UCF Baseball Denies Cheating Controversy After Former Player Goes Scorched Earth With Juiced Bat Allegations

UCF head baseball coach Greg Lovelady insists that his program is not cheating. One of his former players says otherwise.

Who is telling the truth? Who is to say?

Here's what we know:

Earlier this year, a former Knights baseball player — who is no longer with the program — alleged that cheating runs rampant within Lovelady's program. He sent emails to multiple programs around the conference and across the country with his claims.

The former UCF player, unnamed at this time, said that one of his teammates had altered his bat, among other things. A short video was included in the emails.

The video appeared to show the former player's teammate switch a sticker from one bat to another. Stickers are used to mark approved, NCAA-sanctioned bats.

According to NCAA protocol, all non-wood bats (the vast majority) must be reviewed before every regular season series. If a bat passes the testing, a sticker is placed on the bat.

In the 15-second long video, a UCF player (with his face blurred) seems to remove the sticker from one bat and place it on another. A timeline for the video is unclear, but the player filmed in the video is still on the team.

How do we know? Lovelady met with the player that was shown in the video and suspended him for two games this season.

UCF and Greg Lovelady continue to deny allegations.

When Lovelady was first pressed about the incident on Monday, his answers did not provide much clarity about the situation. He spoke to the internal investigation.

In a statement Wednesday, Lovelady revealed the suspension and said that UCF did not find evidence of the use of illegal bats.

It also seemed as though Lovelady pinned the former Knights players' accusations on disgruntlement. His statement alluded to a reality in which the player, who was frustrated with his role, left the team and then turned on his program.

Although there could be truth to Lovelady's account of events, it doesn't explain why the player would be suspended if he didn't do anything wrong. The math doesn't add up.

And if the current player did do something wrong, that warrants a suspension, does that not back up the former player's claims? Does it not cast a shadow of doubt over Lovelady's denials?

Taking a deeper look —

UCF says that it does not juice its bats.

But what does that even mean? How can you "juice" an aluminum bat?

The most common way to increase the pop of a metal bat is by "rolling" the bat. For simplicity sake, rolling a bat is a way of expediting the break-in time.

It usually takes more than 500 hits from the bat for it to become "hot." Rolling the bat eliminates that 500-hit window and maximizes its potential from the first swing, adding 20-40 feet to a batted ball, while minimizing wear-and-tear.

There are also other ways to "juice" a metal bat, but rolling is the most common. The Knights and Lovelady insist that their team does not use any of the techniques.

Whether UCF is telling the truth or not, its numbers from the 2023 season tell an interesting story.

UCF's first 20 games, in which it went 15-5:

UCF's last 12 games, in which it went 2-10:

The root for the Knights' struggles at the dish is unknown. Regardless of the reason for the slump, there are a lot of questions surrounding the program that may not ever get answered. UCF denies.