Pepperdine imposes postseason ban on three NCAA sports

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School officials discovered an administrative error, which led to the awarding of more scholarships to the men’s volleyball, tennis and baseball teams than the NCAA allows.

By Knowles Adkisson / The Malibu Times

Pepperdine University announced self-imposed postseason bans last Thursday on its baseball, men’s volleyball and men’s tennis teams due to an administrative error that led to the school awarding more scholarships than the NCAA allows.

Jerry Derloshon, Pepperdine’s senior director of public affairs, told the Los Angeles Times the mistake was an “administrative error that was completely inadvertent.”

Pepperdine Athletic Director Steve Potts said the NCAA allows four and a half scholarships for men’s tennis and volleyball, and 11.7 scholarships for men’s baseball. The administrative mix-up resulted in Pepperdine awarding more than the maximum amount of scholarships to players on those teams.

“We didn’t feel like it would be appropriate or ethical for us to participate in any championship events with that kind of competitive advantage,” Potts told The Malibu Times.

The ban applies to both conference and NCAA tournaments.

The NCAA requires schools to self-report any violations that are discovered and Pepperdine officials are hoping the ban spares the school from further NCAA sanctions. The NCAA Committee on Infractions is conducting an investigation to determine whether to impose harsher penalties. Pepperdine has not previously had a major infractions case, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Potts said the school will have to find a way to get back within NCAA scholarship limits next year. That means taking away scholarship aid from some athletes. Players on the affected teams were informed of the decision last week Wednesday.

Potts described breaking the news to the players as devastating, both in terms of competition and the impending loss of scholarships.

“We’re doing everything we can to minimize [the financial] impact, we just can’t eliminate it,” he said.

According to the Los Angeles Times article, the men’s baseball results will count in the standings for West Coast Conference play. But if Pepperdine finishes first in the league, the automatic NCAA berth given to the WCC winner would go to the second-place team. Pepperdine players will still be eligible for postseason awards. The team is currently 14-13.

The men’s tennis team is ranked eighth in the country, with a record of 16-4. The program has historically been a national powerhouse, with 41 WCC titles since 1958 and a national title in 2006.

The men’s volleyball team has a record of 9-13 on the season, but is still ranked 13th in the country.

“It’s a devastating thing to have to communicate to these young men, to know how hard they’ve worked and sacrificed for a postseason opportunity,” Potts said.