January 29, 2015
Wichita State’s baseball program was hit with one year of probation, a $5,000 fine, and the school might vacate up to 74 wins over the 2012 and 2013 seasons as ineligible players were utilized, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions.
The committee ruled that for nearly two years, 21 baseball players purchased shoes, clothing, hunting gear and other non-athletics items for a total of $7,594.18, using a 50 percent discount.
Because the discount provided by former assistant (Shelley Wombacher) was not generally available to the full student body, family and friends, the discount is considered an extra benefit to the players.
The committee ruled that Wichita State did not monitor the activities of Wombacher regarding her use of a VIP account provided by the school’s apparel provider.
The former assistant provided her log-in information to the baseball players so they could access her computer and VIP account. The athletes paid for the items themselves and believed they could order items in this manner as a part of the school’s agreement with the apparel provider.
While the former assistant had a working knowledge of NCAA rules, the school acknowledged it should have provided her with further rules education and didn’t closely monitor her VIP account activities.
Additionally, the school failed to implement recommended changes to its apparel purchasing system that would have ultimately helped avoid the extra benefit violations.
Because of this, the school failed to monitor its baseball program, according to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions.
Penalties and corrective measures include:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- One year of probation from January 29, 2015 through January 28, 2016.
- A fine of $5,000.
- Wichita State will vacate all regular season and conference tournament wins in which the 21 baseball players competed while ineligible.
According to Wichita State officials, the vacated wins will come from the 2012 and 2013 seasons only.
Wichita State is currently working on calculating the vacated wins total. It will depend on when purchases were made on the account and what wins those players participated in.
The maximum number of wins that could be vacated is 74 (35 in 2012 and 39 in 2013).
WSU’s current coaching staff is not viewed as being responsible for the violations, Eleanor Myers, the chief hearing officer for the NCAA Committee on Infractions said.
Current Head Coach Todd Butler discovered that his players received discounts on Under Armour apparel through an account administered by Wombacher.
Butler was hired to replace long time head coach Gene Stephenson in June of 2013 and spent the large majority of his time on the road recruiting. When fall hit as players came back to school, he devoted time to practice.
Said the NCAA report: “As (Butler) was spending more time in the baseball office, he began to notice a large number of packages from the apparel provider being delivered to the former administrative assistant. On Nov. 15, the head coach asked one member of the team whether he had received any such items. The student-athlete confirmed that he had ordered discounted items of apparel through the former administrative assistant.
“The head coach reported the matter to the senior associate athletics’ director for external operations on the next business day. On Nov. 21, the head coach opened a package delivered to the baseball office from the apparel provider for another student-athlete. When he found that it contained items of athletics apparel, he took the items to the institution’s associate athletic director for student services and reported his concerns. The institution then began an investigation into the use of the VIP account by student-athletes.”
NCAA rules allow athletes to purchase items related to their sport. However, baseball players purchased hunting gear and other non-baseball clothing.
On Feb. 14, 2014, the NCAA suspended eight players from 3-9 games. Eight players who purchased less than $100 worth of clothing paid back the money. Five baseball players either left the team or transferred before the 2014 season.
To view the complete NCAA Infractions’ Report, CLICK HERE.