Published on March 8, 2016 at 11:56 pm Contact Annie: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Inside Manley Field House, student athletes weave in and out of computer labs, just across the hall from Director of Athletics Mark Coyle’s office and steps away from weight rooms, gym floors and fields.The building is like the Pentagon of Syracuse University’s Athletic Department — a headquarters for more than 100 daily tutor sessions, practices and administrative operations. It’s also a site that many members of the SU community continue to keep their eyes on.In March 2015, the NCAA released a 94-page report detailing numerous instances of misconduct into that department. A multiyear investigation uncovered drug policy violations, abuse of benefits and academic misconduct, among other infractions. In all, it caused the NCAA to deduce that SU did not have control over its athletics department.SU was handed sanctions that included a 5-year probation, scholarship reductions, vacation of wins and a 9-game suspension for men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim.At Manley Field House, there’s a tutor available for every student athlete, and officials are more committed to compliance with NCAA bylaws than in years before. But back on Main Campus, some questions about SU Athletics’ relationship with administrators and faculty endure.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAthletes’ days are jam-packed and demanding, said Steve Ishmael, wide receiver for SU’s football team. At the Stevenson Educational Center in Manley, tutors, administrators and academic coordinators help him with big picture things, like his schedule, and smaller details, like the proper place for a comma in his essay.But there are limits to how much tutors can help Ishmael and the other student athletes. Over the course of its investigation, the NCAA discovered multiple cases of academic misconduct. A paper written by Fab Melo was submitted for a grade change with citations added by an administrator. In another instance, a tutor gave false accounts of how many hours three football players spent at an internship.Tommy Powell, assistant provost for student-athlete development, redesigned SU’s academic services for student athletes when he came to SU in 2013. He increased the number of tutors from 35 to 140 and added more academic coordinators to the Stevenson Center, increasing the levels of oversight throughout the program.The process of ensuring compliance starts from the bottom-up. Tutors have to document sessions with student athletes, and coordinators review those forms to compile reports. Powell then looks over those reports for any issues and later meets with the vice chancellor and provost, who sends a report to the chancellor and the Board of Trustees.Powell uses the reports from coordinators, as well as other records, to track all student-athletes’ grade point averages, percentages of degree completion and other benchmarks set out by the NCAA. The benchmarks make up student-athletes’ academic progress rates, which determines whether athletes are on track for 5-year degree completion.Currently, all teams have at least 94 percent success rates, according to a Feb. 17 University Senate Committee on Instruction report. This metric does not account for graduation rates.All that flows into making sure our student athletes are meeting the NCAA requirements to participate. So when you see a student athlete out on the field on Saturday, there has been tremendous amounts of checks and balances to make sure that student can be on that field..Tommy PowellPowell said it helps that his title has a focus on academics rather than athletics, because it shows the program is making strides to be more present on campus. He also meets regularly with Rick Burton, SU’s faculty athletics representative for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA.Burton is also chair of the Athletics Compliance Oversight Committee, which was created last year. Chancellor Kent Syverud established the committee in light of the sanctions, Burton said, to work on “institutional protections to make sure that we are doing things the right way.”Around the same time that Syverud announced the committee, he met with faculty to discuss the sanctions and how SU was working to move forward.Faculty expressed concerns over transparency in the athletics budget, as well as SU Athletics’ overall role in relation to SU at large, said Joel Kaplan, associate dean for professional graduate studies in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.“The university community has been kept totally in the dark about the role of athletics at Syracuse University,” Kaplan said. “… The administration continues to refuse to open its books when it comes to the athletic budget and instead continues to make the academic units fund athletics.”In 2015, the total athletics budget was between $60 and $70 million. Sue Edson, executive senior associate athletics director and chief communications officer at SU, said she couldn’t say how much of the total budget is dedicated to student-athlete support services because SU is a private institution.Robert Van Gulick, chair of the Committee on Instruction, said his committee met with Powell at the end of the 2014-15 academic year to talk about academic integrity, student-athlete support services and how faculty can be better informed about how things work with student athletes. He said they were impressed by Powell’s efforts to bridge the gap between SU Athletics and SU.But he said he’d like to see more transparency about what SU Athletics’ role is in relation to SU, especially considering that the $16 million used for athletic scholarships comes from a portion of schools and colleges’ budgets set aside for financial aid, Van Gulick said.If the schools and colleges — and by extension the faculty — contribute to the welfare of student athletes, Van Gulick said they deserve to know more about what’s going on in student-athlete support services and the athletics department as a whole.“We’re trying to build some better bridges there … so that people could see this in a way where the two sides can work toward a common goal,” Van Gulick said. “And that goal is the academic success of student athletes.” Comments
Preston Wilson, ex-MLB player”It’s the first time I have ever seen it happen on this scale. The younger generation is saying it’s time for change. Few if any age 35 and up have weighed in[;] maybe they will follow the lead of those like (Joe Burrow) and (Trevor Lawrence) who are speaking up.”(Reply posted on his Twitter feed)Burrow, the first overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft, and Lawrence, the likely first selection in next year’s draft, posted tweets Friday saying that white people, and in particular white athletes like themselves, need to bring their influence to bear on the situation. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and ESPN host Jalen Rose have stood out in making similar appeals.SN’s Mike DeCourcy contributed to this report. RIVERA: Trevor Lawrence knows white athletes can’t ignore fight against racial injusticeBelow is a selection of the more insightful and forceful quotes pulled from social media platforms as the anger, frustration and sadness over Floyd’s death remains raw.Tom Izzo, Michigan State men’s basketball coach”Over the last few months we’ve often heard ‘we’re all in this together.’ That’s never been more true than it is now. If we are going to fight racism, it’s a burden we all share, regardless of the color of our skin. We are facing a giant problem, and the solutions aren’t easy — but that can’t stop us from trying.”(Statement posted on Michigan State Basketball’s Twitter feed)Dwane Casey, Pistons coach”We have to change the way we see and hear each other. We have to work together to find solutions to make the justice system just. Black, white and brown people have to work together to find new answers. The only way we can stop the systemic problems that people of color have faced all our lives is through honesty and transparency. We have to understand why people are at their limit at this moment. It takes empathy, in its truest form. It takes a culture shift, it takes action.”(Statement to USA Today Sports)MORE: WNBA’s Natasha Cloud challenges athletesByron Buxton, Twins outfielder”It’s unbearable to even think about what’s happening in our city and throughout the country, but things have to CHANGE. African Americans have been slaughtered left and right for nothing more than the color of our skin. That is reality and it has been ignored far too long. DEMAND PROGRESS – DEMAND JUSTICE for George Floyd.”(Posted on his Instagram feed)Marcus Stroman, Mets pitcher”Racism is engrained in our society/culture and the world seems incapable of change. To change the world we must begin with ourselves. Truly look in the mirror and identify if you’re part of the problem or the solution. Your true colors will always be revealed!(Posted on his Twitter feed)Asher Wojciechowski, Orioles pitcher”I will listen to your experiences, I will speak when I witness injustice, I will amplify the messages of the black community so your thoughts and ideas are heard in your own voice. I will educate myself. I am with you. I am your ally.”(Posted on his Twitter feed)Bob Huggins, West Virginia men’s basketball coach”No words or speech can adequately explain the pain the Floyd family and others in the country are currently feeling. I will do my part for my family, team and as an American to no longer stand for remaining quiet!(Posted on his Twitter feed)Matt Painter, Purdue men’s basketball coach”I will never know what it’s like to move through this world as a black person in America, and I can’t pretend to know what the answers are. What I do know is that I want to be part of the solution, and I believe that the adversity and prejudice that black people in America face is something we must all address and seek to remedy — together.”(Posted on his Twitter feed)Will Muschamp, South Carolina football coachEasy to do what is right. #CoachesStandforJustice pic.twitter.com/D1Rt06yJmq— Will Muschamp (@CoachWMuschamp) May 30, 2020(Posted on his Twitter feed)Logan Couture, Sharks forward”I’ve had the opportunity to play with some incredible teammates. Black, white, all colors. Getting to listen to them talk about things they have gone through in hockey/life is eye opening. As a society and as hockey players we are only scraping the surface in fixing what desperately needs fixing.”(Posted on his Twitter feed in reaction to comments by teammate Evander Kane, who is black)Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets forward”We need to stand with the black community and fundamentally change how the leadership in this country has dealt with racism. I’m sorry it has taken this long, but I’m hopeful that we can change this NOW.”(Posted on his Twitter feed; emphasis Wheeler’s. Wheeler is a Minnesota native.) The stream of athletes and coaches, black and white, reacting to the police killing Monday of George Floyd and racial injustice in the U.S. continued to flow Saturday. Two ideas converged: Work together to fight racism and, above all, do not stay silent any longer.Mostly missing were mentions of the nationwide demonstrating, rioting and looting that has occurred in the days after Floyd’s death at the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The focus instead was on getting all races to invest in eliminating race-based hate.