Penalties for a second positive test included automatic suspension from practice and playing, plus mandatory drug counseling, and a player could not return to the team without being cleared by a counselor as being drug free. For a third positive test, a player was subject to termination of eligibility and expulsion from school, barring special intervention by the athletic director.
The policy stated that after a third failed test, the athletic director had the option of extending a “one-time conditional grace period” in which the athlete was subject to specific terms and conditions for corrective action during a predetermined period of time.
Two sources told Yahoo! Sports that of the 10 players, at least one player continued to play after failing four tests and another player played after failing three.
NCAA member schools are not required to have their own drug-testing policy, though most choose to do so because of potential legal and disciplinary ramifications. The NCAA itself tests at championship events, and will be conducting random testing in the NCAA basketball tournament that begins next week, but otherwise schools are left to police themselves for drugs on their own terms.
However, the NCAA alerts member schools that when setting internal testing procedures, the ability of the school to follow its own guidelines is subject to NCAA oversight and sanctioning. This is the regulation which puts Syracuse at risk for potentially failing to follow its own policies.
There is no uniform national drug policy, nor do most conferences have a set testing protocol or penalty structure for their member schools. In fact, Big East associate commissioner for compliance Joseph D’Antonio told Yahoo! Sports last week that he doesn’t even know what the drug policies are from school to school within the league. Syracuse is a member of the Big East.
Should Syracuse come under NCAA scrutiny for drug-testing failures, it would be the latest in a sometimes tumultuous decade for Boeheim’s program. Multiple players have had legal or disciplinary issues over that span, including Billy Edelin, Eric Devendorf, Jonny Flynn, Rick Jackson, Josh Wright, Dayshawn Wright, Scoop Jardine and Fab Melo. A previous Yahoo! Sports report also found that a sports agency secured a $50,000 loan for the uncle of then-guard Donté Greene, in hopes of signing Greene once he departed for the NBA.
Most recently, Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine was accused of sexual molestation by a former Orange ball boy and his brother. While charges were not filed against Fine, he was ultimately fired from his coaching position.