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Wednesday, May 15 2013 11:00 PM

BC should put up a fight over stiff sanctions

By The Bakersfield Californian

Were the infractions committed by Bakersfield College's football program serious enough to justify the sanctions imposed Tuesday? Or did college administrators roll over and accept penalties -- including the loss of last season's state junior college championship -- wildly out of line with the seriousness of the offenses?

The people who are in a position to provide answers haven't offered the community much. BC's new president, Sonya Christian, staged a disappearing act immediately after the delivery of her prepared statement on the sanctions, and Zav Dadabhoy, BC's vice president of student services, wasn't heard from at all. The near-total information blackout isn't what we need now.

Dadabhoy, BC's point man with the Southern California Football Association and the sanctions-issuing California Community College Athletic Association, should provide the public with specifics. BC is a state institution, and with the exception of information protected by personnel and confidentiality laws, all details about those investigations belong to the citizens.

It's common for a community to react defensively when a well-established institution -- and BC's football program certainly fits that bill -- finds itself facing charges of wrongdoing brought by outside entities. BC's transgressions and that of the unaffiliated booster organization known as the Helmet Club may well warrant this drastic punishment, which also includes two years' probation and a one-year postseason ban. Perhaps BC's violations, such as ceding too much autonomy to the Helmet Club, are the tip of the iceberg and more revelations are ahead.

But if not, the BC administration must appeal the sanctions. Rules violations such as free pregame meals and help for out-of-state players in locating housing hardly seem to call for sanctions that fall just short of the so-called death penalty. BC must make every effort to restore credibility to a vital community institution. It can do so by challenging the severity of these sanctions, if appropriate, and making details of the inquiry public immediately.

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