Message from Interim Provost Liz Liddy on Academic Integrity
The following message was sent to members of the faculty yesterday.
Dear members of the Syracuse University faculty,
A majority of you are away from campus this week, enjoying what I hope is a restful Spring Break. Despite the timing, I want to reach out to you personally regarding the NCAA report that was issued on Friday.
Reading the news headlines throughout the past few days has not been easy. Like you, I take great pride in Syracuse University and I recognize how important this institution is to all of us. To see the University’s name connected to these issues is disheartening. For many years, NCAA rules had kept the University from commenting about the investigation before the report was issued on Friday. We were delivered a copy of the 94-page report just two hours before the NCAA made it public and, as you might imagine, there was and is much in the report to read and analyze. Since that time, Chancellor Syverud and I, along with the entire executive team, have worked diligently to fully understand the report, the issues raised, and the sanctions imposed.
Although we do not agree with all the conclusions reached by the NCAA, including some of the findings and penalties, we do take very seriously issues of academic integrity, as I know do all of you.
Chancellor Syverud and I want to ensure that events like the ones detailed in the NCAA report never happen again. Beginning in 2009, the University fundamentally restructured the entire student-athlete academic support office so that it now reports solely to Academic Affairs, and in 2013 created a new position for an Assistant Provost for Student-Athlete Development. Since that time, our student-athletes continue to improve their overall GPAs. In fact, just last semester, 10 teams had semester GPAs at or above 3.0 and 134 student-athletes had a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
In addition, the University:
- Doubled the number of full-time academic support staff for our student-athletes
- Established an Athletics Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees to oversee the athletics department and receive reports of athletics issues, including compliance matters
- Created an Athletics Compliance Oversight Committee that includes the University’s Faculty Athletics Representative Rick Burton and a representative from Academic Affairs
- Implemented a new and wide-ranging enhanced compliance training program for all student-athletes and coaches focused on NCAA, ACC, and University rules and policies
- Redesigned the University’s voluntary Drug Education and Deterrence Program for student-athletes, consistent with best practices and peer institutions
- Assigned oversight of the Office of Athletics Compliance to the University General Counsel
- Separated employment with two former athletics staff members found to have been involved in academic misconduct
- Disassociated non-SU affiliated persons responsible for, or involved in, violations
There is still more we can and must do to fully integrate the athletics and academic experiences.
On Monday, Chancellor Syverud and I will be meeting with deans, department chairs, and other key members of the faculty leadership to answer questions about the NCAA report and the University’s academic integrity policy—especially as it applies to modifying a student’s grade. If you have questions, please be sure to share them with your dean or department chair beforehand so we may respond appropriately. We expect to have additional opportunities very soon for faculty to discuss these important issues with us.
In the next week or so, a decision will be made regarding the University’s next steps on this matter. Whether we decide to appeal portions of the report is yet to be determined. Please know that the Office of the Provost and Chancellor Syverud are fully committed to keeping Syracuse University a place where academic integrity is respected and honored, where students can experience the best possible education, and where faculty can teach and pursue their scholarship with pride.
We look forward to providing you with additional updates as this process continues on. Thank you for your support.