The Minnesota baseball program announced Wednesday that it will be unable to play its home games in February and March at the Metrodome, whose roof collapsed unde the weight of heavy snowfall on Dec. 12. This is awful news for the Golden Gophers and the other college and high school teams in the area, who rely on the dome in the cold winter months during the early part of the season.
About 300 college baseball games were scheduled for February and March in the dome, a facility official told the Associated Press. Typically in February, games are played from 8 a.m. to midnight several days per week.
Minnesota will work with the programs who it is scheduled to play in the Metrodome in the month of March to come up with alternate plans. Those plans will be revealed once the Gophers have worked with the respective teams on the final details. [...] Continue Reading »
Florida International star infielder Garrett Wittels and a group of friends were arrested in the Bahamas last week and charged with the rape of two 17-year-old American girls. Wittels and his friends met the two girls on Dec. 20 at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Paradise Island. They were released Thursday on $10,000 bond.
Wittels, a junior infielder, is slated to enter the 2011 season riding a 56-game hitting streak, the second-longest in Division I history. He is two games shy of Robin Ventura's record 58-game streak, set in 1987.
Wittels' father, Michael Wittels, told the Miami Herald that his son will be vindicated when all the facts come to light.
"Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time," Michael Wittels told the paper. "He's not doing well, obviously. He's blown away. He's devastated that someone would accuse him of this." [...] Continue Reading »
Former Arizona State coach Pat Murphy has released a statement in response to the NCAA Committee on Infractions' report on violations within the Sun Devils' program during his tenure. The report cited Murphy for a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and barred from participating in any recruiting calls for a one-year period.
He also was assessed a one-year show-cause penalty, which means, in the words of the official report, "any institution employing the former head coach during this one-year period shall be required to contact the office of the Committees on Infractions to review these penalties. Any employing institution shall also be required to send a report to the committee during the year of the show-cause period. This report shall document the institution's monitoring of the former head coach and confirm that he has complied with the provisions of the show-cause penalty." Essentially, any school that hires Murphy in the next year just has to make sure he does not participate in any recruiting calls.
Here is the text of Murphy's statement, in its entirety:
"The NCAA report confirms what I stated since the first day of the investigation. 'That I have NEVER intentionally or knowingly violated NCAA rules.' Now that the investigation is complete I am pleased that all can see whether violations were deemed major or secondary, there was no dishonesty or cheating and that no competitive advantage was sought. All of the violations were unintentional. My penalty of one year recruiting call restrictions indicates the NCAA realized that I was not the crux of the problem. Fortunately, the attempt to portray me as the sole responsible party has failed. Based on sanctions against the university its obvious that compliance is an ongoing problem. My evaluations and compliance record, including the ones done during the investigation speak volumes to my willingness to follow the rules. I do accept responsibility for not being well versed on some rules and interpretations, and the monitoring of my staff’s paperwork. I remind you that I was consistently applauded for my compliance record, in season ending reviews. [...] Continue Reading »
UPDATED: Thursday, 2:53 p.m. ET.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its report Wednesday on major and secondary violations within Arizona State's baseball program and assessed penalties, including a ban on 2011 postseason play.
The Sun Devils also will be placed on probation for three years and will forfeit two scholarships for one year "at the first opportunity, but no later than 2011-12," according to the report. ASU faces self-imposed recruiting restrictions—its coaches will not be allowed to make recruiting phone calls during the July 2011 recruiting period, and it will be limited to nine paid official visits for the 2010-11 recruiting year. And 44 of ASU's 49 wins from its 2007 College World Series team have been vacated—another self-imposed penalty.
Virgil Renzulli, vice president in ASU's office of public affairs, said the university is considering appealing the postseason ban. Renzulli told Baseball America that the school has about 15 days to make its appeal—which is based on existing evidence and testimony—and that it would "probably take a minimum of 120 days before we get an answer."
"The university agrees it could have monitored—and now does monitor—the program more closely and for that reason it self-imposed significant sanctions, including vacating all wins during the 2007 baseball season, including a conference championship and College World Series games," ASU said in a statement sent out by Renzulli. "However, many of the record keeping related violations were highly technical (some are not even violations under current NCAA rules) and one of the NCAA’s added sanctions is unduly harsh under the circumstances.
"Thus, ASU intends to appeal the NCAA report because the university disagrees with some of the findings of fact and the characterization of some infractions as major rather than secondary. The university also intends to appeal the additional sanction of banning post-season baseball play in 2011, which punishes many student athletes and coaches who were not involved in the rules violations."
But in a teleconference with reporters, infractions committee chairman Paul Dee emphasized that this is the ninth major violation for the Arizona State athletics department, which is the most of any NCAA institution. That track record works against ASU's chances to win any appeal. [...] Continue Reading »
As expected, Southern Illinois has promoted Ken Henderson from associate head coach to interim head coach for the 2011 season. Henderson, 50, succeeds his longtime friend Dan Callahan, who passed away on Nov. 15. Henderson has spent the last 20 years on the Salukis' coaching staff.
"I'm honored and humbled to be asked to lead the Saluki baseball program," Henderson said in a release. "I'm looking forward to continue working with the team we have this year, as they have a lot of talent and thus far have done everything we have asked of them."
Henderson has once before served as interim head coach for the Salukis. He was appointed that title midway through the 1994 season and led the team to a 12-8 record the rest of the way. Henderson guided Southern Illinois to a winning season after the club started the year winning just 15 of its first 33 games.
In his 26 years at the Division I level, which included three-year stints at Kansas State (1984-86) and Oral Roberts (1987-89), Henderson has helped guide his teams to a 744-711-2 record.
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