Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State vacates 69 baseball victories, 2013 NCAA appearance

Gene Stephenson’s official coaching record has 69 fewer victories, one of the penalties imposed on Wichita State for rules violations in 2012-13.
Gene Stephenson’s official coaching record has 69 fewer victories, one of the penalties imposed on Wichita State for rules violations in 2012-13. The Wichita Eagle

The final cost of Wichita State’s violation of NCAA rules for impermissible benefits is 69 baseball victories, parts of two seasons of statistics, an NCAA regional appearance and one trophy.

WSU had until April 1 to update its record books and comply with the penalties handed down by the NCAA in January. That work is done.

“Now we’re moving forward,” WSU athletic director Eric Sexton said.

WSU vacated 30 victories from the 2012 season and 39 from 2013. Former coach Gene Stephenson’s career wins total fell to 1,768, down from 1,837. Stephenson is third on the career wins list for NCAA Division I, behind Texas’ Augie Garrido (1,938) and Florida State’s Mike Martin (1,839).

At Eck Stadium, the façade over the sky boxes on the third-base side no longer lists 2013 among the program’s NCAA regional appearances. WSU sent the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trophy back to the conference office in St. Louis. WSU’s record book is updated to reflect the vacated wins from 2012 and 2013. The record book no longer lists 2013 statistics for players Daniel Kihle and Tanner Kirk, the only Shockers remaining on the roster who were involved in the violations.

The violations, WSU determined, began early in the 2012 season, exempting the first five wins of that season from the recount. WSU’s 2012 record is now listed as 5-25 overall, 0-9 in the MVC in the record book, instead of 30-25, 12-9. In 2013, the record is 0-28, 0-6 instead of 39-28, 15-6.

Stephenson remains angry that WSU chose not to appeal the NCAA’s decision to vacate the wins and statistics. When the NCAA announced the penalties, university president John Bardo said he intended to appeal. However, WSU did not appeal. Bardo said that while he disagreed with the ruling, the committee’s actions and its decision didn’t meet the NCAA’s standard for an appeal.

“I’m deeply disappointed and will never understand why the university didn’t support us better and appeal,” Stephenson said. “What do you have to lose by appealing?”

Stephenson’s attempt to appeal was rejected by the NCAA.

“According to the NCAA because Gene was not found to have violated any bylaw, he was not penalized,” wrote Paul Schoonover, Stephenson’s attorney, in an email. “Under the bylaws only a person or entity against whom a penalty is imposed by the Committee on Infractions may appeal. This is a strange way of thinking when common sense causes one to conclude easily that Gene is certainly adversely affected by the penalty.”

Assistant director of media relations Tami Cutler changed information in WSU’s on-line record book to reflect the penalties. The table of contents page now informs readers how wins and statistics vacated are marked. A similar message introduces WSU’s career statistics, listing 11 players affected from the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

“The asterisk key got a good workout,” she said.

The NCAA, however, did not require WSU to do as much updating as previously feared. Cutler said she was not required to update team statistics (the 2013 Shockers set a program record with a .977 fielding percentage), erase players and their stats from record books or comb through box scores and change totals.

“Unless (athletes) are in (NCAA) record books, it’s not something they’re that worried about,” Cutler said. “They said ‘Don’t waste your time and don’t delete anything.’”

In January, the NCAA hit WSU with those penalties, one year of probation and a $5,000 fine. The NCAA found that 21 players improperly received discounts on non-baseball merchandise from the program’s athletic apparel manufacturer.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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