NCAA Upholds Arizona State Baseball Sanctions

November 5, 2011

Sun Devils Banned From 2012 Postseason Play…

Sanctions upheld Friday by the NCAA occured when Pat Murphy was the Arizona State head coach.

The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee has upheld penalties against the Arizona State baseball team. The penalties, which include a one year NCAA postseason ban, were originally leveled last year. Three years of probation were also upheld. The sanctions stem from what the NCAA deemed a period of “lack of institutional control” by former ASU baseball coach Pat Murphy and the school’s athletic department.

Two “major” violations were upheld by the NCAA: overpayment of student-athletes for work in an outreach program for underprivileged kids for work not performed and allowing student managers to perform certain tasks. Murphy’s Sun Devils were also found to have used an impermissible recruiter.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed,” Arizona State Athletics Director Lisa Love said in a statement. “While we appreciate the committee’s decision to reduce the third violation to secondary status, we are concerned about its decision to uphold the other two. We believe that others who review the case will share our concerns about this outcome.”

Penalties are a three-year probation, a ban on postseason baseball competition, scholarship reductions, a vacation of wins, recruiting restrictions and limitations on coaching activity during practice. Some of the penalties were self-imposed by ASU.

The Infractions Appeals Committee upheld the initial ruling because of Arizona State’s repeat violator status. The Infractions Appeals Committee noted that even though it reduced one violation from major to secondary, there was sufficient basis for all of the penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions.

Tim Esmay is now entering his third year as the head coach of the Sun Devil baseball program. He led ASU to the College World Series in his first year at the helm in 2010. They advanced to the Austin Super Regional last year, before falling to Texas.

“Obviously we are disappointed that we will not be able to participate in the postseason in 2012,” Esmay said of the sanctions in a statement. “The goals for this program will not and have not changed. We will take the same approach towards every practice and every game, non-conference and Pac-12, that we have always taken. Our goal to be the best team in the Pac-12 remains our focus.

The last time Arizona State did not participate in the NCAA postseason was 1999. The program has been to the College World Series 22 times.

The Appeals Committee members who heard this case were: chair Christopher L. Griffin of Foley & Lardner LLP; Susan Cross Lipnickey, health studies professor and the faculty athletics representative at Miami University (Ohio); Jack Friedenthal, professor of law at George Washington University; and Patti Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs at University of Texas.

College Baseball 360 spoke to Murphy last spring about his desire to return to coaching college baseball. CLICK HERE to see that video interview.


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