Clausen disqualification from Wheeler Lake tournament upheld

The disqualification of Luke Clausen of Otis Orchards, Wash., from the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament at Wheeler Lake, Alabama, last week, has been upheld by an appeals panel.

Clausen was disqualified from the event on the third day of competition for violating Elite Series Rule C3, which outlines a number of restrictions on practicing and obtaining information during off-limits periods, among others. At the time, he was in seventh place and had qualified to compete on Championship Sunday.

Clausen quickly appealed the disqualification decision when it was announced.

Under a new rule for this year, Clausen was allowed to continue competing while the decision was being appealed. According to the rule (C23), the 13th-place angler, Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, La., was permitted to compete on Sunday, as well, with the understanding that, should Clausen win the appeal, Crochet’s catch, ranking and winnings would revert to his Day 3 totals.

A three-member panel consisting of two tournament anglers not competing in the Elite Series and a B.A.S.S. employee not associated with the tournament department heard the appeal Friday afternoon and upheld the disqualification.

With the appeals panel’s ruling, Clausen’s total catch of 59-9, initially good enough for eighth place, is erased, dropping him to 108th in the tournament. Crochet, who finished seventh with 59-10, will remain in that position, and each angler below seventh will move up one position.

Official, updated standings, points and payouts will be posted on Bassmaster.com on Saturday.