College

Wednesday, Jun 12 2013 09:25 PM

BC files appeal for football penalties, sanction

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield College defeats City College of San Francisco to win the California Community College football championship. The Renegades celebrate their state championship.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Bakersfield College spokeswoman Amber Chiang answers media questions during a press conference held on campus in the Administration Building to announce sanctions against the football program on Tuesday afternoon.

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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 JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield College on Wednesday formally appealed the sanctions and penalties assessed by the Southern California Football Association against the BC football team that led to the forfeit loss of all games the last two seasons and the subsequent vacating of BC's state football championship.

BC President Sonya Christian, who called the SCFA sanctions and penalties "understandable and appropriate" at a May 14 press conference when the SCFA's punishment was announced, now says additional investigation "has uncovered several points of correction to the findings."

She added BC has formally requested a hearing "to present the new evidence."

"The immaterial, technical infractions did not put our students at a competitive advantage," Christian said in a statement. "And further would not have made any student athlete on the Bakersfield College football team ineligible.

"If the athletes are not ineligible, logic follows that the wins should not be forfeited and the championship should not be vacated."

The SCFA on May 14 ruled that BC was guilty of seven violations of California Community College Athletic Association bylaws governing subsidizing, inducements and special privileges.

That followed an investigation by Bakersfield accounting firm Armstrong Brown, which was hired after the CCCAA notified BC in January that the BC football team had been accused of rules infractions.

Armstrong Brown's investigation revealed the seven rules violatons and BC reported the findings to the SCFA.

Christian said in Wednesday's statement that at least two of the violations did not occur

"There is in fact no evidence that Bakersfield College in any real way subsidized student athletes or provided recruitment inducements," she said.

"We are appealing all sanctions that have been levied against our student athletes."

In addition to voiding all wins from the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons and the vacating of last fall's state football title, BC was placed on two years' probation and ruled ineligible for postseason play in 2013.

The SCFA ruled that BC:

* paid students for work with funds raised by a non-affiliated booster club (the Helmet Club), with the work arranged outside the oversight of BC and provided to football players only;

* housed out-of-area football players in lodging arranged by the coaching staff;

* facilitated the payment of rent to the owner of the housing;

* implied the availability of housing and student work to gain interest from players;

* provided a weekly meal for football players that was subsidized by boosters;

* provided pre-game meals for football players before home games.

In a May 8 letter to SCFA Commissioner Jim Sartoris, Christian proposed that BC be placed on probation for one year, that BC should be post-season ineligible in 2013 and that BC should submit regular reports to the SCFA.

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