Scandal rocks Binghamton men's basketball team

SUNY Binghamton's athletic department has been embroiled in a scandal involving the men's basketball team for the past month.

On Sept. 23, star guard Emanuel Mayben was arrested in Troy, N.Y. on charges of cocaine distribution and possession. According to the police report, Mayben had 3.4 grams of cocaine at the time of his arrest. When he pleaded not guilty to felony charges, he was immediately dismissed from the team.

At one time Mayben was considered the No. 1 recruit in his age group out of the Albany area, but concerns about his academics prevented him from being accepted into a major program. Last spring he led the Bearcats to a historic season as the team finished with a record 23-8 season and the first NCAA Tournament berth in school history.

That Friday, Sept. 25, head coach Kevin Broadus announced that five more players had been dismissed from the team. Broadus did not give reasons for the dismissals. Star players Malik Alvin and Derrick Rivera, along with Corey Chandler, Paul Crosby and David Fine were all allowed to remain in school despite their dismissals.

On Sept. 29 in a press release, Binghamton President Lois DeFleur announced a series of sweeping changes to the department. Joel Thirer resigned as director of health, physical education and athletics, and was assigned to the Provost's office.

In addition, senior associate athletic director James Norris was named interim athletic director. DeFleur also called for an independent audit of the school's athletic program to "ensure that we are following America East and NCAA policies and procedures."

Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the SUNY system, issued a statement on Oct. 2 that an independent audit would be initiated by the Executive Committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees. The school announced that Judge Judith Kaye, the recently retired chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, would undertake the investigation.

"I am pleased to be assisting the State University of New York in this important matter." Kaye said in a press release. "I look forward to working with the SUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to conduct a thorough and comprehensive review and investigation and to report my findings and recommendations as expeditiously as possible."

On Oct. 14 the scandal deepened when Broadus was placed on paid leave from his $217,000-per-year job for NCAA recruiting violations. The violations, self-reported by the school, alleged that Broadus had improper contact with two recruits. Assistant coach Mark Macon, a former NBA and Temple University player, replaced Broadus as head coach.

Kaye issued a preliminary report to the SUNY Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Oct. 20. James Van Voorst, the vice president for administration at Binghamton, said in an e-mail, "We are working closely with Judge Kaye and her team to ensure that they have the resources, documents and information they need to conduct this audit in a comprehensive, thorough and timely manner."

The report has not been made available to the public and several members of the Binghamton athletic department - including Norris and John Hartrick, the associate director of athletics for communications - did not return several phone calls requesting comment.

According to a report by the Associated Press from Oct. 20, the SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Carl Hayden said that because of Zimpher's immediate action, the NCAA and the America East Conference have agreed not to start their own investigations at this time. The report also stated that Zimpher had ordered that all records be protected from destruction in order to aid Kaye's investigation.