Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State president plans statement on baseball team’s NCAA violations

The Wichita State baseball team rushes the field to congratulate Tanner Dearman whose single up the middle scored Joe Haddox to beat Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning at Eck Stadium Saturday. (March 29, 2014)
The Wichita State baseball team rushes the field to congratulate Tanner Dearman whose single up the middle scored Joe Haddox to beat Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning at Eck Stadium Saturday. (March 29, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

Wichita State president John Bardo will issue a statement Friday regarding the NCAA’s ruling on Wichita State baseball’s violations for providing improper apparel to athletes, according to athletic director Eric Sexton.

Sexton, coach Todd Butler and former coach Gene Stephenson were in a group that traveled to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis on Thursday. Sexton declined to provide details of the meeting, instead referring to Bardo’s statement scheduled for Friday.

In late September, Sexton said WSU had received a notice of allegations from the NCAA, signaling the end of the investigation part of the process. Sexton said the NCAA found that no person associated with WSU intentionally violated NCAA rules and no athletes were aware that their actions violated rules.

Last November, Butler discovered that his players received discounts, as much as 50 percent, on Under Armour apparel, through an account administered by former baseball administrative assistant Shelley Wombacher. NCAA rules allow athletes to purchase items related to their sport. Under Armour supplies WSU’s baseball uniforms and other apparel. However, athletes purchased hunting gear and other non-baseball clothing. On Feb. 14, four hours before WSU’s opening game against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, the NCAA suspended eight players from three to nine games. Eight players who purchased less than $100 worth of clothing paid back the money.

The NCAA reduced WSU’s penalty in half because it self-reported the violations, Sexton said in February. The violations occurred from 2011-14.

The hope of the athletic department is that WSU will avoid further penalties, such as scholarship reductions, because it self-reported the violations and imposed a penalty.

“We fully complied with everything we have been asked to comply with,” Sexton said in September. “We identified that mistakes were made. We took action. We held ourselves accountable.”

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

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