Club baseball season cut short


University-imposed sanctions have benched the Norse club baseball team this season, leaving Northern Kentucky University men’s varsity baseball team the lone group of baseball players on campus.
The Norse club baseball team had its season cancelled because of a number of violations. Each club must meet certain requirements to remain active, including attending club officer meetings, paying fees, re-registering with Office of Student Life and submitting a full year-end report. Sanctions like fines and suspensions are imposed if clubs do not fulfill the standards.

“We had other things going on and we could not meet the NKU club deadlines due to personal conflicts getting in the way,” said club treasurer Michael Piccola. “I am not happy with the outcome.”
The infractions the club committed were for missing multiple mandatory officer meetings, held every other Monday at 4 p.m. in the fall, which resulted in a $65 fine from the NKU Sport Club Council.
“I will never ask anyone to skip work or class to attend a meeting,” said team president Ryan Shields.

Piccola paid the fine, but due to a work conflict, he was one day late. Shields wrote a formal appeal letter to assistant director of campus recreation Jill Wood. The team was granted a disciplinary hearing to discuss the sanctions.

“We have rules to abide by from the university, but why do we have to go to meetings in January for a springtime sport,” Shields said. “In the middle of winter when we’re not practicing or playing games there’s nothing to report.”

The hearing was scheduled on a Monday at 4 p.m., and none of the officers were able to attend because of class and work conflicts. Shields informed Wood two days before the hearing that nobody could represent the team, which led to the cancellation of the proceedings and a full semester suspension.

“I love being president [and] I love being in charge. But at the end of the day, is the juice worth the squeeze?” Shields said.

A team being suspended indefinitely is not common for the National Club Baseball Association. NCBA Vice President of Division II baseball operations/team development Christian Smith said that the main reasons teams fall apart is due to lack of funding and player commitment.

“We represent 220 teams in 40 states, and a team forfeiting the remainder of their season is very rare, although we’ve had a few other teams this year fall apart and are not playing,” Smith said. “Technically, they are still a member of the NCBA. They just are not playing any more games.”
Shields and Piccola were not the only team members upset about the outcome.

“There was a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I was very disappointed that it had to go this route and that it happened under my authority,” said Vice President Chadd Shields.