Still reeling from the Bernie Fine scandal that threatened to rock the program earlier in the season and on the eve of the Big East Tournament, the investigative team at Yahoo! Sports dropped this bombshell on the Syracuse basketball program Monday and their off-the-court issues went from bad to worse. A three-month investigation into the Orange basketball program turned up four anonymous sources close to the team who revealed that, since 2001, at least 10 basketball players tested positive for banned recreational substances and all of those players were still allowed to practice and play when they should have been ineligible.
It took only two hours for Syracuse to issue a statement in response to the report, which reads:
We self-reported issues with drug testing to the NCAA, and there is currently an ongoing inquiry. The inquiry does not involve any current SU student-athletes. To ensure the integrity of the ongoing process, we are unable to comment further at this time.
The NCAA quickly confirmed the report and said the university “appropriately” self-reported the violations and that their investigation is still ongoing.
At first glance, it appears these allegations will have almost no impact on the current Orange, who are the #2 team in the country and the odds-on favorite to win the Big East Tournament that starts today in New York City. Syracuse already said that the investigation doesn’t involve any of their current players, and although it does seem like an unfortunately timed distraction for the Orange, they have already dealt with plenty of distractions this season and handled them admirably. If the current players can learn that one of their most-trusted assistant coaches has been accused of sexual abuse and still win 30 games, then they can also cope with reported drug policy violations that none of them were involved in.