SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – University of Utah baseball coach Bill Kinneberg was suspended by the school for the first 14 games of the season for NCAA violations committed by a former Utah baseball staff member.
14 games represents about a quarter of the season. Kinneberg will not be able to participate in any team practices or any team functions during the suspension.
Associate head coach Mike Crawford will assume head coaching duties for the Utes, who begin the 2018 season Friday at Oklahoma.
The athletics department, which self-reported the violation to the NCAA, imposed the suspension voluntarily while the NCAA reviews the case.
In October, Utah athletic director Dr. Chris Hill announced that the school has self-reported violations to the NCAA, and some sort of suspension was forthcoming while the NCAA conducted its investigation.
Kinneberg, who has been at the school for the past 13 seasons, released a statement saying, “As the head coach, it is my responsibility to make sure we are in compliance with all NCAA rules. My oversight was lacking in the area of a non-coaching staff member participating in coaching activities. I accept responsibility and have realigned our staff personnel to ensure it will not happen in the future.”
Kinneberg is eligible to return to the team March 12th.
Last year, an unnamed parent of a player filed multiple complaints about the conduct of the team and coaches during road trips, including drug use and drinking, prompting the investigation.
In and October press conference, Hill said, “When we send something [to the NCAA] like we do here, we send it with what we feel are the appropriate disciplinary actions. The NCAA will be in the process of reviewing that, and they’ll take further action or accept what we do. We’re in that process now, so it’s pretty much impossible for me to go much further than that.”
The NCAA has yet to rule on the matter, but the university hopes the suspension of Kinneberg will satisfy any punitive action the NCAA may take.