MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia baseball team inadvertently exceeded the NCAA’s 56-game regular-season limit, a violation that dates back to an exhibition against Potomac State staged last October.
The school’s compliance staff reportedly notified the NCAA of the violation, which deputy athletics director Mike Parsons said “will have no effect on the Big 12 tournament” that starts Thursday in Oklahoma City. Nor would it impact the Mountaineers’ eligibility for an automatic NCAA bid should they win the tournament this weekend, Parsons said.
The worst-case fallout, Parsons surmised, would involve WVU being docked a game or two next season. He didn’t suspect the mistake could lead to more serious sanctions such as reduced scholarships or postseason bans.
NCAA rules permitted Division I teams to play 56 regular-season games this year, starting Feb. 15. Unofficial fall games, like the one WVU staged against Potomac State as part of an alumni day event Oct. 21, do not factor into a team’s record. However, they do count against the school’s number of permitted games.
West Virginia and new coach Randy Mazey assembled the full complement of 56 regular-season games for the spring, but in an oddity, experienced no rainouts or cancellations. The Mountaineers closed the season with a 31-25 record and will face Kansas in the Big 12 tournament Thursday.
“It was simply an inadvertent oversight in the scheduling,” Parsons told MetroNews on Wednesday. “We didn’t lose any games to weather this season, and then suddenly we get to the end of the season and we’re over the limit.”
Athletics director Oliver Luck was traveling with the West Virginia Coaches Caravan in Bluefield and did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The NCAA staff in Indianapolis also did not immediately return a query about the situation.
Had the potential violation been spotted in time, WVU could have cancelled its final nonconference game against Marshall in Beckley on May 14. Mazey left a number of position players in Morgantown that night because the Mountaineers were scheduled to board an early-morning flight out of Pittsburgh the next day.