Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State baseball’s wait on NCAA decision continues after trip to Indianapolis

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 is still waiting on resolution from the NCAA on the investigation into impermissible apparel benefits provided by the baseball program, according to a news release from the university on Friday.

“We appreciated being given the full opportunity to present the university’s position related to an unintentional violation in our baseball program that we reported to the NCAA in November 2013,” president John Bardo said in the release. “Committee members listened carefully to our presentation and answers to their questions. I personally was very appreciative of how well prepared the committee was and how familiar members were with our case. We now look forward to receiving the committee’s ruling.”

Bardo, athletic director Eric Sexton and baseball coach Todd Butler and others traveled to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis on Thursday for a hearing. Former baseball coach Gene Stephenson, who traveled separately, also attended.

Sexton declined to comment on Friday morning, saying “the NCAA takes its confidentiality agreements seriously.” Stephenson also declined to comment.

“In keeping with the specific instructions of the Committee on Infractions, Wichita State will not comment further until receiving the committee’s ruling,” Bardo said in the news release.

When that ruling, and perhaps additional penalties, will come down is unknown.

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 a former baseball administrative assistant. 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 2011-13.

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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