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Syracuse Basketball: A Breakdown of the Orange's Scholarship Situation

SU will lose 12 scholarships over four years. Here's how that might play out.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

As part of the NCAA's sanctions against the program for "a 10-year period of violations," the Syracuse Orange men's basketball program will lose 12 scholarships over four years.

Programs are allowed 13 scholarships per season, which means that during their four-year punishment, the Orange will be able to carry only 10 scholarship players.

The NCAA has given SU the option to begin its punishment with the 2016-17 season "if the school has already executed scholarship offers for the 2015-16 year," which it has. And given the incoming recruiting class -- which includes five-star recruit Malachi Richardson -- it seems unlikely that Syracuse wouldn't wait.

Assuming the Orange do wait, let's break down what their scholarship situation will look like over the four-year punishment window, from the 2016-17 season through the 2019-20 season.


As of right now, Syracuse is scheduled to have 12 players on scholarship in 2016-17, seven of which are currently on the roster -- B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson, Chris McCullough, Kaleb Joseph, Tyler Roberson, DaJuan Coleman, and Chinonso Obokoh. The other five are incoming recruits -- Richardson, Moustapha Diagne, Tyler Lydon, Franklin Howard, and 2016 recruit Matthew Moyer.

It feels safe to assume that we can cross McCullough off of that list. The forward will almost certainly leave for the NBA after next season. It's also possible that Malachi Richardson could leave after next season, if he reaches his potential immediately.

If Richardson doesn't leave, it's unclear what will then happen. The Orange would be left with 11 scholarship players, or one more than their 10-player limit. It's unlikely that the NCAA would force someone out, but the association also hasn't indicated that Syracuse can begin its punishment any later than 2016-17.

For what it's worth, there has been talk of Ron Patterson transferring to make room for 2015 recruit Thomas Bryant. Bryant is almost certainly off the table at this point, but perhaps Patterson will still be on the way out.


Not including McCullough and Richardson, there are five players scheduled to be on scholarship for Syracuse in 2017-18: Joseph, Diagne, Lydon, Howard, and Moyer. Syracuse would thus have five extra scholarships to hand out before reaching its limit.


This is where a considerable amount of speculation comes into play, if it hadn't already. Still not including Richardson, there are four players scheduled to be on scholarship in 2018-19: Diagne, Lydon, Howard, and Moyer. If Syracuse brings in five scholarship players from the 2017 recruiting class and thus reaches its 10-player limit for the 2017-2018 season, that would leave only one scholarship (in place of Joseph) to use in 2018. If Syracuse uses only four scholarships on the 2017 class, then it will have two scholarships to use on the 2018 class. And so on. But that's also assuming that none of the players Syracuse signs in 2017 end up being one-and-done players, which isn't the safest of assumptions. It also assumes that Diagne, Lydon, and Howard will stay for their senior seasons, and that Moyer will stay for his junior season. Again, none of this is for certain.


Once again, we encounter a lot of "ifs" at this point. Only Moyer is scheduled to be on scholarship for 2019-20, but it's possible that Diagne, Lydon, or Howard could still be around, if any of them redshirt at some point and don't leave early. At this point, it's nearly impossible to know how many scholarships SU will have to use on members of the 2019 recruiting class. It all depends, of course, on how many scholarships Syracuse uses in earlier years and how long the team's scholarship players stick around.


If any of that was at all difficult to follow, here's the tabular form of what Syracuse is looking at through 2020:

2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
B.J. Johnson Chris McCullough Malachi Richardson Matthew Moyer
Ron Patterson Kaleb Joseph Moustapha Diagne
Chris McCullough Malachi Richardson Tyler Lydon
Kaleb Joseph Moustapha Diagne Franklin Howard
Tyler Roberson Tyler Lydon Matthew Moyer
DaJuan Coleman Franklin Howard
Chinonso Obokoh Matthew Moyer
Malachi Richardson
Moustapha Diagne
Tyler Lydon