In a shocking turn of events, the University of Houston and coach Todd Whitting removed Seth Romero from their baseball program on Wednesday morning.
In 10 games and 48 2/3 innings as a junior with the Cougars, the southpaw held a 3.51 earned run average and 1.36 WHIP. Romero currently leads the nation in strikeouts-per-nine, at 15.72.
On Tuesday, Romero was involved in an unspecified incident, leading to his removal from the program. It was not the first time the Texas native had troubles, but his third incident that led to suspension, including his second this year after he was suspended indefinitely for violating university policies on April 9.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Romero had failed a drug test, broke curfew on a road trip and appeared in a photograph holding a bong while in his uniform, leading to his April suspension.
In the report from the Houston Chronicle, it notes that Romero told school officials that he did not smoke from the bong, and was asked by a group to pose for the photo while retrieving a ball from beyond the outfield wall prior to a game against in Irvine, California.
"Due to an event Tuesday, along with previous conduct detrimental to the team, Seth Romero has been removed from the Houston baseball program," coach Whitting said in a statement released by the program. "I appreciate Hunter Yurachek's (athletic director) support of my decision for our program to move forward without Seth. We wish Seth and his family the best of luck as he embarks on the next phase of his life and baseball career."
With a fastball that ranges 92-95 MPH, and a plus swing-and-miss slider, many are torn between Romero's on-field success and off-field concerns. One scout noted the cliche of it taking just one team to ignore any off-field events for him to be a first-round pick. Another scout had a differing opinion, saying his team would never consider taking the risk.