March 3, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Can a baseball game be declared "snowed out" even when most of the white stuff had melted by the scheduled start time?
Apparently, the Nicholls State Colonels thought so, and the NCAA agreed.
Nicholls State departed Mississippi State''s Dudy Noble Field prior to the 1:30 p.m. scheduled start time for Sunday''s series finale because it didn''t think the field could be ready to play on after two inches of snow fell in the Starkville area Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The snow fall ended at 8 a.m. and the teams met at the stadium. After some discussion, Nicholls State decided to bus home at noon before the umpire crews arrived.
The Bulldogs, who tried to stress the field would be ready to play by the scheduled starting time, had called for a forfeit because the Colonels decided to leave.
On Monday, the NCAA ruled the game a no-contest.
The NCAA by-laws state in Section 14 that, "there shall be no forfeit of a contest until the umpires or other appropriate contest official has assumed jurisdiction of the contest in accordance with applicable playing rules."
Since the umpires weren''t at the field when Nicholls State left, there could be no forfeit.
MSU officials did not like the ruling, but accepted it. The schedule has been reduced from 57 to 56 games and it is not known whether the lost game will be replaced. A make-up game against Nicholls State won''t be scheduled.
After the Colonels left Starkville, the Bulldogs scrimmaged, held a team meeting, then prepared for their trip for Hawaii this week.
"It''s disappointing," MSU coach John Cohen said as he packed his bag for Hawaii on Sunday. "It''s not it being a forfeit or not. It''s losing nine innings of experience for this baseball team. This team needs as much experience as it can get."
Rain postponed Friday''s first game against Nicholls State and forced the teams to play a doubleheader Saturday. The Bulldogs (7-1) swept the twinbill 10-8 and 6-3.