WSU backs out on baseball appeal

Sports Editor

Wichita State decided to not appeal the NCAA sanctions handed down to the baseball team Tuesday.

In a statement released Tuesday, University President John Bardo said, “After a careful review of the issues associated with an appeal of the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ decision in our recently completed baseball case, I have decided that it is not in the best interest of the University to proceed with such an appeal.  This is not a decision that was made lightly or without proper counsel.”

Bardo also said in the statement that he personally thinks the penalty to vacate the wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons is too harsh, but guidelines for such an appeal are specific and he could not conclude that the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions “deviated from its authority or abused its discretion.”

Below is a timeline of events detailing the progression of sanctions.

June 4, 2013:

Head baseball coach Gene Stephenson is fired.

June 16, 2013:

Todd Butler is hired as head baseball coach.

November 2013:

Head Coach Todd Butler discovered that baseball players were using a 50-percent discount provided by a former administrative assistant to purchase shoes, clothing, hunting gear and other non-athletic items. Butler reported this to Wichita State and WSU reported it to the NCAA.

Jan. 29:

The NCAA handed WSU’s baseball team with a one-year probation, a $5,000 fine and order to vacate all wins which any players participated while ineligible during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Bardo said in a statement on Jan. 29 that the punishment was appropriate except the university would appeal the sanction in regards to vacated wins.

The current baseball coaching staff was not implicated as guilty parties.

Feb. 6:

At WSU baseball media day, Head Coach Todd Butler said he was for the appeal. “I’m for the appeal, for the wins and the conference championship and for all the players and the coaches that have been here,” Butler said. “Our guys did the best they could. Tough circumstances.”

Feb. 12:

Former Wichita State baseball coach Gene Stephenson was cleared by the NCAA of any involvement in the violations, according to a story by the Wichita Eagle. Stephenson received a letter from Joel D. McGorley, managing director of the NCAA Office of the Committees on Infractions. It said the NCAA will maintain Stephenson’s individual record.

Tuesday:

A statement from Bardo said that WSU would not proceed with an appeal in regards to the NCAA’s order to vacate all of the baseball team’s wins in which any players participated while ineligible during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.