BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday was a gut-wrenching day for Bakersfield College football coach Jeff Chudy.
He learned his program was stripped of its 2012 state football championship by the California Community College Athletic Association.
The Southern California Football Association took away every regular-season win from the 2011 and '12 seasons, leaving BC with official records of 0-10 those years.
The SCFA also imposed a postseason ban on the Renegades for the 2013 season and BC has been placed on probation.
This all stemmed from six CCCAA and SCFA rule violations.
Chudy was not present at the Tuesday afternoon press conference when the penalties were announced. But he made a brief statement Wednesday.
"Our players, our coaches, our community -- we're devastated by this ruling," Chudy said.
He added: "We feel it's an injustice. The punishment doesn't fit the crime. There's a lot of support across the state from the coaches association."
BC won the state title with a 35-14 win over City College of San Francisco on Dec. 8 before 16,625 spectators in Memorial Stadium.
"The way I look at it is: At this point in time, their (the BC team) picture at Luigi's is going to sit there and it's going to say 'state champions' on it. We have the rings to prove it. We know what the scoreboard was."
Chudy said it was a difficult time when he met with his coaching staff and players.
"There's no manual on how to communicate with your players," Chudy said. "They had nothing to do with what was going on. It's a horrible deal."
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.
BC fans are voicing their displeasure over the penalties.
"This announcement has polarized people in the community and supporters of Bakersfield College football," said BC's Amber Chiang, who has been designated by BC President Sonya Christian as the school spokeswoman for the football situation.
Many fans are angry with the BC administration for not doing enough to try and minimize the sanctions.
"It looks to me like the football team is being thrown under the bus," said Patrick Wade, 33, who owns Precision Pharmacy, which sells race horse medicine all over the U.S.
Wade said he's been attending games since he was an infant. "My grandparents had tickets when BC played at Griffith Field," he said.
"It's a shame a bunch of academic administrators are not sticking up for the football program," Wade said. "They don't see the value in the football program."
Chad Hathaway, a local oilman and co-owner of the Bakersfield Blaze, played for the Renegades in the mid-1990s.
"I couldn't sleep last night because of this," Hathaway said. "I think more people are fired up about this than anything I've seen in a long time.
"I see more angry businessmen and ex-players. Even the girls in my office who don't watch football are angry about this."
Hathaway said he'd like to see Christian appeal the punishment.
"If you lose, guess what, you tried," Hathaway said. "You made an effort. You did your best. Don't roll over and die. I think that's what people want to hear."
Paul Pavletich, 45, is the Helmet Club president and said he's been coming to BC games since he was 2. He spent many years working with the BC broadcast team. His late father, George, was BC's play-by-play announcer for 25 years.
"I don't think the penalty fits the infractions," he said. "None of this was done from the Helmet Club standpoint to cheat or defraud.
"When it was pointed out to us that we could not do this, we immediately changed it to do what the college asked us to do."
Pavletich added: "You get into this thinking you're trying to do everything you can to benefit and help the kids have a positive experience. This makes it look like we were doing more than that.
"For 30 years the Helmet Club has been trying to help when the budgets and funding is just not there."
Wes Bradford from Clifford & Bradford Insurance Agency has been a major BC football supporter. Bradford sponsored the Golden Empire Bowl for several years after the Kern County Shrine Club withdrew its sponsorship of the longstanding Shrine Potato Bowls. Now 59, he said he's been going to games since he was 6.
"We're not going to lay back," Bradford said, referring to a group of boosters. "The penalty is a little harsh for the crime."
Bradford added: "We thought we'd get our hands slapped a little bit and bang. We haven't had our day in court. No one has talked to us. Can we tell our part?"
Reportedly the state title game generated about $160,000 that was turned over to the CCCAA, Bradford said.
"A fan asked me today," Bradford added, "if the game never happened, can we get our $160,000 back?"