Syracuse University officials attended a two-day hearing in late October before the NCAA Committee on Infractions, a hearing preceded by the NCAA's eight-year investigation into the Syracuse athletic department. The NCAA then needed more than four months to announce its sanctions against the school on March 6.
Thanks to a comprehensive report from syracuse.com's Chris Carlson, we now know what caused that delay. Two Syracuse appeals pushed back the release of the NCAA's findings, which resulted in sanctions that included a loss of 12 scholarships and a nine-game suspension for head coach Jim Boeheim.
The appeals, which were filed after the hearing and before the NCAA's report being released, were SU's final attempt to have several academic issues removed from the NCAA investigation.
Each of the appeals dealt with whether the school or the NCAA should have authority over academic issues.
The subject of the appeals is primarily concerned with a basketball receptionist and tutor completing schoolwork for three basketball players, according to Carlson. The NCAA was investigating Fab Melo's academic issues in July 2012 when it found that Debora Belanger, the receptionist, and Kristie Smith, the tutor, had done just that.
The three players aided by Belanger and Smith were the unidentified Players 8 and 9 in the NCAA report, as well as a third player.
"The NCAA ultimately found that unidentified Player 8 had multiple pages of a paper and an oral presentation script written for them by Belanger. Player 9, who has been placed on academic probation, was found to have had a paper and the majority of a final exam done for him, allowing him to become academically eligible.
A third player was found to have had a paragraph of a midterm written by Smith."
"Despite being found not guilty by the school, the NCAA found the players guilty of receiving impermissible benefits, which ruled that the work supplied by athletic staff members would not have been available to normal students."