What you missed in Arizona sports over the summer
In case Arizona Athletics fell off your radar this summer, it’s time to get back on track and catch up on some of the sports news you may have missed.
Rugby suffers major loss
The Wildcats rugby team had success on the field as the Sevens went to the Collegiate Rugby Championship. Off the field, however, tragedy hit when long-time head coach Dave Sitton died from a blood clot at the age of 58 on Aug. 12.
Sitton’s death was a significant loss not only for the rugby team but for the University of Arizona and the city of Tucson as a whole. He was a football and basketball broadcaster of the Wildcats for more than 20 years and ran for Congress as a Republican in 2012 to replace Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Tyler Baker/ Arizona Daily Wildcat UA closed out the 2013 baseball seasn by sweeping USC.
Originally from Southern California, Sitton was recruited to play baseball for UA, but after injuries he turned to rugby and became head coach in 1978. He also did work for several charity organizations in Tucson.
Football Wildcats involved in lawsuit
Arizona football season starts this Friday, and it is likely that two players have more than football on their minds. Senior linebacker Jake Fischer and senior kicker Jake Smith have joined forces with four other NCAA football players, as well as several former NCAA stars, including lead plaintiff, former UCLA men’s basketball player Ed O’Bannon.
They are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NCAA and EA Sports, the company that produced the “NCAA Football” games.
Of all the players in the lawsuit, Fischer is likely the most important to his team, as he was the Wildcats’ leader in tackles last season. This season, his number 33 is being sold by the school as the team’s new jersey.
When Fischer and Smith joined the lawsuit a month ago, University of Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne released a statement that said the athletic department doesn’t support the lawsuit, but does support Fischer and Smith’s rights to express their opinions.
Baseball denied title defense chance
In 2012, Wildcats baseball was on top of the world, as it won its fourth College World Series Championship, but in 2013, they did not even qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Arizona went 34-21. The Wildcats were considered a borderline team for the tournament of 64, but the selection committee left them out.
Not everything was bad for the Wildcats, though, as outfielder Johnny Field, first baseman Brandon Dixon and pitcher Konner Wade were all drafted into the MLB. Dixon went in the third round to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Field went fifth round to the Tampa Bay Rays, and Wade was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the seventh round.
Wade elected to return for his senior season though.
Softball knocked out of NCAA tourney early
Arizona softball has a national champion history, but 2013 was not the best year for the team.
The team lost in regionals, a far cry from its normal success. Outfielder Hallie Wilson was the star of the team, and her highlight of the season came with a game-winning walk-off three-run homer against UCLA. Wilson was also invited to the Team USA tryouts, but she was cut.
Football has problems off the field
For some, Arizona football’s offseason looked a little bit like the TV show “Law and Order.”
In May, former assistant strength and conditioning coach Frank Davis was charged for allegedly assaulting a student manager after the team lost to ASU last November. Davis was suspended from pay and not fired, but his contract was not renewed when it expired in June.
In July, sophomore safety Patrick Onwuasor was arrested and charged with four felonies, including drug charges and possession of a dangerous weapon. Head coach Rich Rodriguez announced shortly after Onwuasor was taken into custody that he was cut from the team.
Ka’Deem Carey’s charges dropped
Back in December, star football running back Ka’Deem Carey was charged with misdemeanor assault charges in a domestic violence case with his pregnant girlfriend.
In June, all of his charges were dropped. Carey still has a chance to be the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner, as well as the Doak Walker award winner.
— Follow him Twitter.com/DerekEvans20