The co-authors of “Forever Orange,” the commemorative book highlighting 150 years of Syracuse University history, will be signing copies of the book later this month. Authors Scott Pitoniak ’77, a nationally honored columnist and best-selling author, and Rick Burton ’80,…
Message from Chancellor Syverud to the University Community
Dear Members of the University Community:
As I wrote to you in early March, the NCAA Committee on Infractions issued a report on March 6 finding that various violations of NCAA rules occurred at Syracuse University. We take the report and the violations it identifies very seriously, particularly those that involve academic integrity and the overall well-being of student-athletes. Some of these issues have already been addressed by changes made years ago, but we are working to do even more. This was the topic of conversation at a special meeting with faculty leaders held on Monday.
Today, I want to provide you an update on the University’s plans moving forward.
The University does not agree with all of the conclusions reached by the Committee on Infractions and does not agree that the full set of penalties imposed by the Committee are appropriate or equitable. We remain disturbed by the severity of certain penalties and the characterization by the NCAA of certain facts surrounding the case. After a full discussion with the Board of Trustees Athletics Committee, the University accepts some of the penalties imposed by the Committee, but will appeal the vacation of certain wins for the men’s basketball program and the reduction in men’s basketball scholarships.
The decision to appeal is not taken lightly. However, based on the facts and a review of previous NCAA infractions decisions, the University believes the impact of these specific penalties is excessive and disproportionate. The University also will support Coach Boeheim should he choose to appeal penalties that affect him personally.
As we work hard to make sure these past mistakes never happen again, it is also an opportunity to look toward the future. In recent weeks, I have had discussions with Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross and Head Coach Jim Boeheim about the best way to move forward.
Dr. Gross cares deeply about our University, our students-athletes, and the Athletics Department. Under his leadership, Syracuse Athletics has had strong and broad success. He led the University into the ACC, a stellar conference renowned for both its athletics competition and academic success. He hired an outstanding set of coaches, increased Athletics’ fundraising to its highest levels, and invested in an exceptional array of new student-athlete facilities. His branding efforts were an important component of the invitation to join the ACC and have raised the University’s profile in New York City and other key national regions. Overall, under his leadership, thousands of student-athletes have succeeded in competition, in the classroom, and in the world as proud Syracuse alumni.
As part of my discussions with him, Dr. Gross has asked to conclude his tenure as Director of Athletics and transition to a new role at the University that can benefit from his background and experience in the areas of marketing and advancement. He believes this transition will allow SU Athletics to move forward and position itself for continued future success. Effective today, Dr. Gross will serve as Vice President and Special Assistant to the Chancellor, and adjunct professor in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Dr. Gross has embraced this opportunity and we look forward to his continued contributions.
I have appointed Peter Sala, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities and the Managing Director of the Carrier Dome, to serve as Interim Director of Athletics. I am grateful that Floyd Little, Special Assistant to the Athletics Director, has agreed to counsel and assist Peter through this term as Interim Director.
Steve Ballentine, who is a Board of Trustees member and serves on the Board’s Athletics Committee, will chair a small committee to assist the University in the search for a new Director of Athletics. This committee will include: Trustee Robert Miron, Chairman of the Board’s Athletics Committee; Lavonda Reed, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs; Interim Athletics Director Sala; Barry L. Wells, Special Assistant to the Chancellor; a representative head coach; faculty and student representatives; and a representative from the Office of University Counsel, which oversees Athletic Compliance. I will also be asking the committee to review and recommend organizational and structural changes with a focus on further enhancing the overall student-athlete experience including the possible creation of a new senior-level position to manage all department operations.
Coach Jim Boeheim has been a mainstay at Syracuse University for more than one-third of our entire 144-year history. He enrolled as a student here in 1962 and has never left. Among the many roles he has held at Syracuse are student-athlete, graduate assistant, teacher, assistant coach, head coach, community stalwart, philanthropist, U.S. Olympian coach, and Hall of Fame member. In these roles, he has been the embodiment of Orange Pride.
I have also had recent discussions with Coach Boeheim about the Infractions Committee Report, and the future of his team and program. Coach Boeheim has assured me that he will respond thoughtfully and appropriately to the serious findings of the Infractions Committee Report. Coach Boeheim has also told me that he intends to retire as Head Coach in three years. His goal in making this decision and announcement now is to bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years, and enable and plan for a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership. Coach Boeheim’s commitment to ensuring that the men’s basketball program remains strong even after his tenure is just one more example of his deep loyalty to our University.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the extraordinary support, counsel, and hard work of many of you as our University works through these issues. Syracuse University is a great institution with a proud history, and this has been a tough time. Thanks for the manifold contributions of many people—including Athletics Director Daryl Gross and Coach Jim Boeheim—so much good has been accomplished here, and will be accomplished in the years ahead. Thank you for your faith and support.