Mike Waters, a fantastic Syracuse beat reporter for the Post-Standard, has reported that James Southerland’s ineligibility stems from a term paper in the first semester. Waters cites multiple sources that say the issue may surround a team tutor as well.
All three sources say Southerland’s temporary suspension was for a matter unrelated to his current ineligibility. However, that matter was cleared up quickly with Southerland making a payment to reimburse for improper benefits. The amount of Southerland’s payment is unknown, although one source thought it to be around $70.
After regaining his eligibility and playing against Providence, Southerland was ruled ineligible again two days later. According to two sources, the second suspension centers on a term paper.
One source said the NCAA questioned whether a tutor wrote a portion of Southerland’s term paper.
There are a lot of different reactions I have to this information. Number one, always be wary of an anonymous source. There are few things I hate more than someone who wants to come forward and say something, but won’t put their name on it. But at the same time, when a credible reporter like Mike Waters uses the sources, that means he trusts him. With Mike’s track record, if he trusts them I trust them.
And then there’s the improper benefits. Your the NCAA and your going to suspend a basketball player over $70? This topic has been widely debated in the past, but it is incredible hypocritical for the NCAA to have an issue with something so petty. The NCAA did get it right with allowing him to pay for whatever was given to him and let him play against Providence, but the fact that an issue like that arises is very frustrating to fans of a multi-million dollar sport. If the players were given a stipend of their jersey sales in stores, an issue like this could potentially be avoided. Maybe not, but I don’t see why it isn’t worth a shot.
More on Southerland as the story develops.