Before Paschu Chukwu confirmed on Sunday his intention to transfer from Providence to Syracuse, it was assumed that SU would begin its scholarship reduction penalty during the upcoming 2015-16 season.
That penalty, handed down in March as part of NCAA sanctions against SU, strips the Orange of three scholarships per year for four years. That means the team can carry only 10 scholarship players per season during the penalty, unless Syracuse wins its appeal of the sanctions and gains back scholarships. Chukwu's commitment puts SU at 11 scholarship players, which will delay the start of the penalty until the 2016-17 season.
His commitment will also affect the number of scholarships Syracuse can offer to players in upcoming recruiting classes. Assuming SU does not win its appeal, here is what the Orange's scholarship situation might look like while it serves its penalty from the 2016-17 season through the 2019-20 season:
Of the 11 scholarship players currently on the roster, nine will be eligible to return for the 2016-17 season. Only Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije are entering their final season of eligibility. So Syracuse will, theoretically, have only one scholarship available for the Class of 2016. That scholarship will be used on small forward Matthew Moyer, who has already committed to the Orange.
However, another spot could open up if a player either leaves early for the NBA Draft or transfers elsewhere. This offseason alone, Syracuse saw Chris McCullough leave early for the NBA and both B.J. Johnson and Ron Patterson transfer.
Malachi Richardson, the Orange's lone incoming five-star recruit, figures to be a potential one-and-done player. Even if he doesn't leave, sophomore Chinonso Obokoh is seemingly a likely candidate to transfer. The 2016-17 team would feature Chukwu, DaJuan Coleman, Moustapha Diagne and Tyler Roberson in addition to Obokoh in the frontcourt. That's a crowded crop of big men, and Obokoh might end up chasing more playing time at a different school.
One way or another, Syracuse will likely play the 2016-17 season with 10 scholarship players. If players unexpectedly leave for the NBA or transfers, SU will try to fill those spots with recruits from the Class of 2016.
Of the Orange's current players, Coleman, Obokoh and Roberson will play out their final seasons of eligibility during the 2016-17 season. Following that logic, the Orange will have three scholarships to offer to recruits in the Class of 2017.
Syracuse has already offered scholarships to a number of those recruits, most notably small forward Michael Porter, ranked No. 2 in the class by ESPN and Rivals.
It's difficult to know how many scholarships Syracuse will have available for the Class of 2018. Even if it's assumed that SU will have 10 players on scholarship during the 2017-18 season, it's possible that all of those players could be eligible to return for the 2018-19 season.
Right now, only Kaleb Joseph is slated to be a senior during the 2017-18 season. But, theoretically, he could transfer before his senior season and SU could fill his spot with either a transfer or a recruit in the Class of 2016 or 2017. That player, unlike Joseph, would likely be eligible to play during the 2018-19 season.
As far away as 2019 might be, it's already clear that Syracuse should have a number of scholarships available for that year's recruiting class. As the roster currently stands, SU will have five players -- this year's four freshmen and Chukwu -- coming off the books following the 2018-19 season.
Richardson might depart early, but that still leaves Chukwu, Diagne, Franklin Howard and Tyler Lydon, all four of which are likely four-year players. And if they all play at SU through 2019, that means Syracuse would have four scholarships to use on the Class of 2019.
The 2019-20 Syracuse team, it's worth noting, will be the second led by Mike Hopkins, who was recently named head coach-designate and will take the helm following Jim Boeheim's expected retirement in 2018.
|Paschal Chukwu||Paschal Chukwu||Paschal Chukwu||Matthew Moyer|
|DaJuan Coleman||Moustapha Diagne||Moustapha Diagne|
|Moustapha Diagne||Franklin Howard||Franklin Howard|
|Franklin Howard||Kaleb Joseph||Tyler Lydon|
|Kaleb Joseph||Tyler Lydon||Matthew Moyer|
|Tyler Lydon||Matthew Moyer||Malachi Richadson|
|Matthew Moyer||Malachi Richardson|