College

Thursday, May 16 2013 10:59 PM

District, board of trustees non-commital about fighting BC football sanctions

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian reads from a written statement at a press conference held on campus to announce sanctions against the football team.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Congressman Kevin McCarthy congratulates the entire Bakersfield College Renegades state championship football team in Memorial Stadium Wednesday for their outstanding efforts. McCarthy shook hands with player Kenny Dunston, center, and the rest of the team.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Congressman Kevin McCarthy congratulates the Bakersfield College Renegades including Shannon James, left, Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. McCarthy presented each player on the 2012 California champion Bakersfield College Renegades football team with Congressional Records Statements.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Congressman Kevin McCarthy sports his new BC Renegades letterman's jacket he received Wednesday from head football coach Jeff Chudy, right, during the presentation ceremony in Memorial Stadium for the state championship football team.

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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian has been urged by many Renegade football fans to appeal penalties announced Tuesday that stripped BC of the state football title, among other sanctions.

But whether to appeal is not Christian's call.

That's the word from BC spokeswoman Amber Chiang, who noted that the first step in any BC appeal must come from the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees.

Sandra Serrano, chancellor of the KCCD who works closely with the trustees, said Thursday afternoon no decision has been made on whether to appeal.

"What I can indicate is we are evaluating options," she said.

The seven-member board has called for an emergency meeting that will be closed to the public for 1 p.m. Monday to discuss "anticipated legislation," Chaing said. But she added she has not been told whether the football situation will be discussed at that meeting.

"Our board chair (John Corkins) asked us to deal with the (football) situation and move forward," Chiang said, referring to an earlier board meeting.

"If we get the OK to appeal we'll pull the trigger. It's a waiting game right now to see what happens."

A Thursday message left on Corkins' cell phone seeking a yes-or-no answer as to whether the trustees would instruct BC to appeal was not immediately returned.

Trustee Stuart Witt, the general manager of the East Kern Airport District in Mojave, said he knew nothing of the BC football sanctions that were announced Tuesday.

"I work in Mojave and live in Ridgecrest, so I don't see any media from that side of the mountain," Witt said. "Until I see the facts, I have no comment."

According to guidelines established by the California Community College Athletic Association, it's the college that must formally appeal any sanctions or punishment to the college's member conference.

In this case, the appeal would be made to the Southern California Football Association.

"They have a 10-day working day window ... on appealing," said Carlyle Carter, director and CEO/president of the CCCAA. "They have up to the 29th of May."

On Tuesday, the SCFA announced that all BC wins from the 2011 and 2012 seasons would be forfeited because of six violations of CCCAA and SCFA rules. The CCCAA announced at the same time that BC's state title would be vacated.

BC football was also placed on two years' probation and ruled ineligible for the postseason in 2013.

BC officials are not disputing the violations of CCCAA rules. But BC coach Jeff Chudy and Renegade fans say the penalties are too harsh.

It was SCFA Commissioner Jim Sartoris' decision for BC to forfeit the wins from 2011 and '12, and that subsequently led to the state title being stripped.

"The jurisdiction for regular season play falls at the conference level," Carter said.

With BC now 0-10 for 2012, that prompted the vacating of the title because an 0-10 team would not have been eligible for the playoffs, Carter said.

Sartoris did not return several messages left on his cell phone seeking comment on BC's sanctions and punishment.

The six violations dealt with paying a handful of players for on-campus work from the Helmet Club, the BC football booster club, instead of a campus entity; aid in arranging housing for out-of-area players by the BC coaches, how the housing owners were paid, suggesting that work and housing was available to gain interest from recruits, providing pre-game meals before home games and providing an after practice meal once a week during the season.

The CCCAA and SCFA focused on the Helmet Club's involvement and also the benefits provided to football players (such as the meals and work) that were not available to other BC students or athletes from other teams.

"Obviously I hope they appeal it," Chudy said Wednesday during a brief meeting with the media. "We think the sanctions are too harsh."

Carter said CCCAA regulations are clear on the step-by-step process for colleges to appeal.

"Every college in the state is a member of a conference," Carter said in a telephone conversation from his office in Sacramento. "Every conference has a conference appeal board where a college can appeal a conference commissioner's ruling."

If the findings are not overturned or modified by that appeals board, Carter said a college can then bring the matter to the CCCAA appeals board.

"They have five days essentially to do that," Carter said. "That is made up primarily of presidents or members of the board. We have an extensive appellate process."

Beyond that, Carter said, "The college has two more steps: Bringing it to the CCCAA board itself, and the members of the CCCAA appeals board would recuse themselves, and the one last step is binding arbitration."

Carter said appeals dealing with infractions and sanctions are rarely pursued.

"There has been, not very often, instances where there might have been a reduction of one aspect of the sanctions," he said.

"We do get appeals, but most of those are on behalf of students trying to regain eligibility because they fell short on credits.

"We don't get many appeals when it comes to infractions and the sanctions."

BC was informed Jan. 23 that a complaint had been filed alleging rule violations. The college then hired the Bakersfield accounting firm Brown Armstrong to investigate.

The violations were discovered and submitted to the SCFA, Chiang said. Sartoris' and the CCCAA's rulings followed.

"No one in our association likes to hear about infractions or incur sanctions," Carter said. "We don't want to apply them. But when we have no choice, that occurs."

According to the KCCD Board of Trustees web site, the board of trustees members are Corkins, the president of Research for Hire Inc., a diversified agri-business corporation located in Porterville; John Rodgers, a certified financial planner for Wells Fargo advisors in Bakersfield; Dennis Beebe, who owns a residential and security firm; former Delano mayor and retired fire captain Ruby Hill; former Kern County Supervisor Pauline Larwood; Kay Meek, a partner in a local automobile dealership and former executive director of the BC Foundation; and Witt.

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