Report: Syracuse violated internal drug policy, gave players passes

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As Syracuse prepares for the Big East tournament after a superb regular season – 30-1 overall, a Big East title and a Top 5 ranking all season – coach Jim Boeheim must now deal with another off-court issue.

A report by Yahoo! Sports claims the program failed to adhere to its internal drug policies and allowed players to practice and compete in games when it shouldn’t have. Four sources reportedly told Yahoo! That at least 10 players since 2001 tested positive for banned substances or a recreational substance. Syracuse also reportedly violated its drug policy by not properly counting tests.

Another source, a Syracuse basketball player, told the site that the NCAA questioned him regarding the school’s drug policy.

The violations reportedly could involve the 2003 national championship team, but it’s unclear if any of this will affect this season’s team.

“Obviously, I’m not going to talk about anything at all,” Boeheim told the site.

So, if all this relates to an internal policy and likely relates to recreational drug use, what are the potential consequences? Yahoo! Also addressed that. From the story:

If Syracuse knowingly violated its own drug policies, it could trigger the NCAA’s “Willful Violators” clause, which allows the association to bypass its four-year statute of limitations in favor of levying sanctions as far back as the first in a series of continued infractions. A willful violation is considered one that occurs during a pattern of deliberate or intentional rule-breaking.

Beyond statute-of-limitations issues, Syracuse could also be charged with lack of institutional control for failing to adhere to its own drug policy, similar to sanctions recently levied against Baylor University. A wide-ranging NCAA inquiry into the Bears’ basketball program in 2005 revealed the athletic department failed to follow its established guidelines by concealing positive marijuana tests for three players. A report released by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions after the Baylor investigation stated: “The failure of the university to follow its own [drug testing] procedures demonstrated a lack of institutional control.”

Coming on the heels of the Bernie Fine allegations from earlier this season, there’s no the Orange are able to focus despite any off-court allegations and reports. They’ve been one of the season’s best teams, dominating the Big East and assuming the top spot in the polls for weeks.

Same goes for Boeheim, who’s certainly weary of anything unrelated to basketball right now.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Boeheim told Yahoo! Sports. “I would not comment on anything like that. Good luck with your story.”

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