Geoducks must subtract 8 wins for using ineligible player

November 8, 2002

By Gail Wood

The Evergreen State College must forfeit eight women's soccer victories in which Niki Claussen played this season, eliminating the Geoducks from the playoffs.

Evergreen's record dropped form 11-8 overall and 11-5 in the Cascade Conference to 3-16 and 3-13.

"We remain very proud of the team for what they did on the field," Evergreen athletic director Dave Weber said.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics ruled Claussen ineligible because she had already earned her degree at Washington State in zoology before transferring to Evergreen. NAIA rules prohibit athletes with undergraduate degrees from playing at any school other than where the degree was earned. Claussen did not use any athletic eligibility at WSU.

Claussen participated in a Running Start program and took classes at South Puget Sound Community College while at Shelton High School. That allowed her to graduate from WSU in just four semesters.

Claussen's transcript from WSU did not indicate information about a degree in the typical location, leading to the oversight, Weber said. Evergreen discovered Claussen had earned a degree at WSU when the school's sports information director was working on a story about her at the end of October. Weber then reported the rule violation to the NAIA.

"There was no intent to deceive on anyone's part," Weber said.

Evergreen played its final three games without Claussen and won each. However, it was not enough to advance to the playoffs.

"The young women showed a lot of heart to finish with three consecutive victories on the road," Weber said.

Before the forfeits, Evergreen was in third place in Cascade Collegiate Conference play and guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

Two weeks ago, Claussen scored five goals and had an assist in victories against Southern Oregon and Oregon Tech, earning her the conference player-of-the-week award. For the season, she had 10 goals and two assists in 15 games.

Claussen was an all-league player at Shelton High School.