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Vacated Syracuse Wins Give Marquette Basketball The 2011-12 Big East Regular Season Title

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BACK TO BACK CHAMPS, BABY!

Yep, you're finally #1, Jae.
Yep, you're finally #1, Jae.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the NCAA announced that Syracuse basketball would have to vacate eight regular season Big East wins from the 2011-12 season.  That year, Syracuse finished the regular season as the Big East champions with a record of 17-1.  Without those eight wins, Syracuse is no longer on top of the league standings for that season, and thus, the crown falls to the team that didn't cheat to get there.

That team, with a record of 14-4, is YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles.

That NCAA ruling, combined with MU's 14-4 record in the 2012-13 season, gives Marquette back to back Big East regular season titles.

On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, Syracuse announced that sophomore center Fab Melo was ineligible to play in the NCAA tournament.  This was the second time that Melo had been sat down as a result of an eligibility question that season, and at the time, jokes immediately began to fly about how Marquette was the rightful champion, as it seemed rather unlikely that Syracuse's eight regular season wins after Melo's return would stand.

You can read the official explanation of what the NCAA discovered here (skip to page 23, where Melo is very obviously Student Athlete #7), but here's the short version:

  • Melo wasn't eligible because he didn't meet the "progress towards a degree" standard
  • They found a way to improve a grade from the year before, as long as Melo did the work
  • Melo didn't do the work himself
  • The low level athletic department staffers that did it for him were dumb enough to use a networked computer under their own log in credentials
  • Network computer metadata makes it very easy to find out that Melo didn't do any of the work

Y'know, your basic academic cheating stuff.

Congratulations to Buzz Williams, Jae Crowder, Darius Johnson-Odom, and everyone involved in the 2011-12 Big East champion Marquette Golden Eagles!  I'll expect the banner to be hanging in the Bradley Center by the time the 2015-16 season starts.