Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sun Belt Suspends Umpires for Officiating Errors

Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson suspended four NCAA Division I baseball umpires for apparent erroneous judgment calls during Sunday's Wright State-Louisiana game in the wake of Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux's ejection for arguing a reversed home run call in Wright State's 4-3 victory.

Pursuant to Game Misconduct Rule 2-5-15, Robichaux received a two-game suspension for his post-ejection actions. It is important to note that Robichaux's two-game suspension is a mandatory NCAA penalty, whereas the umpires' one-game suspensions were issued by the conference.

NCAA Baseball Rule 2-5-15-a-4 states:
No team personnel may continue to argue or to continue to excessively express themselves with prolonged actions or offensive language after an ejection. PENALTY—After an ejection an additional two-game suspension.
Robichaux's ejection followed a 7th inning fly ball to deep right-center field off the bat of Louisiana's Daniel Lahare, initially ruled a home run, but reversed to a double upon crew consultation. At the center of the debate was whether the ball hit the top of the outfield wall or whether it hit the trunk of a pine tree beyond the fence before caroming back into play.

According to the Ragin' Cajuns—who epitomized the team nickname on Sunday—the umpires erred on several calls, including an out call at home plate, a home run hit by Louisiana's Kole McKinnon that purportedly should have remained in play, and a game-ending play at first base that resulted in an out.

At his Tuesday press conference, Robichaux took responsibility for his team's "mediocre" start to the season, and said, "As I told them when I came out after the ejection...the umpires didn't do anything. We had runners at second and third...

"You've gotta own up to where you are and you can't start blaming anything. You have to have extreme ownership and from there, you have to up your conviction, not lower it...

"You've got so much low hanging fruit that you can hang onto right now, they could survive the rest of the year on it...If I went around blaming something on an umpire or injuries, who cares? Nobody wants to listen about your injuries; [we're] 2-5."

Commissioner Benson declined to comment on any specific play when announcing umpire suspensions:
The baseball umpire crew from the Wright State versus Louisiana series will be relieved of all duties for one game due to the multiple officiating errors that occurred on Sunday, February 25.  The decision was made by Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson on Wednesday.
Wrap: Wright State vs. #20 Louisiana (NCAA Div I Baseball), 2/25/18 | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Cajuns' coach Robichaux suspended for Ragin' at umpires (KATC)


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