Phillies' Error Causes Brief Panic in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. – Clemson's quest for a National Championship appeared to have taken a major hit late Friday following the use of what was thought to be an ineligible player. At 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, the Philadelphia Phillies released a list of drafted players they have signed and where they will begin their professional careers.

On that list was Tigers third baseman Herman Demmink, who was drafted by Philadelphia in the 28th round earlier this month. It also said that he has been assigned to the Phillies of the Gulf Coast League.

The transaction ran in every newspaper across the country. If accurate, it would mean that Demmink played Friday illegally and the team would have to forfeit its 8-4 win over Georgia Tech.

According to Bylaw 12.1.1 of the NCAA rules handbook, an individual loses amateur status and thus shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition in a particular sport if the individual: Accepts a promise of pay even if such pay is to be received following completion of intercollegiate athletics participation; signs a contract or commitment of any kind to play professional athletics, regardless of its legal enforceability or any consideration received.

The release was still on Philadelphia's team web site Saturday afternoon.

When asked by CUTigers.com about it Saturday morning, Demmink said he hasn't signed anything.

"We're playing in the College World Series, so right now I'm still an amateur," he said. "It's not true. I haven't had a chance to speak with them. The Clemson Tigers are my number one priority and I want to take care of them first."

CUTigers.com got in contact with the Phillies early Saturday to see what the team had to say about the situation. After several separate conversations, assistant director of scouting Rob Holiday determined the error was on their end.

"I'm glad you called," he said. "That's our mistake. I have to have that amended right now. As soon as he's done, he'll sign and he'll be sent to the Gulf Coast League. It's not on the kid at all."

Demmink said he was first made aware of the release Friday morning when Tigers head coach Jack Leggett saw it in a newspaper.

"We were eating breakfast as a team and he called me down a couple minutes early to ask me what's going on and said, ‘Herman, what are you doing?' " Demmink said. "I said, ‘What are you talking about?' And he said, ‘You can't be signing with a team right now.' ‘I didn't. I haven't talked to them since the day of the draft.' He goes, ‘Well, the paper has it.' I said, ‘Well the paper has it wrong. It says right here (points to his chest) that I haven't.' "

Demmink said he'd hate to imagine what the consequences would be if he had indeed signed.

"Clemson fans would hate me," he said. "What I'll probably do is I'll call (Philadelphia) by late this afternoon and find out what the deal is. To tell you the truth, I'm not concerned with it because unless somebody illegally forged my name or tried to be me, that's not possible. I'm not worried about it."

TEST UNIFORMS: The Tigers donned new uniforms from Russell Saturday at practice, which sported a wide purple wave down each sleeve. Leggett said even though he likes them, the team isn't going to wear them in any games.

"Things are going too good right now to change up," he said.

Some of the names on the back of the jerseys were wrong. For Taylor Harbin, it had his first name across the shoulders. For Stan Widmann, it had Wildmann.

"I like it," Widmann said. "That's my new nickname. Everyone's calling me that now."

RARE COMPANY: North Carolina coach Mike Fox and Leggett are just two of 10 people that have played and coached in the College World Series. Fox did it with the Tar Heels in 1978, when he made the All-CWS team, after going 4-16 with a homer, triple and three RBI.

A third coach at this year's College World Series is also on that list in Cal State Fullerton's George Horton.

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