Pat Murphy Leaves Arizona State
When Arizona State beat North Carolina 12-5 in a College World Series elimination game on June 18 Pat Murphy collected the 1,000th win of his coaching career. Who would have thought at the time that it could also be the last win of his career? ASU was
eliminated by Texas a day later in Omaha, and what has transpired in the time since then has easily been the top college baseball story of the year.
Arizona State announced Murphy’s “resignation” on Nov. 20, ending his 15-year reign in the desert that saw his Sun Devils advance to Omaha four times. However, Murphy tells a different story (or at least he did at one time).
About three weeks after his “resignation” was announced (a resignation that has never been publicly recognized by the NCAA) Murphy told the Arizona Republic newspaper “Without warning or explanation I was terminated as Arizona State head baseball coach. This was a decision—unprecedented in its timing—that was not dictated by me and isn’t something I agree with. I look forward to my next job coaching in the NCAA.”
The “He Said – She Said” just kept getting stranger after that. ASU Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love issued a statement responding to media reports that NCAA sanctions could be heading Arizona State’s way (although she never mentioned any possbile sanctions). The statement read like this:
“This statement is in response to recent media coverage. Arizona State University’s athletics program has an unyielding commitment to rules compliance. We adhere to policies that govern fair play, and when called into question, have embarked on self-evaluation to determine both the facts of the matter and, if necessary, corrective action. The style with which we proactively and transparently manage, self-correct if needed, and report findings to authorities (even inviting authorities to jointly participate in preliminary reviews), has been cited by the organizations that govern us as model management.”
“In a recent compliance review conducted by the Pacific-10 Conference in conjunction with the NCAA recertification process the following statement was made about ASU: “In every key area, the vital components of an effective compliance program are in place, and they are functioning properly.”
“External reviews of our compliance program go well beyond the NCAA prescription. In fact, the number and regularity of our external audits has been cited as an industry standard.”
“Intercollegiate Athletics at ASU’s mission consists of three parts: educating and graduating our student-athletes, playing by the rules, and winning at the championship level. All three parts of the mission are critical to our success and, when any one element is not being served, we take appropriate action to address the problem.”
Within a day the Arizona Republic published the alleged NCAA infractions facing ASU that it says Love received on Nov. 19 – the day before Murphy’s “resignation” was announced.
Here are the alleged infractions:
1. Baseball officials violated a one-call-per-week rule by making at least 490 phone calls to prospective athletes between January 2004 and June 2009, the NCAA said.
2. Baseball coach Pat Murphy and four others allegedly committed ethical violations and compromised the NCAA investigation by discussing, and preparing spreadsheets on, matters related to the probe.
3. A then-assistant coach engaged in unethical conduct by denying he had conversations with another staff member about improper phone calls to prospects, the NCAA said.
4. Murphy and a former staffer violated phone-call and other rules in recruiting a prospective athlete.
5. Former athletes, designated as student managers, performed on-field coaching duties during games and batting practices. Their involvement violated regulations that limit the number of coaches.
6. Baseball athletes received impermissible training at non-ASU sports centers between spring 2004 and spring 2008 for a total of $63,000 in extra benefits.
7. Twenty athletes received a combined $5,889 for work they did not do in Murphy’s Programs for Youth program.
8. Murphy failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance with NCAA rules and to monitor practices of baseball administrators between January 2004 and June 2009, the NCAA alleged.
9. ASU violated institutional control principles related to allegations No. 1, 5, 6 and 7.
10. ASU committed a secondary, or lesser, violation by conducting a baseball camp for six prospective athletes during a period when no recruiting was to take place.
Neither Love nor Murphy has commented publicly since the list of infractions was published. No action on any of the allegations is expected to be taken until somewhere around the end of the 2010 season at the earliest.
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