Southern California has suspended head coach Frank Cruz from his coaching duties pending an investigation by the university to determine whether NCAA Countable Athletically Related Activities occurred within his program. Associate head coach Dan Hubbs will serve as interim head coach during the investigation.
NCAA bylaws restrict the number of hours that players can spend in activities directed by or supervised by the coaching staff.
"We take any potential NCAA infraction seriously," UCS athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. "USC Vice President for Athletic Compliance Dave Roberts and his staff will investigate whether the baseball program exceeded the allowable CARA hours, and will do so diligently and expeditiously. Pending the results of the investigation, we have suspended Coach Cruz from all coaching duties."
This news is just the latest blow to an athletics department that has fallen upon hard times in recent years, as Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times recently detailed. The once-proud baseball program hasn't made a regional since 2005, a year before former athletics director Mike Garrett made the bizarre decision to oust longtime coach Mike Gillespie, one of the most respected coaches on the West Coast.
Gillespie's successor, his son-in-law Chad Kreuter, was a disaster, and the Trojans took a step backward in Cruz's second year at the helm last year, going 8-22 in Pacific-12 Conference play.
Klein asked Haden two weeks ago whether he would cast a wider net if he were to conduct another baseball coaching search.
"I just hope Frank has a great season this year," Haden responded.
It isn't off to a great start.
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