NCAA rules Syracuse must forfeit 1990 championship

June 11, 1995|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

The 1990 Syracuse lacrosse team, which routed Loyola in the NCAA final and is considered by many to be the best ever, will have to relinquish its national title and championship trophy, according to NCAA committee minutes.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled the university committed a secondary violation when Nancy Simmons, wife of lacrosse coach Roy Simmons Jr., co-signed for a car loan for star midfielder Paul Gait and his wife, Kathleen, during the 1990 season.

Simmons and school officials argued that Nancy Simmons was independent from her husband, and should not be considered a representative of the school.

"The NCAA is a puppy without a leg to stand on," Simmons said. "This is a cold, timid and heartless decision. This is not Miami football or UNLV basketball. Anybody making Miami give back a trophy? There were mitigating circumstances.

"My wife didn't make any payments. No money ever exchanged hands, just signatures," said Simmons, the only coach to win six national championships. "It had nothing to do with recruiting, and it didn't change the level of the playing field. It was a decision made between two independent women without my knowledge. will not accept this gutless decision in my heart and I will not give anything back."

The findings for the decision were revealed for the first time in minutes of a May meeting of the NCAA's Executive Committee. Gait was declared ineligible, and NCAA rules require a team to surrender its championship if it uses an ineligible player. In such cases, the runner-up isn't named the champion. For that reason, there will be no winner. Syracuse beat Loyola, 21-9, in the title game.

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