Saturday, October 11, 2003

Canadian pro league at center at controversy

Saturday, October 11, 2003 By Dean Russin
Sports Editor

ONEONTA — Hartwick College freshmen men's soccer players Josh Wagenaar and Tyler Hemming are being investigated by the school for possible violations of NCAA eligibility rules.
Although the college refused to name the two players it is withholding from competition in a brief statement released Friday afternoon, a source close to the team confirmed Friday night that Wagenaar and Hemming are the two being investigated.
Both are regular starters for the ninth-ranked Hawks, but neither played in Hartwick's most important game of the season so far Friday night. Hemming is a key defensive player and Wagenaar is the starting goalie, who leads the Atlantic Soccer Conference in two statistical categories.
The Hawks fell to 10th-ranked Florida International in the ASC opener for both teams, 4-2, Friday night at Elmore Field. Wagenaar and the Hawks (8-2) limited their first nine opponents to a total of four goals.
"I don't know you can say that," Hartwick first-year coach Ian McIntyre said when asked if the outcome would have been different with Wagenaar and Hemming on the field. "I thought (replacement goalie Scott Carman) did great. He made a very important save when they were 1-0 up. It was a great reflex save."
Carman allowed all four goals and made six saves. McIntyre refused to comment on why the investigation is taking place.
"You know I'm not allowed to (comment)," he said. "I can't comment on that. It's an ongoing investigation, so I can't comment on that."
An Internet search Friday night from The Daily Star revealed that Wagenaar and Hemming — both from Ontario, Canada — played together on Canada's U-20 National Team in 2003. The two also played during a 22-game schedule for London City of the Canadian Professional Soccer League in 2002.
Hartwick's statement, released by the school's director of communications, Rob Clark, said that two players were not paid but did compete in a foreign league against clubs with professional players on their rosters.
The statement also says that one player was sidelined for Hartwick's Oct. 2 game against Niagara University as the college discovered the possible violation Oct. 1. Hartwick found out about the second player Oct. 6, according to its statement.
Hemming did not play against Niagara and neither played Friday night against FIU.
Clark refused to comment Friday and said that no comments will be issued by Hartwick until its investigation is complete.
A London Free Press article dated July 6, 2002, said Wagenaar "has just signed with (London) City of the Canadian Professional Soccer League."
Another article dated April 29, 2003, also from the London Free Press, said Hemming "worries he might have a problem with scholarship eligibility" because he has played with City since age 15. A May 9 London Free Press article said that Hemming stopped playing in the CPSL because he feared "playing in a professional soccer league will jeopardize NCAA scholarship eligibility."
According to the website, athletes are considered professionals if they sign a contract or verbally commit with a professional sports organization or if they play on a professional athletics team.


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