Update 4: Doc Gross discusses the allegations: “We’re not dealing with any current student-athletes. We know what kind of kids we have here. We have good kids who are in compliance with all NCAA rules and university policies...we think we did things the right way."
Update 3: Pat Forde tells Brent Axe "There was no thought given to timing" of releasing this story (on the eve of the Big East Tournament). Sure...
Update 2: Jake Crouthamel tells the DO that he was aware of several failed drug tests during his time as Syracuse University's athletic director but doesn't recall allowing those who failed tests to play.
Update 1: Syracuse has released a statement - "In accordance with NCAA regulations, it is the University’s practice to self-report possible violations to the NCAA. We self-reported issues with drug testing to the NCAA, and there is currently an ongoing inquiry. The inquiry does not involve any current SU student-athletes. To ensure the integrity of the ongoing process, we are unable to comment further at this time."
Original: The three scariest words that a college sports fan can hear or see are "Charles," "Robinson," and then your schools' name.
Today is Syracuse's day. Again.
Yahoo!'s report revolved around a large number of failed drug tests over the past decade and the apparent lack of discipline by Jim Boeheim, the athletics department or the school.
Over the course of a three-month investigation, four sources with intimate knowledge of the Syracuse men’s basketball program told Yahoo! Sports at least 10 players since 2001 have tested positive for a banned recreational substance or substances. The sources said all 10 of those players were allowed to practice and play at times when they should have been suspended by the athletic department, including instances when some players may not have known of their own ineligibility. The four sources said Syracuse violated its drug policy in at least two areas: failing to properly count positive tests; and playing ineligible players after they should have been subject to suspension.
According to their sources, the failed drug tests go back as far as 2001 and include the 2002-03 national championship season.
Boeheim went all no-comment in a very Boeheim way ("I would not comment on anything like that. Good luck with your story.").
So cut to the chase, what could happen to SU here?
According to the article, it could mean that the NCAA’s "Willful Violators" clause could be triggered. That means the NCAA could reach as far back as it wants to levy punishment on things that happened more than four years ago.
Syracuse could also get hit with the lack of institutional control charge, though we've seen other universities do WAAAAAAAY worse stuff than this and not get that. This isn't like booster payments or point shaving.
As Syracuse fans, this isn't exactly shocking news. We've heard stories, we've seen tweets and we all know someone who knows someone who knows what "really happened" with this player or that player. Newsflash, every program and every school has the same story. We just got caught.
(And I'm sorry but I can't separate the fact that Pat Forde wrote a scathing column about Jim Boeheim back in November. Boeheim wasn't fired and now Forde's name is on the byline of another article that's calling his stewardship of the program into question. I trust Charles Robinson to come correct, I don't know about Forde.)
All in all, I'm not really sure if this alone is as damning as it sounds. However, when you couple it with the Bernie Fine Scandal, Fab Melo's academic issue and every other little thing that's happened over the last 20 years that can be thrown into the cauldron as "proof" of whatever it is a writer wants to prove, it doesn't look very good.
Go read the report here and let's start freaking out all over again.