NCAA Investigations

Breakdown of Syracuse’s violations of its own drug policy

Syracuse University failed to follow its own written drug policy, according to an NCAA report that was released Friday.

In its 94-page report, the NCAA noted that student-athletes who tested positive for banned substances were generally not withheld from competition. Syracuse had a written policy, however head basketball coach Jim Boeheim and the athletics director admitted they did not follow the policy, according to the report.

According to the report, the university developed a written drug testing policy in May 2000, and the policy remained largely unchanged until 2009. The policy outlined consequences for positive tests, which are as follows:

  • First positive test: a student athlete becomes ineligible until their head coach notified their parents
  • Second positive test: the student-athlete is required to be removed from the squad until a counselor advised the team physician that they were no longer using a prohibited substance
  • Third positive test: the student-athlete’s eligibility is required to be terminated, and all athletically related financial aid be withdrawn at the end of the semester

The report said that, based on interviews with the assistant director of athletics for sports medicine, student-athletes tested positive on more than one occasion, and were not typically withheld from practice or competition. He could not recall a time where a student-athlete was withheld from competition since 2000, according to the report.

At the hearing in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, both Boeheim and the director of athletics admitted they did not strictly follow the written policy. According to the report, Boeheim said that he had student-athletes test positive, and rather than call their parents, he talked to them himself.


The report also noted that Boeheim said at the hearing that he did not call the parents because the director of athletics at the time told him he did not have to, and he did not know that failing to follow the policy violated NCAA rules.

At the hearing, the director of athletics defended Boeheim’s decision not to call parents, saying the policy was confusing. He said there was an “unwritten policy,” in which it was known coaches were not going to call parents, according to the NCAA’s report.

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