The UC Riverside baseball team has been taking heat these past few weeks for using an ineligible player. Eddie Young, who was sidelined for weeks while his team tried to get his eligibility sorted out, has now been denied his fifth year by the NCAA. Young got injured in his freshman season in 2009 and the proper paperwork for a medical redshirt was not filed, according to NCAA.
The NCAA ultimately concluded that the UCR baseball team will vacate eight wins this season for using an ineligible player before the issue was settled. The senior infielder has not played since pre-conference play.
The UCR baseball team’s future is now unknown. It will be tough for the team to bounce back and try to get the sufficient amount of wins and still have the chance to make a push for the Big West Championship. This mishap will now bump the baseball team’s record to 10-25.
According to the Press-Enterprise, Head Coach Doug Smith said that he wished that the NCAA would’ve shown a little leniency toward Young because the mistake was out of his control. Athletics Director Brian Wickstrom blamed an administrative error within the compliance office for the mixup that resulted in the penalty.
This year, Young started the season as a fifth-year senior and played in 15 games, none of them in Big West Conference play, before the error was uncovered and reported. He was one of the talented core on the team and now the young man will not have the opportunity to show his talent and help the team win the Big West title.
Last season was the best of Young’s UCR collegiate career. Young had the second best batting average among the starters, hitting .295 while starting all 54 games. He scored the most runs with 35, was second in hits with 57, tied for third in RBIs with 24, second in on-base-percentage with .419 and led the team in walks with 41.
Head Coach Smith was asked about his initial reaction and if he felt that the NCAA’s ruling was fair. “I feel anger. I am not happy about it, not happy about it at all,” Smith said. “I don’t think it was a fair decision. There is no way to convince me that it was in the best interest for the player.”
Coach Smith later discussed what is happening to Young and what he told his team moving forward. “He is working out for an opportunity to go out to play professional baseball. It hinders his opportunity to be able to expose his talents … I told the team that I thought it was not a good decision, but it is our job to move on and play ball.”