144-year history," Syverud said. "He enrolled as a student here in 1962 and has never left. He has been the embodiment of Orange pride."
Boeheim has scheduled a press conference for Thursday morning, the school said.
Syverud reiterated that the school does not agree with all of the NCAA's conclusions or penalties imposed and intends to appeal the vacating of certain wins and the scholarship reduction in men's basketball.
"The decision to appeal is not taken lightly. We remain disturbed by the severity of certain penalties and the characterization by the NCAA of certain facts surrounding the case," Syverud said.
Gross, athletic director for a decade, will serve as vice president and special assistant to the chancellor and adjunct professor in the university's college of sport and human dynamics.
"I am thankful to have worked with what I consider the greatest coaching staff in the country and our student-athletes who have competed proudly at the highest national levels," said Gross, who led the push for Syracuse to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013 and spurred marketing the Syracuse brand to the metropolitan New York City area, scheduling games at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey against Southern California, Penn State and Notre Dame.
"Our vision was to graduate student-athletes and provide them with the tools with which they can make a positive impact on society, and I feel that goal was accomplished," Gross said in a statement. "I believe Syracuse athletics is positioned to flourish going forward in the most extraordinary way. The Syracuse athletics brand is strong and resilient."
In its report, the NCAA said the university had lost control of its athletic department and placed Syracuse on probation for five years for breaking with the "most fundamental core values of the NCAA."
The bulk of the violations concerned athletic department officials interfering with academics and making sure star players stayed eligible.
The report said the former director of basketball operations, whose job primarily consisted of monitoring academic performance of basketball student-athletes, became overly involved. He collected and maintained student-athletes' usernames and passwords and provided them to others, including student-athlete support services,
As part of a routine, members of the support staff accessed and sent emails from student-athletes' accounts and corresponded directly with professors and included attached course work, which was necessary to maintain the required grades for the student-athletes to remain eligible, the report said.
"The behavior in this case, which placed the desire to achieve success on the basketball court over academic integrity, demonstrated clearly misplaced institutional priorities," the NCAA said.
The punishment also includes financial penalties and recruiting restrictions for two years.
In anticipation of the report, Syverud announced a postseason ban for this year for the men's basketball team. The NCAA accepted the ban and indicated the school could delay the loss of scholarships for one year. Boeheim has a stellar class coming next fall, rated the best in his long tenure.
The announcement of the changes comes less than two weeks after the season finale. At a postseason banquet the day after the Orange lost at North Carolina State to finish with a record of 18-13, Boeheim, the second-winningest coach in Division I history with 966 victories, told an audience of around 700 fans that he wasn't about to leave as basketball coach.
"I'm not going anywhere," he said.