UCLA is going to take on ASU in a huge baseball series later this week. The Sun Devils are having an amazing season to date. They are ranked number 1 in the nation with a spectacular 33-5 record (11-4 in the Pac-10) to date. Their on-field success is even more remarkable given the off-field cloud around their program. In case you missed the news, last week ASU self-imposed penalties on its baseball program due to various NCAA allegations with implications of dreaded "lack of institutional control":
Updated: Arizona State University has admitted to two major violations of recruiting rules in its baseball program. ASU places most of the blame for violations on former coach Pat Murphy.
In its official response to allegations that the NCAA made against the program, ASU denied a charge of "lack of institutional control" over the program.
ASU, which sent its response Monday, enacted self-imposed sanctions on the baseball program Wednesday. Those include vacating 44 victories from 2007, restricting recruiting and reducing scholarships.
Murphy's contract was terminated without cause in November after ASU received notice of nine allegations from the NCAA.
The "lack of institutional control" charge left ASU at risk of greater penalties. ASU was previously sanctioned for impermissible benefits, unethical conduct and lack of institutional control in a football-related case in 2005. Because five years have not yet elapsed since then, ASU risks being penalized as a repeat violator.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions, which can accept ASU's self-imposed penalties or add others, is expected to hear the ASU baseball case in August. ASU is subject to repeat-violator penalties until Nov. 10. The committee is not bound to accept ASU's response to the allegations.
As we pointed out last year the scandal around the ASU athletic program has a Trojan twist given that the Sun Devils are led by Lisa Love, a former protege of Mike Garrett.
Lisa Love is of course not the first Garrett lieutenant to get in trouble after taking over another athletic program in the Pac-10. Everyone here should know about former USC Associate Athletic Director Barbara Hedges. It was her incompetent and shady "leadership" under which the Washington athletic department devolved into a total mess resulting in the million dollar settlement with CRN (which pretty much exonerated him for the alleged violations stemming from March Madness pools).
Anyway, to be fair to Love, ASU's football related issues took place under its previous AD. Yet it is clear that once Love came in she didn't do much to get things under control resulting in the mess in their marquee baseball program. Also, the similarity between how the baseball coach has been thrown under the bus in this situation and how Mikey threw Timmeh under the bus is pretty striking. Guess she will also be giving out quotes soon to the local press about how she is a "hands-off" AD who is "somewhat removed from his teams' daily operations."
If NCAA is observant enough they shouldn't miss the data points about how former Garrett lieutenants have gone on to tangle other athletic departments in violation mess. Then again that is probably too much to ask from an institution that is desperately looking to take the path of least resistance in dealing with the ultimate sleaze infested athletic program in the country..