Baseball coach suspended

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Apr 142011
 
Authors: Cris Tiller

After a recent decision by CSU’s Campus Recreation Department, head CSU club baseball coach Mike Abernathy has been suspended for the rest of the season and assistant coach Zac Myslivy has been fired, both for making sexually explicit comments during a spring break confrontation with an umpire in Prescott, Ariz.

The incident took place during a March 14 double-header with Yavapai College. The two teams have a history of dispute.

In a meeting before the second game, to prevent an altercation Abernathy walked away after presenting the team’s lineup card. Home plate umpire John Schiller said in a report that Abernathy was asked twice to return to the meeting with the warning that he would be ejected if he didn’t comply.
The umpire ejected Abernathy. At that point, according to players who witnessed the altercation, the umpire allegedly made remarks about the Rams being a “second rate” team and “classless,” prompting Abernathy to engage in an argument with the official.

Schiller reported Abernathy made sexually vulgar remarks to both him and Yavapai head coach Sky Smeltzer.

Abernathy was quoted as saying “Both of you umpires have (Smeltzer’s) d**k in your mouths and have c*m dripping down your cheeks,” according to the incident report filled out by Schiller.

In an email to CSU, Smeltzer corroborated Schiller’s claim that Abernathy made the explicit comments and also accused the Rams of damaging the locker room they were using after discovering a punched hole in the drywall.

A third email, sent by a fan in attendance, described hearing Abernathy make the same comments reported by both Smeltzer and Schiller.

Abernathy did not comment about the incident because CSU’s investigation is still ongoing, but in an e-mail obtained by the Collegian sent from Abernathy to Sport Clubs Assistant Director Aaron Harris and campus recreation Executive Director Judy Muenchow, the coach admitted, “Yes, most of (Smeltzer’s) words are accurate.”

In those emails, Abernathy continued to argue that the umpire’s obvious bias in officiating provoked his outburst.

During that same game, after repeated heckling from the crowd, Myslivy allegedly directed sexually explicit comments to a group of Yavapai softball players in attendance, causing his termination.

When interviewed, Myslivy admitted to responding to the softball players.

“I asked them if they were the (Yavapai baseball) team c*m rag,” Myslivy said.
“There were comments that got under my skin along with the situation with the umpires and I said some things I probably shouldn’t have said.”

CSU players refute the descriptions of the entire incident and expressed dismay at the suspension.

“We thought the actions taken by club sports were drastic,” said senior third basemen Jake Fox. “The punishment that they gave out to the two coaches we
thought was excessive.”

According to Fox, the incident was investigated by the National Club Baseball Association, which handed out no suspensions.

However, the CSU Campus Recreation Department started its own investigation based on the emails and ejection report and suspended Abernathy for the remainder of the season with the possibility of returning next year. CSU club sports deemed his actions inappropriate and terminated Myslivy with no chance of returning to the team.

“No matter what circumstances may have been present in the game, such conduct during competition and in front of students and fans is simply unacceptable to CSU,” said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander.

Myslivy believes the motives for his termination lay elsewhere.

“The CSU club administration has no clue about any of their club sports, they’re more concerned about letting everybody play,” Myslivy said. “They’ve had it out for the baseball team for a long time ever since they took away our field and we got a new one.”

“They’ve been out to get us, and this is kind of their cherry on top to get rid of me and Abernathy,” he said.

Myslivy says the Campus Recreation Administrative Board felt embarrassed when the baseball team applied to the city to use the baseball field at City Park after the approval of a new indoor practice facility and expansion of the recreation center in 2007 meant the destruction of the team’s old field.

Bohlander insisted the situation is being treated as an isolated incident and the two are unrelated.

“This decision has nothing to do with anything other than the highly degrading language,” Bohlander said. “One towards a game official in a public setting and one towards fans.

“This difficult decision was not made lightly. It is important to note that Mr. Abernathy was not dismissed due to a simple case of foul language and/or being thrown out of a game,” he said.

Fox expressed the team’s displeasure over losing their coach for the rest of the season.

“We feel like the process the school took was unjust,” he said.

Pitching coach Thomas Ahrens will take over in Abernathy’s absence.
_
Assistant Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com._

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