Master’s College catcher Terry Sloan, considered by Coach John Zeller to be the team’s best player and a potential major leaguer, withdrew from school last week under pressure from administrators.
Sloan said he was asked to leave after school officials questioned him about staying overnight with his girlfriend.
Master’s College is a small Christian school that forbids, among other things, drinking, dancing and premarital sex.
“In my mind, I think I’ve been treated unfairly,” said the 21-year-old catcher. “I didn’t do what they accused me of. When I withdrew, it was like 500 pounds of concrete had been lifted off my shoulders because of all the pressure the school was putting on me.”
Zeller said Sloan left the Christian school in Newhall because of personal problems.
“He chose to withdraw himself,” Zeller said. “I won’t lie and say there wasn’t pressure. But, with his best interests in mind, he left.”
Said Russell Moir, an assistant to the school president: “By his own admission, Terry Sloan repeatedly broke school policy, jeopardizing his relationship with the school. We don’t have any comment as to the particulars.”
During a meeting with Moir and school President John MacArthur in January, Sloan said he admitted to “dancing one time.” He said he also told MacArthur and Moir that he “had a couple of beers once” and “dipped tobacco occasionally.”
In recent weeks, Sloan was also questioned about his 19-year-old girlfriend, Debbie DeLano.
“They had heard that my girlfriend and I were staying together in a house,” Sloan said. “But we never stayed together. The story got blown out of proportion. Two students even came over at 3:30 in the morning to see if we were together. I let them in and told them that they could look through the house. They looked through the closets and everything.”
DeLano’s mother, who lives in Carnation, Wash., had told Moir that her daughter was staying at the house in Canyon Country. Sloan’s parents, who live in Chattanooga, Tenn., had rented the house for a vacation this month. Sloan normally lives in a dormitory on the Master’s campus.
“I told my parents that I’d been staying there, but I never stayed at the house,” said DeLano. “I was staying with a girl in Reseda who I had met two or three weeks before. My parents are protective. My dad is a pastor. I was afraid they’d worry if I told them I was staying with this girl. So I told them I was staying out at the house.
“When Russ Moir called my mom, she told him I’d said that I’d been staying there.”
Sloan said Moir suspended him from the team and said he could not play as long as his story conflicted with that of DeLano’s mother.
“It was a no-win situation,” Sloan said. “As long as the stories conflicted, I couldn’t play. Finally, I told them we stayed at the house in different rooms just so I could play.”
Sloan met with Moir three times early last week. He said he was allowed to play April 15 against Whittier College while the administrator decided his future at the school.
“Moir said he wanted to pray about it,” Sloan said. On Wednesday, Moir told Sloan that if he didn’t withdraw from the school, he would be expelled.
“The reason he gave was that I had lied. That’s what he got me on--lying. I didn’t know they were going to do that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone along with it. No way I would have changed the story,” Sloan said.
“I was raised in a Christian background,” Debbie DeLano said, “but to me it’s like the twilight zone out there, the way they do this stuff. They even asked Terry if I was pregnant. I was willing to go to a doctor to take a test.”
Sloan arrived at Master’s last fall after transferring from Birmingham (Ala.) Southern College. “I decided to come here because I heard Zeller would be the coach,” Sloan said. “I knew of him from summer leagues in Tennessee. I thought it would be a good opportunity to play in Southern California.”
Zeller moved to Master’s last summer from Tennessee Temple, a Baptist school in Chattanooga.
Sloan, a junior, batted .399 for the Mustangs this season. In 38 games, he had 12 home runs, 17 doubles, 3 triples and 47 runs batted in. Zeller said that a number of major league organizations have shown interest in the 6-1, 190-pound catcher.
“I think he’s got a good chance of being drafted and signed in June,” the coach said.
Sloan said the Angels, Dodgers, Atlanta, San Francisco, Cincinnati and New York Mets have contacted Zeller.
A major league scout who wished to remain anonymous said Sloan has the potential to make the big leagues.
“Terry’s future depends on how he swings the bat,” the scout said. “He has above-average power. If he hits, he’ll move on up the line. If he continues to perform consistently, he has the opportunity to make it to the majors. He’ll probably be a middle-round selection in the draft.”
Sloan said that under no circumstances would he return to Master’s. “I’m hoping that I’ll get drafted. If something happens so I don’t get the chance, I’ll go to a Division I school somewhere.”
Between now and June, Sloan will work out on his own. He said he was denied permission to work out with his former team.