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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The Viterbo V-Hawk women’s volleyball team is forfeiting 34 games from the 2018 season due to an ineligible team member.
According to Barry Fried, Viterbo University Director of Athletics, the violation involved the interpretation of the student-athlete’s previous competitive experience.
Fried told WKBT Sports that before the 2018 season started, the NAIA ruled the athlete eligible to play. Two months after the season ended, Fried said a third party came to the university, telling the program that the athlete had previously competed in another club league that could count against her being eligible for V-Hawk volleyball.
Fried said the university conducted an internal investigation on that new information and reported its findings to the NAIA, who then said the athlete should have been ineligible to play for Viterbo.
Fried said the athlete’s previous competition never came up during their initial due diligence, and because the athlete was initially cleared to play by the NAIA, it makes the recent sanctions all the more disappointing.
“I would suspect that the NAIA eligibility center looks at A, some of the information we look at, but also that’s an investigative body and legislative body to review whatever information they can get their hands on about students,” Fried said. “That’s their job. That’s what they do, and they do a very good job at what they do, but this one, clearly, we got an initial ruling of her being eligible, and at the end of the day that ruling was changed to ineligible.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, and we take student eligibility very seriously. We work really hard at it, so that what makes it even more difficult. We feel we do a fine job. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s one of the takeaways.”
“We fully accept the decision of the NAIA,” said Rick Trietley, Viterbo University vice president of student affairs. “Due to privacy concerns, we cannot provide any further information, but we can state this is an isolated incident, and we have made changes to our administrative procedures to ensure it does not happen again.”
As a result of the forfeiture, the team drops to an overall record of 6-35 last season. Fried said the North Star Conference has not yet ruled on whether Viterbo’s 2018 conference title will be upheld.
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