FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitcher Trey Killian will not participate in the first six games of the season after an NCAA violation that dated back to high school.
The Razorbacks announced Wednesday that Killian would be “withheld” from competition because of what it described as an “impermissible interaction” that occurred before his arrival at Arkansas. The Mountain Home native will not be available for the season-opening series against Appalachian State or the three-game series against Eastern Illinois.
He will be eligible to make his season debut against South Alabama on Feb. 28.
“We finally had a ruling (Wednesday) and it’s unfortunate that, basically, what has gone on there is something that happened three years ago,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “When he was being — I guess you could call it — semi-advised by advisor agents on what you can and can’t do. That’s come out. It’s something we had to address and we did and appreciate the NCAA moving on it quickly so now we know he won’t pitch the first two weekends and he’ll be good to go after that.”
Van Horn and Arkansas did not disclose the exact violation. A spokesperson confirmed it did not involve the Razorbacks. Van Horn reiterated it was in regard to an advisor/agent when Killian was playing at Mountain Home High.
“I really can’t say a whole lot more than that,” Van Horn said. “It’s a big thing, but it’s a little thing. I mean, it’s just something that told, ‘Oh, it’s OK to do that.’ But it wasn’t. So we did what we needed to do. It’s unfortunate for our team. It’s unfortunate for him that it even happened. He’s not a bad kid. It just happened.”
Killian, a sophomore, was not available for comment Wednesday.
Arkansas said the matter has been resolved with the NCAA and that the program supports Killian and is looking forward “to his return to the field.”
Killian went 3-3 with a 3.19 earned run average in 16 appearances, including five starts, as a freshman. He is expected to help an Arkansas pitching staff that is short on experience when he returns from his six-game suspension.
“I think he’s dealing with it good,” Arkansas pitcher Jalen Beeks said. “He’s pretty level-headed. Not too high, not too low. He’s taking it well. He had a talk with the team. Everybody is supporting him on the team. So I think it’s going to be fine.”
Van Horn announced his starting rotation for the Appalachian State series.
Left-hander Jalen Beeks will start Friday, while right-hander Chris Oliver will take the mound Saturday. Freshman Alex Phillips will make his Arkansas debut Sunday.
The three pitchers have combined for one start in their Arkansas careers.
“We’re inexperienced, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity there,” said Beeks, who made a team-high 29 appearances out of the bullpen in 2013. “You don’t know really what’s going to happen. It’s a wild card. So I’m excited to see what happens.”