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Boeheim's suspension upheld, moved to non-conference

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The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee has made its ruling on Syracuse Basketball Head Coach Jim Boeheim's appeal of a nine game suspension handed down as a result of a 10-year investigation into the university's athletic department. The original suspension, as well as loss of 12 (now 8) basketball scholarships over four years, and vacation of more than 100 wins was handed down in March. The suspension was supposed to begin at the start of ACC play, but the Infractions Appeals Committee agreed to commute the suspension to the non-conference schedule effective immediately.

As a result, Wednesday's overtime loss to Wisconsin will be the final game in which Boeheim will be on the sidelines until January 9th against North Carolina. Boeheim was informed of the ruling following the Wisconsin game. The suspension will begin effective 12:00 am Saturday, giving Boeheim two days to discuss with his team and the staff, the course of action for the next month. Over the course of the suspension he cannot attend games, practices, travel with the team, or contact the players in person or via phone. To his knowledge, he said, he was unaware if he was allowed to even work from his office. He will also discontinue his contractual TV and radio show appearances.

Boeheim was overall displeased with the ruling, as he cited several other instances where coaches were given lesser suspensions despite their direct knowledge of infractions. He was also upset at the timing of the ruling, giving him just two days to set affairs in order despite the appeal being made weeks ago.

In a statement Boeheim said:

"Today, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee rightfully determined that the NCAA Committee on Infractions abused its discretion in imposing a nine conference-game suspension based on my alleged violation of the Head Coach Responsibility Bylaw.

"The NCAA Infractions Appeal Committee agreed that the NCAA Committee on Infractions ignored the fact that I had no involvement in any of the underlying violations in this case, that I did not acquiesce in any of those underlying violations, in imposing its unprecedented suspension. The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee also agreed that this case was in sharp contrast to cases where head coaches were directly involved in a number of underlying violations, including unethical conduct violations, recruiting violations, and violations of the NCAA legislation regarding extra benefits. At the same time, however, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee decided to immediately impose a nine-game suspension, which is longer than any of the suspensions imposed in those cases.

"Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed with the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee's decision, and in particular, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee giving us only two days to make this transition, when the appeal was argues weeks ago. However, I have the full faith in the ability of Coach Hopkins, my staff, and our seniors to lead the Men's Basketball Program through this difficult time, and I look forward to returning to the bench on January 9 against the University of North Carolina.

"I am considering my options moving forward and will have no further comment regarding this matter at this time."

Associate Head Coach Mike Hopkins, named as the heir apparent to the head coaches position after Boeheim announced he will retire in three years, will take over head coaching duties over the course of the suspension.

Syracuse plays former Big East rival Georgetown on Saturday.