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NCAA Investigation of Syracuse Includes Potential Violations Surrounding Internship

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Syracuse.com has uncovered that an internship program may have put Syracuse athletes into contact with a shady booster who could have provided extra benefits.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

All has been quiet on the NCAA investigation front ever since Jim Boeheim, Scott Shafer and other key Syracuse University officials met with the NCAA in Chicago at the end of October. A statement by SU notes that none of the potential violations involved current students but didn't say much else.

Chris Carlson, Nate Mink and John O'Brien just released an update on Syracuse.com that finally digs into the details a bit and gives the rest of us a sense of what we're dealing with here. As you probably guessed by now, this has more to do with just a shoddy academic record.

An internship program that placed Syracuse University athletes at a YMCA in Oneida is part of an inquiry into possible NCAA violations by the school's athletic department.

Investigators also asked about a former YMCA employee who had exceptional access to Syracuse men's basketball players and was sued for allegedly misappropriating close to $350,000 from the Y. It is unclear if any of those funds were given to athletes.

Basically it goes like this...

  • Child and Family Studies is a popular major for athletes.
  • One of the requirements of a specific class included an internship at a local YMCA.
  • Someone involved with that YMCA may have been providing "extra benefits" to both Syracuse Orange football and men's basketball players who took the internship.
  • That individual is Jeff Cornish, former sports director of the Tri-Valley YMCA. He appears to have an extremely, uncomfortably close role with many Syracuse athletes, including Carmelo Anthony (whom he drove to a speaking engagement), Hakim Warrick & Terrence Roberts (who attended a tournament hosted by Cornish) Dyshawn Wright (who was paid $100 to work at Cornish's tournament) as well as R.J. Anderson & Kyle Johnson (who participated in an event at the YMCA).
  • Cornish set up a bank account using the YMCA's non-profit status but without their knowledge and appears to have funneled money into it for his own benefit. He was involved in a lawsuit over this account with the YMCA.

There's a lot more detail in the story so go read it. Suffice it to say, it's not a good look for Syracuse Athletics. It's easy to say they had no idea what Cornish was allegedly doing, but, given the timeframe in which he was allegedly working closely with student-athletes, a school official should have noticed and/or intervened at some point. Whether no one did because it went unnoticed or no one did because they turned a blind eye remains to be seen.

More to come on this, I'm sure. At least, from the reporters. Expect SU to remain mum on this and anything related to the NCAA investigation.