OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

athletics

New York Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury commits $1 million to alma mater

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder for the New York Yankees and former student-athlete at Oregon State University, has committed $1 million to help the OSU baseball program expand its locker room facilities.

Goss Stadium, which has stood on the Oregon State campus since 1907, is the oldest continuous ballpark in the nation, and has been home to the Beavers since the program’s first pitch more than 100 years ago.

“We are tremendously thankful,” said Pat Casey, who is in his 20th year as OSU’s head coach. “Great facilities are at the core of great programs, and with Jacoby’s generous gift we will be able to continue to offer our student-athletes a world-class experience.”

The stadium has undergone several enhancements in recent years with support from donors. Prior to the 2009 season, nearly 1,000 seats were added down the left and right field lines and the Omaha Room created seating for approximately 70.

Despite the recent improvements, the baseball program has outgrown its locker room space, Casey said. The proposed $2.8 million project will expand and enhance the locker room, update the equipment room, add team meeting space, and include both a new recruiting area and a centralized main entrance. In recognition of the gift, the OSU locker room facilities will be named in honor of Ellsbury.

“OSU Baseball has given me so much,” said Jacoby Ellsbury, who holds among his accolades the Beavers’ run record at 168. “I am thrilled I am able to help my alma mater carry on its proud tradition; and perhaps, this expansion will convince a few more Pacific Northwest recruits to wear OSU orange and black.”

The Madras, Ore., native played for Oregon State from 2003-2005 before being drafted 23rd overall by the Boston Red Sox in 2005. In 2007, he helped the club win the World Series. In 2011, he won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, the Silver Slugger Award, and was the American League MVP runner-up. He earned his second World Series ring in 2013, before signing with the New York Yankees.

“Oregon State is where I got my start,” explained Ellsbury. “It’s where I learned—from Coach Casey, teammates, and assistant coaches—how to be a successful athlete, a successful person. For that, I am forever grateful.”

With this gift, donors to The Campaign for OSU have committed more than $172 million for OSU Athletics. University leaders announced in January that the campaign had passed its overall $1 billion goal with 11 months to spare, making OSU one of only 35 public universities to achieve the billion-dollar milestone in a campaign.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Pat Casey, 541-737-7472

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Goss Stadium

OSU responds to NCAA sanction on pitcher Ben Wetzler

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University officials say the penalty imposed Friday by the NCAA staff on pitcher Ben Wetzler, which will cost him 20 percent of his senior season, is too harsh given all of the mitigating factors.

The NCAA began an investigation of Wetzler late last year concerning advice he received from a representative of a sports management group just after the 2013 Major League Baseball amateur draft.

Wetzler will be eligible to resume playing for the Beavers on Sunday, March 2, in the fourth game of a four-game series against Wright State University.

As a college junior last year, Wetzler was chosen in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, but chose to return to Oregon State for his senior season to pursue an NCAA championship with his teammates.

The NCAA notified OSU in late November 2013 of its intent to conduct an investigation involving Wetzler.  Both OSU and Wetzler fully cooperated with that investigation. During the course of the NCAA’s investigation, OSU learned that the charges were related to communications and actions by an adviser that Wetzler had engaged to advise him about his draft options.  Wetzler received no compensation from the adviser.  

“While NCAA rules allow a student-athlete to obtain advising services about the draft and contract offers, the adviser may have no contact with a professional organization,” said Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for University Relations and Marketing.

“Although the evidence was unclear, the NCAA found that Wetzler’s adviser did have prohibited contact and that a violation of the ‘spirit’ of the NCAA bylaw occurred,” Clark said. “It was clear from the beginning, however, that there was no intent on the part of Ben Wetzler to circumvent the rules. He was trying to do the right thing.”

“Oregon State University continues to support Ben in this matter,” said Bob De Carolis, OSU’s Athletic Director. “He is a great example of a student-athlete who turned down a significant sum of money from a professional baseball team to return to OSU to complete his academic degree and collegiate eligibility.”

Oregon State proposed a self-imposed penalty on Wetzler of 10 percent of his team’s games, which apparently was not enough for the NCAA, according to Clark.

“This is really a shame. To be clear, Ben received no money, nor did he enter into an agreement with the intent of hiring an agent to negotiate on his behalf,” Clark said. “The violation was a technicality, and we strongly believe that it is overly harsh for him to lose 20 percent of his senior season because of that.

“Oregon State believes that this penalty does not fairly represent Ben’s culpability in the matter or the seriousness of the violation,” Clark said. “This student was looking for a way to deal with the pressures associated with the situation so he could return to school.”

Clark said the complexity of a student-athlete being able to individually evaluate an offer to become a professional athlete, or instead choose to remain in school, is “incredibly daunting and not something we should expect young people to be able to do on their own.

“This is simply what Ben Wetzler did – he sought to understand his options for a professional baseball career versus completing his education and playing out his senior year,” Clark said. “He trusted his adviser to follow the NCAA rules and not negotiate on his behalf. Once he understood his options, he decided to remain a student-athlete for one more year at Oregon State University.

“Let’s review the facts here,” Clark said. “A student-athlete sought advice on whether to go pro or return to school. He received that advice, and now he is being punished by the NCAA for making a decision to complete his education – a decision that we should all applaud. This is inexplicable.”

Clark said the decision by the NCAA suggests that the organization needs to re-evaluate its stance on how best to help student-athletes determine their futures.

“The NCAA should have the best interests of student-athletes in mind, and it should certainly question rules that produce this outcome,” Clark said. “Having seen these amateurism rules in action, OSU believes the NCAA should take a serious look with an eye toward revising the rules on amateur status and find new ways to help student-athletes navigate the high-pressure negotiations of professional sports to make the best life choices.”

De Carolis said that OSU takes its NCAA obligations seriously and works hard to support the success of its student-athletes on and off the playing field. 

One of the best pitchers in OSU history, Wetzler has a 24-6 all-time record pitching under Coach Pat Casey – just seven wins shy of breaking Oregon State’s school record for victories. Last year, the southpaw hurler from Clackamas, Ore., went 10-1 with a 2.25 earned run average, winning his last 10 decisions en route to being named to the All-Pac-12 First Team.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Steve Clark, 503-502-8217

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About Oregon State University: OSU is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification. Its more than 26,000 students come from all 50 states and more than 90 nations. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teach and conduct research on issues of national and global importance.

OSU hires Heilbron as senior associate AD for development

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Shawn R. Heilbron, associate athletic director for development at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been named the senior associate athletic director for development at Oregon State University, effective July 1.

In this position, Heilbron [pronounced HILL-bron] will provide leadership to the OSU athletics development program, which includes the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. He will direct a nine-person department and lead efforts to complete the OSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ $157 million goal as part of the university's $850 million comprehensive fundraising campaign.

"I'm very excited to be joining the Beaver family," said Heilbron. "There is a talented group of coaches and staff in place at OSU, and I look forward to working with them to help increase private support for the program so that we can continue to give our student-athletes the best opportunities to achieve success in the classroom and in competition."

At UCLA, Heilbron oversaw major gifts, the Wooden Athletic Fund, Bruin Varsity Club, endowments, special events, sports specific fundraising and planned gifts. He was responsible for more than $35 million in gifts to UCLA athletics during his tenure.

"I'm excited to bring Shawn aboard in such a vital role for OSU athletics," said OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis. "His background in this conference and his knowledge of the changing landscape of this league make him the ideal choice for this position."

Heilbron arrived at UCLA in June 2006 after serving as associate athletic director for external relations at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Mike Goodwin, president and CEO of the OSU Foundation, stressed the importance of the role Heilbron will play in leading a program to support the university's more than 500 student-athletes.

"This is a significant recruitment for the university," Goodwin said. "Shawn brings with him extensive leadership, teambuilding and fundraising experiences that will build Beaver Nation and position us as a model program among our peers."

A graduate of the University of Texas, Heilbron began his career in 1994 as director of public relations for the Dallas Freeze of the Central Hockey League. He also spent two years as communications and marketing manager for Pinnacle Trading Cards.

Source: 

Molly Brown, 541-737-3602

NCAA certifies Oregon State University intercollegiate athletics program

INDIANAPOLIS--- Following a comprehensive campus self-study and review by the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, the Oregon State University intercollegiate athletics program received certification today by the NCAA, the organization announced at its Indiana headquarters.

OSU was one of 12 Division I programs so approved in the association’s certification process. The designation of “certified” means that “an institution operates its athletics program in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by the Division I membership,” an NCAA news release said.

All 335 active Division I member campuses participate in the certification process, and OSU’s certification, covering its 17 intercollegiate sports programs, is good for 10 years.

OSU’s self-study, which began in summer 2008, included a review of program governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; gender/diversity issues and student-athlete wellbeing. The process included a series of public meetings allowing faculty, staff, students and members of the public opportunities to offer their thoughts or concerns on any of the areas contained in the study.

As it does with all member campuses, the Division I Committee on Athletics Certification preliminarily reviewed OSU’s certification materials and provided a list of issues identified during the evaluation. 

The university then hosted a visit by peer reviewers who filed a report regarding the institution’s resolution of issues identified during the preliminary review. The certification committee, whose members represent such institutions as Princeton, California State University and the University of Michigan, then rendered its final decision.

“I’d like to acknowledge the high level of integrity and the tremendous efforts of the faculty and staff who participated in this process,” said Rich Holdren, chair of the NCAA Self-Study Certification Steering Committee and interim vice president for Research at OSU. “Our student athletes will see real benefits for many years into the future as a result of those efforts.”

Source: 

Jennifer Royer, NCAA Public and Media Relations, 317-917-6117

NCAA FULLY CERTIFIES OSU ATHLETIC PROGRAM

CORVALLIS - Oregon State University was added Thursday to list of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I universities to be fully certified.

The announcement was made by the NCAA's Committee on Athletics Certification, which announced decisions concerning 18 member institutions.

Full certification means a university has demonstrated that it operates its athletic program in conformity with the NCAA's operating principles on rules compliance, academic and fiscal integrity, and commitment to equity.

"We are extremely pleased by the NCAA's certification of Oregon State," said OSU President Paul Risser. "The recognition acknowledges the tremendous effort made by our athletic administrators, coaches, staff and student athletes to build a program of comprehensive quality.

"In a recent study of academic performance among all universities in the nation, OSU ranked fourth in the graduation rate of its scholarship athletes with a 95 percent graduation rate. That achievement speaks highly of the students and their coaches. We're proud of that success and of our athletic programs."

Thursday's announcements bring to 86 the number of the NCAA's 302 Division I members which have now completed the certification process.

The process involves extensive self-study and review. The study requires institutions to prepare documentation on athletic department operations and academic progress. A review team, composed of peer administrators from other NCAA member universities, visits the campus to examine the documentation and meet with campus officials. The review team then reports to the NCAA Committee of Athletic Certification, which renders a final decision.

OSU's review team, headed by President John Welty of California State University, Fresno, visited the campus in 1995.

Source: 

Paul Risser, 541-737-4133