Webber International men's bowling head coach Del Warren made the following statement this evening regarding the news that USBC has suspended him indefinitely from USBC Collegiate competition and that Webber must vacate its 2017 men's ITC title . . .
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Last week USBC notified me about a possible eligibility infraction. This came as a surprise because I always thought the player was eligible, as did the player. My staff and I thoroughly examined the situation and discovered that, in fact, the player was not eligible to compete with us at any time per USBC Rule 207. As Head Coach of Webber International, I take full responsibility for this violation and understand the dramatic impact on college bowling.
At no time did Webber knowingly use an ineligible player. The player believed they had done the necessary investigation prior to coming to Webber, and was eligible for college bowling. I believed the player. It was my responsibility to verify the player’s assumption, and I’m saddened to admit that didn’t happen. There’s no excuse for this lack of diligence.
I understand USBC needed to take action and couldn’t allow the results to stand with an ineligible player. Their response was necessary and fair. College bowling’s integrity must be protected. The Webber program and I will fully comply with USBC’s ruling. We’ve also implemented new procedures with the Athletic Department to ensure this never happens again.
I am deeply regretful about this situation. This action does not represent Webber International’s values, or my dearly held personal ideals. I understand the pain and chaos this will cause for many people, and the sport of bowling. For this I am incredibly sorry. I’ve given my life to this sport and remain forever dedicated to its prosperity.
Since posting the below USBC release yesterday evening in which USBC announced that the Webber International men's bowling program had to vacate its 2017 men's ITC title and coach Del Warren would be suspended "indefinitely" due to what USBC described as a violation of USBC Code of Conduct, BJI had exchanged some messages with USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy in which he made clear that while Webber has to vacate their 2017 men's ITC title, that does NOT mean the McKendree men's team, who finished runner up at the 2017 men's ITC, is the de facto champion now. They are NOT. As Murphy told us this evening, "the title has simply been vacated." Additionally, we have confirmed that Warren's suspension from USBC Collegiate competition has "no impact at this time" on his role as a coach with the Team USA program, per Murphy. Lastly, Murphy informed BJI that "Del did have the ability to appeal the decision but waived his right to do so."
ORIGINAL RELEASE: 2/15/18
ARLINGTON, Texas – United States Bowling Congress Collegiate has determined the Webber International men’s bowling team must vacate its 2017 Intercollegiate Team Championships title and its third-place finish at the 2016 event because the team used a player who was ineligible for competition.
The Webber player violated USBC Collegiate Rule 207 related to professional membership and Webber violated the USBC Code of Conduct for failing to perform its due diligence of confirming the athlete was eligible to compete in USBC Collegiate competition. The player has been ruled ineligible effectively immediately.
Webber head coach Del Warren has been suspended indefinitely from USBC Collegiate certified events. He cannot travel, coach or have contact with Webber teams during the remainder of the regular season or during the postseason of USBC Collegiate certified events.
The Webber men’s bowling team will be placed on probation for the remainder of the season and for the 2018-2019 season. All Team Ranking Points for the 2017-2018 season in which the ineligible player was on the varsity team also will be vacated. The team is eligible to compete in the 2018 ITC sectionals, provided it earns enough Team Ranking Points to be ranked in the top 80 teams in the official Team Ranking System, and will be eligible for the ITC national event, should the team advance.
In addition, the Webber men’s team will vacate any Team Ranking Points earned in events in which the ineligible player bowled on the varsity team during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons. Webber will be required to return any awards (trophies, medals, rings) associated with the 2017 ITC postseason.