Baseball players call dismissals unfair

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Two Southwestern College baseball players were removed from the team days before the Jaguars were to begin the state championship tournament. A number of Southwestern College athletes questioned not only the timing but also the process, as well as the athletic department’s inconsistent history of meting out punishment.
Outfielder Andy Swan and first baseman Andres Enriquez were cut for wrestling in a headlock on the bus ride home from a game one week before the championship. Swan filed a grievance against Enriquez with Terry Davis, dean of the School of Health, Exercise Science and Athletics. These issues are generally handled by school deans, according to SWC Standards of Student Conduct Policy and Procedures, but Davis passed the issue to Mia McClellan, dean of student services. McClellan suspended both players and neither was allowed to rejoin the team for the playoffs, which SWC was bounced from in the first round.
Davis’ hands-off treatment of Swan and Enriquez contrasts to his dismissal of Jaguar first baseman Robert Archer from the roster in March. Archer’s ejection from a game in February was the last straw for Davis, who threatened to shut down the baseball team’s season if there were any more reports of misconduct. Archer jumped over the dugout fence towards an umpire during a game after an unfavorable call. The league suspended Archer for one game, but Davis decided to kick him off the team. Archer said Davis over-reacted.
“There were at least five guys out of the fence from the other team and by natural reaction, I hopped my dugout fence to defend my guys,” said Archer. “I pretty much took the third strike for my team because it was the third incident within a month.”
Davis addressed the team about behavior, said infielder Steven Johnson.
“The dean was pretty mad about it, so he came down,” Johnson said. “He said if one more thing happens, this season’s over, and he has the power to shut down our whole season. If he had seen what had really happened, no, I don’t think it was justified.”
Pitcher Dominic Bowen also said Archer did not deserve to be kicked off the team.
“He didn’t really do anything wrong, it was just unfortunate circumstances and the umpire just ejected him,” said Bowen. “He was just backing up his players. He didn’t deserve (to be cut). But I guess the school thought they had to make a statement, keep us in line.”
Archer said he was never given the opportunity to speak with Davis because Davis was “too hot” to speak to him.
“I never talked to anybody higher than my coaches,” he said. “I was suspended for the year and that was that. The coaches told me I was not allowed to come around the field according to the athletic director.”
Davis refused to comment on the dismissal of Archer or his address to the team, but he said discipline is essential in all sports and that players have to remember that they are students first. Davis, however, took a more laissez-faire approach in October when football linemen Frankie Kascsinta initiated a shoving match during a game. Kascsinta smacked the helmet of a San Jacinto player twice after a play, provoking his opponent to retaliate with his fist. SWC lineman Marc Pouvave ran to defend Kascinta and shoved the San Jacinto athlete in the face.
Running back Aaron Harris said more aggression is expected in football and basketball than in other sports because there is more physical contact to begin with.
“That was a competition day,” said Harris of the incident. “Things kind of got escalated.”
Football team captains, Harris said, debated whether or not to report Kascinta and Pouvave to the coaches.
“We took a team vote on whether or not they should both continue to play,” said Harris. “Both players pleaded their case and we decided that they didn’t need to be suspended.”
Football Coach Ed Carberry said the athletic department took no disciplinary action against the linemen who fought because the referee did not flag either of the SWC players involved. Harris said Davis knew about the incident, but the dean did not find it necessary to take action.
“Mr. Davis asked about it, but that was about it,” said Harris.
Jaguar catcher Cody Sos said the baseball team should have been given the same opportunity to take care of its internal issues, especially in the case of Enriquez and Swan whose confrontation happened not at a game, but on the bus ride home.
“I think that it shouldn’t have ever gone up to (Davis and McClellan),” he said. “It should have been taken care of by our team.”
Pitcher Luciano Reynoso agreed.
“I don’t think it was fair,” he said. “It would have been better if we could have made a decision because we saw what happened.”
Johnson said the Athletic Coordinator John Cosentino accompanied the baseball team to the rest of its conference games to watch for any more out-of-line behavior. Cosentino also serves as men’s basketball coach.
Part of the responsibility of the athletic department is to ensure that student athletes are well behaved at games and have the appropriate number of units to play. Johnson and some other students athletes said baseball has been treated differently than football and basketball by Davis, a former football coach.
“The athletic department is always going to be about units because that’s what keeps us eligible,” said Johnson. “They’re pretty strict with baseball compared to how lax I’ve heard they’ve been with football and basketball over the years.”
This semester, three students on the men’s basketball team played with insufficient units, forcing the team to forfeit four of its wins and disqualifying it from playoffs. Keenan Langston, a student from New York who played for the SWC basketball team this year, was one of the players who played while below the unit requirement.
“They continued to let us play without our units, which I didn’t know anything about,” Langston said.
Davis accepted responsibility for the enrollment oversight that cost the basketball team its shot at the playoffs, but insisted he did not know there were any questions about illegal recruiting. Langston and basketball player David Warren have both said they were recruited by associate basketball coach Kyle Colwell after a high school game in Brooklyn, New York. To date there have been no disciplinary measures taken against Davis or the basketball coaches. Davis refused to discuss the issue of illegal recruitment on the basketball team with reporters from The Sun.

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