The Siena College men’s basketball team has been placed on three years of probation and fined $5,000 after being found guilty of committing four NCAA violations.
An NCAA release Monday detailed the Division I Committee on Infractions’ findings against the private school in Loudonville, N.Y. While the implicated coach isn’t named, the Level II NCAA Violations occurred during Jimmy Patsos’ tenure at Siena. The school was informed of its violations on Monday, including that “the former coach” gave money to players in the locker room after victories from 2015-2018.
The committee said that 28 student-athletes competed while ineligible due to receiving payments or receiving long-distance rides from staff members. A Siena statement said that the college conducted its own separate investigation, and that the players who received money gave it back through charitable donations.
Patsos also allowed impermissible coaching activity by telling the former director of basketball operations to assist in coaching. The remaining infractions were Patsos’ failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and failure to stop a program booster from interfering in the investigation. The booster interfered by telling an assistant strength coach to recant information he had reported about Patsos.
The Committee on Infractions said that Patsos claimed he misunderstood NCAA rules. He said he believed he could provide the cash, which ranged from about $60 to $100 payments, as an “occasional meal” and staff members could provide transportation as an “occasional ride.”
“Contrary to the head coach’s explanation, the benefits rules are well-known to the membership,” the committee said, noting that Patsos didn’t check with the NCAA compliance staff. “The head coach did not provide an occasional meal to student-athletes; he gave them cash. Likewise, he arranged for rides covering hundreds of miles, not reasonable local transportation on an occasional basis as permitted under NCAA rules.”
The three-year probation and $5,000 fine were handed down along with a three-year show-cause order for Patsos. If an NCAA school hires him during that time frame, he can’t provide any athletic-related duties unless the school shows cause the restrictions shouldn’t apply.
Siena also must vacate records in which basketball players participated while ineligible, which Siena must report in the next two weeks. The school must disassociate with the booster through March 8, 2023.
Siena (19-10), which is seeded first in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, didn’t receive a postseason ban.
Patsos resigned after the 2017-18 season, going 77-92 in five years with the program. Carmen Maciariello is now coaching the Saints.