College

Tuesday, May 14 2013 11:00 PM

Jeff Evans: Athletic Association showed no mercy toward Renegades

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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 JEFF EVANS, Californian columnist jevans@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield College has been stripped of last fall's state football championship.

The 2011 and 2012 seasons are now officially 0-10 years.

The Renegades are ineligible for the postseason in 2013.

And for what? Some minimum-wage jobs for a handful of players, a little help with housing for out-of-area athletes and providing a pre-game meal for home games and a once-a-week after-practice meal.

OK. These are violations by NCAA standards, which the California Community College Athletic Association follows.

But do they warrant the stripping of a state title, two 0-10 seasons and a postseason ban?

What you're seeing is the CCCAA and the Southern California Football Association flexing their muscles to make an example of BC.

These are rule violations -- minor rule violations that appear to be major because of the state's overreaction.

Penalties like those announced Tuesday are for teams with serious violations such as academic fraud (non-athletes taking tests or doing papers for athletes) or ineligible athletes allowed to compete with teams or coaches knowingly covering up the ineligibility.

A better ruling would have been probation. But if you’re an official with the CCCAA or SCFA, why not go overboard?

Nobody notices probation. Everyone in JC athletics will know about BC’s penalties.

But I don’t expect the BC situation to affect other schools. Many of BC’s violations must be happening elsewhere.

But these aren’t NCAA teams from high-powered conferences. They’re JCs, and many are facing financial hardships as California continues to battle budget problems in higher education. The fact is, there are many out-of-state players in the California community college football programs. BC had only eight last season.

What about programs that have 30, 40, more?

When these players arrive, going strictly by the rules of the CCCAA, they’re supposed to be totally on their own to find housing. Any help is a violation, at least that’s the message evident from BC’s punishment.

And a pre-game meal? You’d better offer it to every student at that JC. Otherwise you’re in violation of the rules.

Oh, and don’t forget: You can’t “imply” that you might have available housing or that a job might be available to any of these out-of-area athletes. God forbid, that might gain interest from a player.

I’ll tell you what: You bring an out-of-state kid into many of the Bay Area or Southern California JCs and turn them loose to find housing with no help, they’re liable to wind up dead in drug- or gang-infested areas.

Mount San Antonio College and City College of San Francisco, the two most successful football powers the last decade and beyond, have dozens of out-of-state players.

Don’t kid yourself. Those schools will continue to help those athletes. As they should. No coach will throw an 18-year-old freshman to the wolves in a strange city.

And then there’s BC’s handling of the press conference. Think “circling the wagons so much a mosquito couldn’t get through.”

President Sonya Christian read from a prepared statement and departed quickly, leaving from a back door so she wouldn’t go near any media or other spectators in attendance.

BC football coach Jeff Chudy and athletic director Ryan Beckwith should have been there. Nope, told to stay away.

How about Zav Dabadhoy? He’s the BC vice president who did most of the talking with CCCAA and SCFA officials.

Gee. He might have provided some insight on how the talks went with those state officials. Another no-show to the press
conference.

BC spokeswoman Amber Chiang was left to defend these decisions.

“There’s no better person to answer your questions than I,” she said.

OK. Greg Kerr from Channel 29 asked the next question: “Wasn’t there a time when what the Helmet Club was doing was legal and then there was a rule change?

“I don’t know,” she said.

More Kerr: “Can you confirm or deny this (reporting BC’s violations to the CCCAA) came from a disgruntled BC employee?”

Chiang: “That would be news to me.”

Yeah, but probably not to Dabadhoy or Christian.

Another question: “Are you trying to tell me that Bakersfield College is the only college that offers a pre-game meal?”

“I can’t speak on behalf of other colleges,” Chiang said.

So BC meekly accepts the edict from the CCCAA.

“Sanctions against the institution are understandable and appropriate,” Christian said.

Carl Bowser, now retired, played football at BC, then was an assistant coach and head coach in football and then athletic director. He said he was very disappointed with how BC’s administration handled this situation.

“All the BC people, the president, the vice president, they’re all running and hiding,” Bowser said. “They never fought for us. It’s like going to court without a lawyer.”

Bowser added: “You drive 40 in a 35 mph zone, you get fined $10. You drive 70 in a 35, you get fined $100. You drive 200 and you get thrown in jail.

“Well, we drove 40 in a 35 and got put in jail. We’re lucky we don’t get hung.”

No. The BC football team got hung out to dry. The CCCAA and SCFA saw to that.

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