JUCO Baseball Sign Stealing Scandal Leads To Longtime Coach’s Resignation

Baseballs lay next to a glove on the infield.


A longtime New Jersey JUCO baseball coach was forced to resign this week after multiple players were found with earpieces in their helmets. The discovery sparked a sign stealing scandal resulting in the resignation decision.

Rodney Velardi is no longer with the Atlantic Cape Community College baseball team, ending a 13-year stint with the south Jersey program.

The incident that led to the departure dates back to April 22nd. In a game against Rowan College Gloucester County, the opposing first baseman thought that he heard a voice coming from the helmet of an ACCC baserunner.

The infielder then let his head coach, Rob Valli, know about the odd observation. The coach was in disbelief.

Valli said, “I didn’t believe it,” after hearing the claims. “I just thought, nah. I didn’t believe it… For that sophisticated of cheating, I just didn’t think they would do that.”

The head coach didn’t immediately tell the umpiring crew of his suspicions, holding off until he was 100% sure about the headset use.

“For me, I wasn’t going to go right up there in the first inning. We had to confirm that’s what it was. So, the second time up, those same guys got on, and [the first baseman] was confirming with me the whole time. Once those guys got on, he’s saying, ‘I hear it. I hear it.'”

At that point in time, Rowan College stopped the game and keyed the umpiring crew in.

While no one was ejected from the game, Valli said he wouldn’t continue without a camera in centerfield being taken down. He believed that the camera was zooming in on the catcher’s signs, feeding a livestream to an iPad in the dugout. Those signs, in Valli’s theory, were then being relayed to players via the helmet headsets.

“Whether he did on not, who could prove or say, but he had an iPad in the dugout, and you’re not allowed to do that,” Valli said.

Following the cheating allegations, coach Velardi was handed a four-game suspension before Atlantic Cape Community College asked him to resign.

Fans were quick to comment online.

One person asked, “Is it worth winning when you cheat?”

Another baseball fan said, “Cheating in JUCO is beyond crazy.”

This follower wrote, “Imagine doing all that just to lose your job for the 5 ppl in attendance.”

It certainly didn’t work out in the coach’s favor.