Fil­ing gives Cal Poly 30 days to de­cide on NCAA ap­peal

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY MON­ICA VAUGHAN

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has filed an in­tent to ap­peal NCAA sanc­tions re­lated to a stu­dent ath­lete text­book scan­dal that dumb­founded play­ers and a sports com­men­ta­tor.

The fil­ing doesn’t mean the univer­sity has de­cided if it will take the ad­vice of ESPN an­a­lyst Jay Bi­las, who told The Tri­bune that “the only thing they re­ally can do is ap­peal and raise hell about it, and they should.”

Rather, the fil­ing gives the univer­sity 30 days to de­cide if it will ap­peal the rul­ing that would have the univer­sity wipe wins from its record. That could in­clude the 2014 Big West men’s bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onship that sent the Mus­tangs to the NCAA tour­na­ment for the first time.

The ESPN com­men­ta­tor railed against an NCAA rul­ing last month that Cal Poly would have to va­cate wins and post­sea­son par­tic­i­pa­tion over a three-and-a-half year pe­riod af­ter the or­ga­ni­za­tion de­ter­mined that the univer­sity pro­vided im­proper stipends to help stu­dents pay for text­books. He said the pun­ish­ment doesn’t fit the crime and Cal Poly should fight back.

“They should be livid about this,” Bi­las told the Tri­bune, “This is so far out­side of the realm of rea­son, it’s al­most un­con­scionable.”

The NCAA found that 265 stu­dents ath­letes in 18 sports from the 2012-13 aca­demic year to the fall term of 2015 re­ceived $800 book stipends and those funds ex­ceeded the ac­tual cost of books in 72 cases by a to­tal of $16,180 — rang­ing from $5 to $734 per per­son.

Cal Poly re­sponded in an April news re­lease that the univer­sity self-re­ported when it found the er­ror, and that it amounted to $5,237.10 im­prop­erly dis­trib­uted to more than 30 stu­dents over mul­ti­ple years.

Stu­dents, too, have been un­able to wrap their heads around the pun­ish­ment, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Mus­tang News.

Former Cal Poly baseball cen­ter fielder Alex McKenna, who is cur­rently play­ing in the Hous­ton Astros or­ga­ni­za­tion, told The Tri­bune that “they are pun­ish­ing some ath­letes at Cal Poly that had no idea this vi­o­la­tion was even oc­cur­ring.”

The baseball team’s NCAA play­off ap­pear­ances from 2013 and 2014 could be va­cated thanks to the rul­ing.

“It is just very dis­ap­point­ing any­way you look at it. These ath­letes don’t deserve to be pun­ished for some­thing they did not know was hap­pen­ing,” McKenna said.

“I get a schol­ar­ship check, and it’s a cer­tain amount of money — some­times it’s more, some­times it’s less,” former Cal Poly Foot­ball full­back Joe Protheroe told Mus­tang News. “If they went out and gave me an ex­tra $150, how am I sup­posed to know that? Like, I got kids to take care of.”

“The univer­sity is still re­view­ing its op­tions on how it will pro­ceed,” univer­sity spokesman Matt Lazier told The Tri­bune on Thurs­day. “We won’t have any ad­di­tional de­tails to pro­vide un­til that de­ci­sion is made.”

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