A bombshell has been dropped: Webber International has been stripped of its Men’s National Title — and other smaller accolades — that it won just last year due to an eligibility rule infraction.
In addition to vacating the National Title, head coach of the program, Del Warren, has been suspended indefinitely — which sounds like the rest of this season and the postseason .
The timing of all of this comes at an inopportune time for the program, as we’re getting close to Sectional and National season. But, from my understanding, USBC has been gathering information for awhile.
The eligibility rule in question, according to multiple sources, has to do with a player’s amateur/collegiate status. I have been guaranteed that this was all a huge misunderstanding and that no one anticipated or saw this coming.
However, unfortunately for Webber and Warren, rules are rules, and actions had to be taken.
USBC’s judgement is — no doubt — a stern one; they didn’t play here. But what is done is done.
Until more information is made public, I don’t want to speculate, but assuming the player was a big part of their title run, I understand the need to vacate the title; if said bowler was ineligible, the results were obviously skewed by his participation and involvement.
That being said, though, the discipline taken out on Del Warren seems a bit like overkill, to me. Unless USBC has information that contradicts what I’m hearing — and they absolutely could — an indefinite suspension seems a bit harsh.
But, I will say this, Chad Murphy, since taking over as President, has — if nothing else — been consistent and stern when it comes to these matters. Murphy is all about bringing integrity back into the sport. And integrity can only be kept intact if the game is being played fairly and faithfully. So I am not in any way surprised by these punishments, as it follows suit with many of Murphy’s disciplinary actions in recent years.
Are they unfortunate? Yes, I believe so. From what I understand, this was a legitimate mistake. But even mistakes, if they break rules, must be governed. And somebody must be held accountable. In this instance, the USBC has pretty clearly put that onus on Warren.
As more details are made publicly aware, we will comment on them in future articles. For now, though, Webber International’s Men’s Team must prepare for the postseason without their Head Coach and with the weight of this judgement weighing heavily on their shoulders, as they look to right this wrong with another National Title.