home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Baseball:Sun Belt suspends umpiring crew from Robichaux incident

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, May 3, 2014

The Sun Belt Conference on Friday suspended for three games each of the three umpiring-crew members who worked the No. 2-ranked UL baseball team’s three-game SBC home series with Texas State last weekend.

One of the umps suspended by Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson is Don Hudson, with whom UL coach Tony Robichaux made incidental contact during an argument over a call reversal in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ loss to the Bobcats last Saturday night.

Robichaux received an automatic four-game NCAA suspension because of the contact, and served the final game of his punishment when the Cajuns visited Arkansas State on Friday night in the opening game of a three-game Sun Belt weekend series.

The other two umpires suspended are Bruce Ravan and Roger Faulks.

"I’m glad he (Benson) took the time to look into everything, because that means he cares," Robichaux said by phone Friday in reaction to the Sun Belt’s decision. "That’s important, I think, to keep the integrity of the game where it needs to be.

"I’m not happy that those guys technically are suspended, because I know how it feels," Robichaux added. "It’s not fun."

Robichaux wasn’t able to work or watch Friday night’s game, which had his own son – junior righty Austin Robichaux – pitching for the Cajuns.

"It’s not a good feeling to sit out a ballgame," Tony Robichaux said, "so I understand how they feel."

Robichaux said he appreciated UL athletic director Scott Farmer "for getting information to (Benson) in a timely manner."

"I think we have to work," Robichaux said, "to keep the integrity of the game and conference at its highest level."

Said Farmer in a statement: "I am extremely pleased the conference office investigated the situation with an open mind. Commissioner Benson frequently talks about holding people accountable and I believe his actions have proven he holds all parties to high standards."

Robichaux was suspended for making contact while arguing Hudson’s reversal of a call at first made by Faulks.

UL first baseman Chase Compton appeared on a TV replay to have had ball-in-glove and foot-on-bag when the initial third-out call was made, but – after the Cajuns already had run to their dugout – Hudson changed it to safe and called Robichaux’s players back out onto the field.

On a subsequent play that was called an out for the Cajuns, a screen grab from a TV camera showed Texas State’s first baseman flipping the ball away before he had put his foot on the bag.

Robichaux called for Hudson to be suspended last Monday, two days after the incident and one day after the series had ended with UL winning it 2-1.

"When you do make incidental contact, you do get four games for it. … I just don’t know who disciplines him (Hudson) for the game he had," Robichaux said then. "I mean, I know I get disciplined. But who disciplines him? … He ought to have to take some time off."

Benson evidently agreed.

"The Sun Belt is committed to ensuring that our game officials – like our coaches and student-athletes – are held to a very high level of performance," the SBC commissioner said in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

"In this case and after a thorough review," Benson added, "it is my opinion that the overall performance of these three umpires did not measure up to this expected level of performance. And as a result, each has been suspended for an upcoming three-game series."

Benson, incidentally, played baseball at Spokane Falls (Wash.) Community College and Boise State University, where in 1975 he received a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

He worked eight years as baseball coach at Fort Steilacoom Community College (now Pierce College) in Washington. From 1984-86, Benson was an assistant baseball coach and an administrative athletic department assistant at the University of Utah.

Before Friday, UL was 3-0 during the games in which Robichaux was suspended.

It beat Texas State last Sunday, and – with associate head coach Anthony Babineaux assuming Robichaux’s usual responsibilities – it took two midweek non-conference games from Southeastern Louisiana.

"We’ve been very fortunate," Robichaux said before Friday’s game, "because … this is a very mature team, and I’m proud of my coaching staff for being able to do what they’ve been able to do."