NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Syracuse has been under investigation for possible NCAA violations, mostly in its basketball program, for at least a year, according to two reports.
CBSSports.com, citing an unidentified source, reported Wednesday that the school has received a letter of preliminary inquiry from the NCAA.
The Post-Standard reported NCAA investigators have been conducting interviews with Syracuse employees and former employees. The newspaper said the investigation includes the handling of former player Fab Melo’s academic eligibility.
In 2012, the star center was declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament days before it started.
“Same story they had last year at this time,” coach Jim Boeheim said in San Jose, Calif., before the Orange played Montana in their opening game of the NCAA tournament. “I guess that’s annual. I guess next year we’ll get it again.”
Boeheim would not answer any specific questions about the report.
“That’s fine, I don’t mind,” said Boeheim. “You can ask a hundred (questions).”
Boeheim also said he wasn’t bothered by the timing of it on the eve of the tournament.
“We’re concerned about playing Montana,” he said. “What people write or say, you know, there’s 30,000 people in the Dome yelling at me all the time. People yell at their television sets. I tell them I can’t hear them, but they still yell at them. There’s no distractions for me. And these players, there’s absolutely no distractions for them. They’re here to play Montana and that’s it.”
The school also acknowledged last year that the college sports governing body had inquired into old allegations that players were allowed to practice and play despite being in violation of the school’s drug policy.
This season, forward James Southerland sat out six games during the season for an academic issue.
CBSSports.com reported the investigation is not related to sexual assault allegations made against former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine in 2011. Federal authorities in November dropped their investigation into one of the sexual abuse claims that cost Fine his job.
Point guard Michael Carter-Williams said this was the first he heard about the NCAA probe.
“I don’t have any idea what it’s about and I’m sure my teammates don’t know anything or I would have heard,” he said. “To be honest, we are going to avoid any distractions and just focus on our game. When you get to the tournament no games will be easy.”
School spokesman Kevin Quinn declined to provide details.
“As we said last year at this time, we are collaborating with the NCAA as part of an ongoing inquiry. Given this process is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time,” he said.
An NCAA spokeswoman also declined comment.
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