WOMEN'S TENNIS: Bull fired as violations emerge

Athletics Department self-reported violations Monday

Ball State University women's tennis coach Kathy Bull was fired Tuesday because of violations self-reported by the Athletics Department to the NCAA on Monday.


Ball State announced the decision at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through a press release.

"We made the move [Tuesday]," athletics director Tom Collins said. "We'll sit down tomorrow and we're going to map out the next few weeks."

Collins said that while they have reported the violation, it will be up to the NCAA to determine whether the infraction is a major or secondary violation.

The team is scheduled to compete in two more tournaments during the fall season: the ITA Tournament in Cincinnati this weekend and the Kennesaw Invitational in Kennesaw, Ga. next weekend. Collins said Ball State's status for these tournaments is up in the air.

"We don't know if we're going to compete this weekend," Collins said. "We're going to figure that out tomorrow."

Collins said that graduate assistant coach Amanda Pratzel and associate athletics director Karin Lee will supervise the team until a new coach is hired.

Ball State sports information director for the team, Joe Hernandez, said that the team was notified of the firing Tuesday by Collins. Hernandez also said that none of the players were available to comment on the situation.

The last time Ball State athletics committed a major infraction was in 2005 when athletes from about half of Ball State's sports teams were found to use scholarship money to purchase textbooks for classes they were not enrolled in. The NCAA put Ball State on two year's probation for the violation in 2007. The probation period ended Oct. 16, three days before the violations were reported.

From the time Ball State was placed on probation to the beginning of this school year, Ball State athletic teams had committed 27 secondary violations, two of which were committed by the women's tennis team, according to documents obtained through the Indiana Access to Public Records Act. During the same span, the football team had five violations, while the softball and gymnastics teams committed four each.

Bull, who was unavailable for comment, has been Ball State's head coach since 1988. In her 21 seasons, the Cardinals were 233-210 and never won a Mid-American Conference title.

The last coach to be fired from Ball State was former women's volleyball coach Randy Litchfield in 2006. The five-time Mid-American Coach of the Year's contract was not renewed after his team finished the season with a losing record for the first time in Litchfield's 18-year tenure. Litchfield has said he believes the firing stemmed from he and his staff witnessing violations in 2006 by former men's basketball coach Ronny Thompson that they were obligated to report, which eventually led to Thompson's departure from Ball State. Litchfield filed a tort claim notification in the event that he wants to sue Ball State for wrongful termination. He has until July of 2010 to file the suit.

Bull reported to the Daily News in April that Ball State was under investigation for gender equity violations. As of October 13, the situation is still under investigation, according to Jim Bradshaw from the U.S. Department of Education press office.


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