Utah has suspended baseball coach Bill Kinneberg for the first 14 games of the upcoming season for an NCAA rules violation involving a former staff member who engaged in impermissible practice and coaching activities.
The university’s athletic department confirmed Wednesday morning the suspension, which represents 25 percent of the season.
Kinneberg cannot participate in team functions, including practices and games, during the suspension. He may return to the bench March 12 against UNLV. Associate head coach Mike Crawford will assume coaching responsibilities in Kinneberg’s absence. The Utes open the season Friday in Oklahoma.
“As the head coach, it is my responsibility to make sure we are in compliance with all NCAA rules,” Kinneberg said in a statement from the university. “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.”
The university announced in October that Kinneberg likely would be suspended due to a self-reported NCAA violation that came to the department’s attention after receiving a letter from the parent of a former baseball player.
The NCAA still has not ruled on the matter, but the self-imposed suspension is the university’s effort to address the infraction proactively and avoid further sanctions.
In October, Utah director of athletics Chris Hill said the university recommended the suspension to the NCAA, but he would not reveal the length of games the university recommended because the NCAA has not ruled on the matter. Hill did not specify the nature of the violation at the time. He instead said only that the violation was an “isolated incident” that did not relate to academics, funding or recruiting.