Syracuse Orange star safety Phillip Thomas was suspended this week, and reports said his eligibility for the final two games of the season was in jeopardy. As it turns out, the last two games of the season were a small part of his punishment.
The school announced Friday night that Thomas has been suspended for one year for a violation of Athletics Department policy.
The loss is a big one for the Orange, who need one win in their final two games to become bowl eligible. The junior leads Syracuse in tackles with 82 and tops the Big East Conference - and ranks third nationally - with six interceptions.
The Orange had been struggling defensively even with Thomas, giving up 27 or more points in three consecutive games, all losses. Syracuse moved to 5-2 with a surprising 49-23 win against West Virginia on Oct. 21, but has lost three straight since to even the team's record and leave the Orange's bowl eligibility in question.