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CWC volleyball infractions discovered

Oct 25, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

All wins stripped for past three seasons

Central Wyoming College must forfeit all of its women's volleyball victories for the past three seasons and will not be permitted to play in this year's Region IX 2012 volleyball tournament after it was discovered the team had used an ineligible player or players.

CWC executive vice president for student and academic services Jason Wood announced Thursday that the volleyball team has "multiple years of documented violations related to student athlete ineligibility for volleyball."

Due to these violations, Wood said the National Junior College Athletic Association has determined that CWC must vacate all wins for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 volleyball seasons.

The team had won 19 matches this year and was nationally ranked. The Rustlers won 25 matches last season and 19 in 2010.

"We have been placed on probation for the 2012-13 academic year, which means our volleyball team is not eligible to participate in the upcoming Region IX tournament," Wood said in an e-mail to college staff. "We are being forthcoming with the violations, and we will accept and comply with the sanctions that have been documented."

He said the college will consider appealing a portion of the eligibility issues due to the possibility of factual inaccuracies. A successful appeal would not affect the team's ineligibility for the Region IX tournament, but Wood said it would allow the results of the 2012 year to stand.

"We will also consider additional institutional sanctions, if determined to be necessary," Wood said.

As the current acting president, Wood said he has requested an inquiry into college policies, procedures and practices in order to implement new controls to ensure similar infractions do not take place in the future. Steve Barlow, associate dean for student services, will conduct the inquiry.

"Please know that our volleyball student athletes are devastated," Wood added. "I truly feel for them at this time."

Discovery

In a Ranger interview Thursday morning, Wood said CWC found out about the infraction from the National Junior College Athletic Association on Wednesday.

The nationally ranked Rustlers finished the 2012 regular season with a four-set victory over Casper College on Tuesday night at Rustler Gym.

CWC is ranked No. 16 in the new junior college volleyball poll and would have been a tournament contender for the Region IX crown. The Region IX tournament starts Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Northwest College in Powell.

"We are going through a process right now of what we are guilty of and what we are not," Wood said in the interview. "We know that we had a player last year compete that was ineligible. We know that we are guilty of that."

Wood declined to name the ineligible player.

"We are not going to appeal playing in the Region IX tournament this year," Wood said.

CWC coach Tiffany Stauffenberg was at the Casper Events Center on Thursday recruiting at the Wyoming state high school volleyball tournament and said she could not comment.

"We are very disappointed," Wood said. "It's heartbreaking for the young women that have competed this year and that won't get to participate in the tournament. We will move forward from here."

This season

The Rustlers finished the season with a 19-7 record and were 9-3 in Region IX tournament play.

"Our women did a great job," Wood said. "They had a great year."

The Rustlers played before a packed crowd on Tuesday night at Rustler Gym. CWC finished its home season with a 5-1 mark.

"The win on Tuesday night will end up being the last game of the season," Wood said. "It was nice to end on a win. It would have been nice to end on a win in a tournament. We won't even get that chance."

The only loss at home was a five-set setback to Western Wyoming.

"We are going back to see why this happened and make sure it won't happen in the future," Wood said. "I'm sure that there are going to be some parents that are disappointed."

CWC sophomores Abigail Ehlers, Dallas Horn, Kaitlyn Tracy Eaton, Dallas Horn, Kali Howe and Ana Tenorio were honored before the match vs. the Lady Thunderbirds.

The Rustlers would have been a No. 2 seed or a No. 3 seed for the double-elimination tournament. Western Wyoming is ranked No. 14 in the nation. Casper College is receiving votes for the top 20.

Northwest College has the best Region IX record this year.