Jason Monda threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Washington State’s loss to Cal State Northridge on Thursday. Though the Cougars (2-7) could have used the win, it was a victory to have Monda on campus and eligible to play.
The pitcher/outfielder was drafted in the sixth round of last year’s Major League Baseball draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Although he decided to return to school, the Phillies accused Monda of violating the NCAA’s “no agent rule”.
While the NCAA does not allow any athlete to retain an adviser, baseball players – unlike football or basketball – are eligible to play after entering a professional draft provided they don’t sign with a team.
The Phillies also accused Oregon State’s Ben Wetzler, who was suspended the first 11 games of the 2014 season by the NCAA. But Monda was cleared and hasn’t missed any time.
“It’s a moot point for us. Jason was never ineligible,” WSU coach Donnie Marbut said. “That’s why we didn’t talk about it, he was never ineligible because he didn’t do anything wrong and we’re just excited to have him back in the lineup hitting for the Cougs and pitching for the Cougs.”
Monda’s father, Greg, said that the NCAA conducted a thorough investigation into the family’s contact with agents and advisers. Greg Monda played baseball for WSU in the 1980’s and was named to two all-conference teams.
“I can say they were very aggressive, they were going to find the facts, and they found nothing on Jason,” Greg Monda said. “There was absolutely no violation. I just wanted to make that clear that with all the stuff that’s been said there was never any reinstatement, there was never any violation found so if there was a violation he would have been suspended, it’s as simple as that.”
Gonzaga (3-8) has struggled out of the gate but has some time to make corrections before its next game on Saturday. The Bulldogs’ last game was probably their best of the season, a 6-4 win over Oklahoma (7-4) thanks to some late scoring and three innings of scoreless relief pitching from Will Abram.
“It’s always nice to win the last one especially when we’ve been struggling just a little bit,” coach Mark Machtolf said. “But you’ve got to take it in terms of what it is, it’s a long season and we’re not going to try and win just one game.”
Improvement may be slow going for the Bulldogs, who are unable to practice outside as often as they would like to because of the weather.
“We want to win every one, but we also want to get back to work,” Machtolf said. “And unfortunately the weather’s not cooperating anywhere. It’s pretty brutal out.”