Saturday, May 18, 2019

Maddon Protests Game Over Pitcher's Toe-Tap

Cubs Manager Joe Maddon protested Saturday's Cubs-Nationals game, asserting HP Umpire Sam Holbrook's crew failed to apply Official Baseball Rule 5.07(a) Comment to Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle, alleging that Doolittle took a prohibited second step during his delivery, and that the umpires failed to call an illegal pitch, as in 6.02(b).

Unfortunately for Maddon, this protest is built on shaky ground.

The Play: With one out and none on, Maddon observed that Doolittle, during his delivery, tapped the ground with his free foot before lifting his leg and retouching the ground further down the pitcher's mound as he released the ball.

The Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.07(a) Comment states, "The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b)."

OBR 5.07(a) outlaws a second step to home.
Precedent: Earlier in the week, on Monday, Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth initiated a Replay Review/Rules Check in Seattle after HP Umpire DJ Reyburn instructed Mariners pitcher Cory Gearrin not to step twice via a double-tap of his free foot during delivery to home plate.

That game too went to Replay HQ for a Rules Check, upon which Reyburn's instruction prevailed and Gearrin modified his delivery to only take one step with his free foot toward home plate, so as to comply with OBR 5.07(a).
Related PostSEA Replay - Cubby's Pitching Motion Rules Check (3/14/19).

Lentz, Wolf, Holbrook & Iassogna confer.
Saturday's Cubs-Nats Game: Maddon must have been paying attention to Monday's game in Seattle, for he attempted to get Holbrook to enforce the same rule Reyburn addressed in his AL game. Maddon then formally protested Doolittle's first pitch to Cubs batter Kyle Schwarber, ruled a ball by Holbrook.

After Rules Check at Nationals Park, Doolittle's delivery was declared legal and Holbrook signaled the game under protest.

Video Replay: Replays indicate Doolittle's free foot made contact with the mound dirt twice during his delivery.

Analysis: The first item to note is that the pitch Maddon protested from Doolittle to Schwarber was ruled "ball one." Assuming theoretically that Doolittle's delivery violated OBR 5.07(a), the penalty for an illegal pitch with no runners on base is a ball. The outcome of the pitch in question was a ball.

The second item to note is that Maddon, in postgame comments, stated that Holbrook told him, "in our judgment..." and further stated, "I don't know how many he made that were illegal pitches."

Setting aside Maddon's admission that he didn't know how many illegal pitches purportedly occurred, Holbrook responded to Maddon's initial allegation thusly: "He thought he was tapping his foot, which in itself is not illegal, and this all kind of stems from his pitcher being called on something that was a little bit different than what Doolittle was doing. So in our judgment, Doolittle did nothing illegal at all."

Carl Edwards' second step was very obvious.
Holbrook is referring to Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards, who was caught taking a definitive second step toward home plate during delivery in Spring Training and told to stop. In Holbrook's judgment, Doolittle's maneuver did not constitute a second step toward home, as Edwards' motion had.

As we've written many times, judgment calls cannot be protested. If Holbrook and crew judged that Doolittle did not take a violative second step toward home plate in his delivery, that judgment cannot be protested. It may be correct, incorrect, or any variation thereof...but it is not subject to protest and "pitching motion/balk/illegal pitch" is not a reviewable call.

When Would Maddon's Protest Be Valid? Had Holbrook stated that Doolittle took a second step toward home plate, and that "in his judgment" this second step was legal, then Maddon would have a valid basis for protest because the rule clearly states that a second step is illegal. If the umpire acknowledges a second step has occurred, the penalty of illegal pitch (or balk with runners aboard) must be enforced. If the umpire states a second step has not occurred, that is a judgment call not subject to protest.

Gil's Call: As it stands, if Holbrook's contention is that Doolittle did not take a second step toward home plate—in spite of Maddon's toe-tap allegation, which is not a rule in and of itself—is the prevailing piece of the pie and, for this reason, Maddon's protest should be denied.

The only way this protest is affirmed is if Holbrook admits that in his judgment Doolittle took a second step during delivery, for under this scenario, Doolittle's move would be a clear rules violation. Without this precise ruling and admission from the umpires, the protest is dead on arrival.

Video as follows:

Friday, May 17, 2019

MLB Ejection 056 - Andy Fletcher (1; Bruce Bochy)

HP Umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Giants Manager Bruce Bochy (check swing HBP/no attempt to bunt call by 3B Umpire Eric Cooper) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Giants-Diamondbacks game. With none out and two on (R1, R2), Diamondbacks batter Jarrod Dyson squared to bunt, then moved the bat as he was struck by a 0-0 sinker from Giants pitcher Derek Holland, ruled a ball and HBP [no bunt/no swing] by HP Umpire Fletcher and affirmed as no bunt/no swing on appeal by 3B Umpire Eric Cooper. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (0-8-1), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Diamondbacks were leading, 3-0. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the contest, 7-0.

This is Andy Fletcher (49)'s first ejection of 2019.
Andy Fletcher now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB - 2 Incorrect-Crewmate = 0).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 0).
Related PostCrew Chief - Twice Changed Bunt HBP & Rule 8.03(c) (5/16/19).
Related PostAsk UEFL - Foul Bunt or Ball Fouled Away? (8/29/18).

This is the 56th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 26th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is San Francisco's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL West (SF 4; SD 2; ARI, COL, LAD 1).
This is Bruce Bochy's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since May 1 (Tim Timmons; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Andy Fletcher's first ejection since Sept 20, 2018 (Carlos Gomez; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 5/17/19 | Video as follows:

MiLB Ejections - Dillon Wilson (FSL x2)

As minor league players find new ways to showboat, umpires must be attentive to teams' tendencies to enforce the so-called unwritten rules of baseball. For MiLB Umpire Dillon Wilson, Royce Lewis of Minnesota's Fort Myers Miracle affiliate in Class A-Advanced demonstrated the latest taunt by demonstrating pushups at second base after an early double in what could be interpreted as a play on the traditional "weight room" taunt directed at an opposing player, drawing retaliation from Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh affiliate) pitcher Gavin Wallace his next time at bat.

Ejection Report: HP Umpire Dillon Wilson ejected Marauders pitcher Gavin Wallace (throwing at Miracle batter Royce Lewis) and Manager Wyatt Toregas (arguing Wallace's ejection/warnings no-call) and 1B Umpire Ben Fernandez ejected Marauders SS Robbie Glendinning (arguing Wallace's ejection) in the top of the 6th inning of the Miracle-Marauders game. With none out and none on in the top of the 5th, Lewis hit a double to center field, arriving at second base to the tune of pushups on the bag itself. In the top of the 6th, with one out and one on (R1), Lewis took a first-pitch fastball from Wilson for a called first ball. Replays indicate the pitch was thrown behind Lewis and was hip-high, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the game was tied, 7-7. The Miracle ultimately won the contest, 13-7.

Rule 6.02(c)(9): "A pitcher shall not—Intentionally Pitch at the Batter. If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to: (A) Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or (B) may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager. If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game. (League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 8.04.)"

Wrap: Fort Myers Miracle vs. Bradenton Marauders, 5/16/19 | Video as follows:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Injury Scout - Manny Gonzalez Exits Due to Flu

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez left Thursday's Cardinals-Braves game in Atlanta in the top of the 5th inning due to the stomach flu, according to the local broadcast.

Following the Braves' bottom of the fourth, Gonzalez left the field as 1B Umpire Jim Wolf exited to change into his plate gear, resulting in a short delay.

2B Umpire Dan Iassogna slid over to the first base position as he and 3B Umpire/Crew Chief Sam Holbrook worked the bases.

Relevant Injury History: N/A

Last Game: May 16 | Return to Play: May 27 | Time Absent: 12 Days | Video as follows:

Crew Chief - Twice Changed Bunt HBP & Rule 8.03(c)

Umpires twice changed a call on a bunt attempt during a Padres-Rockies game as HP Umpire Brian O'Nora's original dead ball strike ruling that Rockies batter Garrett Hampson offered at a pitch that hit him was affirmed by Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg after an initial reversal to a HBP award in a rare application of Rule 8.03(c) and powers granted to the Crew Chief.

Kellogg and O'Nora explain the call to Black.
The Play: With none out and two on (R1, R3), Rockies batter Garrett Hampson squared to bunt a first-pitch fastball from Padres pitcher Eric Lauer. As the pitch rode in on Hampson, the batter made a late decision to move the bat back toward his body as the ball struck his right hand, ruled a dead ball strike by HP Umpire O'Nora.

The First Reversal: After objection from Rockies Manager Bud Black that Hampson had pulled the bat back, O'Nora consulted with 1B Umpire James Hoye, and changed his call, awarding Hampson first base as a result of the ruling that Hampson did not attempt to strike the pitch that hit him.

The Double Negative: This brought Padres Manager Andy Green out of his dugout, this time bringing all four umpires together, upon which Crew Chief Kellogg signaled that O'Nora's initial call of "dead ball strike" shall prevail.

Did Hampson offer at a pitch that hit him?
Analysis, Reversing a Call: In general, no one umpire shall unilaterally overrule another. In practice, this means that if umpires confer about a call made by one particular umpire, then, upon leaving that conference, the calling umpire will generally be the one to signal the reversed call (if indeed the call is reversed).

The relevant rule is 8.02(c): "If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it." There are limited exceptions to the initiation of a conference, but at the end of it all, the procedure is such that the calling umpire will affirm or reverse his/her own call.

O'Nora speaks with Green after change #1.
Check swings are similar in the sense that a plate umpire who initially calls "ball" can ask the 1B/3B Umpire for assistance. If the corner umpire changes the call to "strike," notice that the plate umpire then will signal "strike."

Analysis, Half Swing Bunt Appeal: We've discussed the unique circumstance of a batter who is struck by a pitch or who fouls a ball off during a bunt attempt. In April 2019, Don Mattingly complained about a crew's HBP decision on such a play, Jim Joyce discussed such an event from his Plate Meeting Podcast, and in August 2018, we wrote an article entirely dedicated to adjudicating whether a batter has attempted to bunt the ball. So that rule is well covered.
Related PostMattingly Rips Umpires After Loss in Miami (4/2/19).
Related PostPodcast - Episode 12 - The Jim Joyce Jubilee (4/2/19).
Related PostAsk UEFL - Foul Bunt or Ball Fouled Away? (8/29/18).

What is absolutely key here is O'Nora's initial ruling that Hampson struck at the ball. Pursuant to OBR 8.02(c) Comment, "The manager or the catcher may request the plate umpire to ask his partner for help on a half swing when the plate umpire calls the pitch a ball, but not when the pitch is called a strike."

Kellogg made sure to apply proper procedure.
As such, O'Nora consulting Hoye for assistance on the matter of whether the batter struck at the ball may be deemed procedurally improper. Cue Green's protest (and failure to follow procedure could be a valid basis for protest) and Kellogg's intervention.

The difference between the Joyce/Hoye play and the Kellogg/O'Nora play is twofold: First, Hoye in Pittsburgh did not definitively signal that the batter struck at the pitch. He called "Time" but made no further signal (O'Nora did definitively signal that the batter struck at the pitch). Second, Joyce/Hoye concerned a foul ball while Kellogg/O'Nora concerned a hit-by-pitch.

Black pointed to U1's strike/attempt call.
Analysis, Reversing a Reversal: The Hampson bunt play is an example of a Crew Chief taking control of an unusual situation. In this case, we have a plate umpire who has called a dead ball strike, ruling that the batter struck at a pitch that touched his hand. Yet we also have a first base umpire who ruled that the batter did not strike at the pitch, thus changing the situation to a hit-by-pitch entitling the batter to first base.

These are conflicting calls by different umpires on a situation not subject to a check swing appeal.

After consultation amongst the entire four-umpire crew, Chief Kellogg thus exited the huddle with a final proclamation, invoking the proper procedure for deciding what to do when two umpires make two different calls on the same play, which is not subject to the allowed half swing appeal exemption, and which is delineated by Rule 8.03(c):
If different decisions should be made on one play by different umpires, the umpire-in-chief shall call all the umpires into consultation, with no manager or player present. After consultation, the umpire-in-chief (unless another umpire may have been designated by the League President) shall determine which decision shall prevail, based on which umpire was in best position and which decision was most likely correct. Play shall proceed as if only the final decision had been made.
Per 8.03(c), CC makes the final call.
SIDEBAR: 8.03(c) is also where the mechanic of having the Crew Chief communicate the Replay Review decision comes into play. In essence, the Crew Chief "determines" that the Replay Official's decision "shall prevail."

The effective difference, again, is that Hoye in Pittsburgh simply signaled the ball becoming dead without a determination as to whether the batter struck at the pitch, before consulting the entire crew to finalize the ruling, while O'Nora in Colorado signaled a strike and spoke with the one member of the crew specifically about whether the batter had struck at the pitch before changing his call from "swinging dead ball strike [missed bunt]" to "HBP [no swing]," upon which the entire crew convened, again, to finalize the ruling.

The other difference, naturally, is that Hoye in Pittsburgh met with his entire four-umpire crew once, whereas O'Nora had two meetings—once with only U1 and a second with the entire crew.

At this time, it was apparent that the two umpires had made conflicting rulings on a play not eligible for a half-swing appeal, necessitating a Crew Chief's prevailing judgment pursuant to 8.03(c), with regard for the half-swing appeal procedure delineated by Rule 8.02(c) Comment.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

MLB Ejection 055 - Scott Barry (1; Ian Kinsler)

HP Umpire Scott Barry ejected Padres bench player/2B Ian Kinsler (strike two call; QOCY) in the top of the 5th inning of the Padres-Dodgers game. With one out and none on, Padres batter Ty France took a 0-1 fastball from Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda for a called second strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and knee-high (px 0.837, pz 1.892 [sz_bot 1.56]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Dodgers were leading, 2-0. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 2-0.

This is Scott Barry (87)'s first ejection of 2019.
Scott Barry now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 QOCY = 3).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 0.924 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 55th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 25th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Kinsler did not appear in the game.
This is San Diego's 2nd ejection of 2019, 2nd in the NL West (SF 3; SD 2; ARI, COL, LAD 1).
This is Ian Kinsler's first ejection since August 14, 2017 (Angel Hernandez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Scott Barry's first ejection since May 20, 2017 (Matt Andriese; QOC = U [Throwing At]).

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 5/15/19 | Video as follows:

Ask UEFL - HR Replay Stands Due to Parallax

Red Sox batter Michael Chavis' home run over the Green Monster and out of Fenway Park Tuesday night resulted in a "call stands" outcome, upholding 3B Umpire David Rackley's HR call in favor of Boston following a Rockies-requested Replay Review.

We received an Ask the UEFL question about the Replay Official's decision to uphold Rackley's call of "fair ball/HR" all while a camera angle from the stands up along the first baseline suggested the batted ball may have been foul.

What happened here and why did this call stand?

Replay Review lost sight of a high fly ball.
Analysis: This is a perfect example of parallax proving unreliable, if not deceptive. As the attached video analysis demonstrates, the camera angle well to the right of the left field foul line/third baseline extended has a habit of making any batted ball in flight look less fair than the ball actually is (and vice versa for a camera angle from the third-base dugout, paired with a batted ball near the right field line).

To counteract the parallax deception, baseball relies on another law of physics related to vision: if the ball crosses in front of the foul pole, the ball is therefore closer to the viewer than the pole at the point at which it crosses the pole. Ordinarily, for a viewer watching the ball/pole interaction from the playing field (as an umpire or player would), this is a shortcut to say that a ball crossing in front of the pole and leaving the playing field in flight is a fair ball and home run.

Conversely, a ball crossing behind the pole suggests it is farther away from the viewer than the pole at the point of intersection, which would suggest a foul ball.

Parallax proves certain replays unreliable.
Why the Call Stood: For this particular play, Chavis' home run was hit so high in the air that the foul pole frame of reference did not apply to this play, as far as Replay Review was concerned. Because the pole and ball interaction did not appear in any video replay, the Replay Official could not conclusively determine what the ball's location was as it left the playing field (e.g., when it crossed the plane separating the field from the spectator area, as signified by the foul pole).

Due to his angle from the playing field surface up the left field line, 3B Umpire Rackley thus was in the best position of any person to observe the ball as it arrived at the planar edge of the Green Monster, meaning that MLB referred to his on-field ruling of "home run" for lack of evidence to indicate otherwise.
Related PostAsk UEFL - Judging a Fly Ball as Fair or Foul (Video) (7/13/18).

Video as follows:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

SEA Replay - Cubby's Pitching Motion Rules Check

In the wake of MLB's Carter Capps delivery rule, Chief Fieldin Culbreth's crew initiated a Replay Review Monday in Seattle regarding Mariners relief pitcher Cory Gearrin's motion in the 7th inning, supporting HP Umpire DJ Reyburn's initial assertion of an illegal pitching move as a result of a double-step during Gearrin's motion home.

What was the rule being discussed and was Reyburn's instinct correct?

Gearrin's Illegal Move: During warmups after entering Monday's A's-Mariners game, the right-handed Gearrin demonstrated his usual pitching motion: With his right foot (pivot foot) in contact with the pitcher's plate, Gearrin raised his left leg (free foot) before returning his free foot to the ground, slightly lifting this foot and moving it forward before planting further down the mound, and finally releasing the ball toward home plate.

The second step toward home is illegal.
Rule & Analysis: This is an illegal motion because of Official Baseball Rule 5.07(a) Comment's provision that "The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b)." This rule applies for all pitching deliveries, regardless of whether the pitcher has opted to use Windup Position or to use Set Position.

The rule outlawing a second step toward home plate was added prior to the 2017 season in response to former big league pitcher Carter Capps' unique crow-hop delivery in which he reset his pivot in delivery of the pitch.
Related PostCarter Capps Throws Illegal Pitch, Ejected After Hitting Ump (6/26/17).
Scott Servais disputes the crew's call.

For what it's worth, 6.02(a) simply states that such an illegal pitch is a balk with runners on base, while 6.02(b) states that the penalty for an illegal pitch with the bases unoccupied shall be a ball added to the count.

Preventative Officiating: Thus, Reyburn's instinct was correct—Gearrin's two-step maneuver is illegal and is more severe than a simple "don't do that" instruction; had Gearrin double-tapped his free foot during gameplay, it would have been an illegal pitch.

DJ Reyburn signals for a Replay Review.
Replay Review: After Reyburn informed Gearrin that his motion was illegal, protestation from Seattle brought the umpiring crew of Reyburn, Culbreth, Paul Nauert, and CB Bucknor together, which, after discussion with Mariners Manager Scott Servais, opted to initiate a Crew Chief Review for a rules check relative to OBR 5.07(a) and 6.02(b).

Six minutes? I'm with Dee Gordon (at 3:29).
After a two-and-a-half minute review, New York returned a verdict that confirmed Reyburn's suspicion, and Gearrin subsequently altered his pitching motion such that his free foot remained off the ground until reaching its final landing place, thus satisfying Rule 5.07(a) Comment's requirement that the pitcher not "take a second step toward home plate with either foot."

Total Delay & Pace of Play: The entire process took about six minutes from Reyburn's initial conversation with Gearrin until the resumption of play.

The game then proceeded and concluded without further incident (until Reyburn ejected Athletics Manager Bob Melvin an inning later following a ball four call and game-tying home run).
Related PostMLB Ejection 054 - DJ Reyburn (1; Bob Melvin) (5/13/19).

Video as follows:

Monday, May 13, 2019

MLB Ejection 054 - DJ Reyburn (1; Bob Melvin)

HP Umpire DJ Reyburn ejected Oakland Athletics Manager Bob Melvin (ball four call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the A's-Mariners game. With one out and one on (R2), Mariners batter Edwin Encarnacion took a 3-2 cutter from A's pitcher Lou Trivino for a called fourth ball before a subsequent home run tied the game. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the knee (px 0.13, pz 1.62 [sz_bot 1.57 / MOE 1.653]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 4-4. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 6-5, in 10 innings.

This is DJ Reyburn (17)'s first ejection of 2019.
DJ Reyburn now has -3 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = -3).
Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth now has 1 point in Crew Division (1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 1).
*MLB uses placeholder values for the vertical strike zone (sz_bot/sz_top) for each batter. These numbers are replaced by observed values after the game, generally in overnight processing. Although sz_bot was not immediately available after the game, UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1's "unless evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise" provision has been invoked to adjudicate this call; replays clearly indicate the pitch had requisite height to capture the vertical strike zone.

This is the 54th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 25th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Oakland's 1st ejection of 2019, 3rd in the AL West (LAA, HOU 2; OAK 1; SEA, TEX 0).
This is Bob Melvin's first ejection since September 15, 2018 (Larry Vanover; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is DJ Reyburn's first ejection since Sept 20, 2018 (Bryce Harper; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners, 5/13/19 | Video as follows:

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Greg Gibson Fulfills Goal, Graduates from College

Greg Gibson, the celebrated home plate umpire from MLB YouTube videos of 2013, graduated from Eastern Kentucky University on Friday, achieving a 30-year goal of attaining a college degree, in the program of Risk Management and Insurance.

EKU turned the spotlight on Gibson's accomplishment in March, pointing out that the 23-year MLB umpire is a first-generation college student, the first in his family to pursue and complete a degree.

Gibson's original plans for college at the Ashland Community and Technical College were put on hold in 1991 when he left academia to attend the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires, working his way through the minor leagues and into the bigs, where he has officiated nine Division Series, five League Championship Series, and the 2011 World Series; he previously attended the University of Kentucky and Shawnee State University.

The following congratulatory tweet was posted by EKU President Dr. Michael Benson: