NCAA: Washington Must Vacate Wins, World Series Trip

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The University of Washington baseball team’s trip to the 2018 College World Series is being wiped out of the record books.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions released its report Friday, following an investigation into the Washington baseball program after it admitted in 2018 to impermissibly paying for the parents of recruits to travel in conjunction with official visits.

“For over two years, the baseball staff misunderstood recruiting legislation relating to parental travel,” the Committee on Infractions’ report reads. “Consequently, the baseball coaches arranged for and provided impermissible recruiting benefits in the form of airfare for the parents of 14 prospects in conjunction with the prospects’ official paid visits. The payment of airfare for individuals other than prospects is permissible only in the sports of basketball and Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football.  These benefits resulted in three student-athletes competing and receiving expenses while ineligible in a total of 61 contests.”

The report stated that the three student-athletes had received $7,795 in benefits through travel costs. Therefore, the Huskies must vacate all of their wins from 2018. They’ve also been handed a $5,000 fine, recruiting restrictions and placed on a one-year probation. There won’t be a postseason ban for the Level II-Mitigated violation.

The University of Washington released a statement Friday, saying it “strongly disagrees with the ruling and in support of its student-athletes will appeal this decision to vacate wins.”

"We are extremely disappointed with the ruling by the NCAA Committee on Infractions on this self-reported violation," Washington director of athletics Jennifer Cohen said. "The University of Washington holds itself to the highest standard of compliance integrity and did everything possible in this situation to correct the mistake. Coach Meggs and our baseball program have built a culture of compliance and this violation was uncovered and reported by him. We have full confidence in Coach Meggs and his leadership of our baseball program moving forward. Our commitment is to our students and protecting the tremendous achievements they have accomplished, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to do this through the appeal process." 

Washington’s statement suggests that the punishment was harsh, considering the athletic department self-reported the issue and worked with the NCAA to reinstate the players’ eligibility.
“The UW took affirmative steps with the NCAA enforcement staff through the investigation process to expedite final resolution of the matter, as well as took acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and penalties,” Washington’s statement reads. “Finally, the NCAA also acknowledged the violations were unintentional, limited in scope and represent a deviation from otherwise compliant practices by the UW. 

“The Committee of Infractions decision today finds that the involved three student-athletes participated while ineligible and UW should have withheld them from competition even though UW was not aware that the violations had occurred at the time the student-athletes participated in competition.  The inadvertent violations provided no recruiting advantage as all three student-athletes had verbally committed to the UW prior to taking their official visit.”

The Huskies went 35-26, including 20-10 in the Pac-12, in 2018, reaching the College World Series before suffering back-to-back losses to Mississippi State and Oregon State.

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