College

Tuesday, Jun 25 2013 09:48 PM

SCFA denies BC's appeal of 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 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.

    click to expand click to collapse
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    John Harte / Special to The Californian Bakersfield College defeats City College of San Francisco to win California community college football championship. In what may have been the play that broke San Francisco's back, Bakersfield's John Oglesby picks up quarterback Andrew Spivey's fumble and returns it for a 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield College defeats City College of San Francisco to win California community college football championship. Game MVP Jalen Sykes (left) immediately handed his trophy to offensive lineman Brandon Sarabia, saying "this is for the offensive line."

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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield College has lost Round 1 of what could be a lengthy appeals process for sanctions levied against its football program.

Southern California Football Association Commissioner Jim Sartoris informed BC officials by e-mail on Monday that the SCFA's board of appeals had denied BC's appeal of punishment and sanctions Sartoris had levied against the football team on May 14.

On that date, Sartoris ruled that BC would forfeit all regular-season wins from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, BC would be ineligible for the postseason in 2013 and BC would be placed on probation for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The California Community College Athletic Association then vacated the 2012 state football title won by BC, saying as an 0-10 team, the Renegades would have been ineligible for the postseason last fall.

Sartoris told The Californian late Tuesday afternoon that no matter what the SCFA appeals board decided, the appeal was still going to be heard at the next level, the CCCAA board of appeals.

BC spokeswoman Amber Chiang said in a statement that the school is preparing its next appeal to the CCCAA appeals board.

According to Sartoris' e-mail, BC has 10 working days to file its next appeal. That would be a July 9 deadline.

Sartoris said CCCAA bylaws require mandatory review by the CCCAA of any conference's appeal decision.

"It's spelled out in the (CCCAA) constitution," Sartoris said. "The constitution says all decisions by a conference appeals board are reviewed by the CCCAA office.

"Anything that the conference does is just a recommendation. We're not the final say on this. They have the ability to review all findings. They can accept it, reverse it or modify it."

Should the CCCAA appeals board reject BC's appeal, the college could then appeal to the CCCAA Board of Directors, a 12-member group consisting of presidents or vice presidents of student services from schools throughout California.

If BC is unable to sway that group, the CCCAA bylaws say the final appeal step is binding arbitration.

On May 20, the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees instructed BC President Sonya Christian and Chancellor Sandra Serrano "to exhaust the (appeals) process ... to the last level."

Sartoris said the SCFA appeals board consists of five members, one president from each of the five conferences the SCFA oversees.

BC's press release said the appeals board made its decision via a conference call. Sartoris said he was not part of that process.

"When our appeals committee meets, they get all the information that has been shared with the SCFA and Bakersfield College," Sartoris said. "They review the material and make the decision. It's up to them to either grant it or deny it.

"Understand it was just a recommendation. Now it goes to the CCCAA appeals board who then makes the final decision."

BC officials did not announce that the appeal had been denied until Tuesday morning.

BC officially filed its 77-page appeal of Sartoris' May 14 ruling to the SCFA on June 12, which included pages of new information discovered after BC had initially self-reported the alleged violations to the SCFA on May 8.

The appeal included statements that BC officials thought addressed the alleged violations involving improper subsidies to student athletes and recruitment inducements.

BC President Christian requested a "full testimonial hearing" before the SCFA appeals board so "the details of the issues can be appropriately explored and a suitable level of sanctions be determined that accurately fits the nature of the infractions involved." That request was denied.

"We seek a fair and just outcome for the Bakersfield College Renegades -- from our state champion football players to every student who attends Bakersfield College to our alumni and community supporters," Christian said in a statement. "We have always maintained that appropriate sanctions agains the college are understandable but those against our students are not justified, even by the rules and regulations of the CCCAA."

BC coach Jeff Chudy declined to comment on the appeal denial.

The allegations against the football program announced in the May 14 Satoris letter were:

* Paying football players for work with funds raised by a non-affiliated booster club (the Helmet Club);

* Housing out-of-area football players in lodging "facilitated by staff;"

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

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

* Providing a weekly meal to football players subsidized by boosters;

* Providing a pre-game dinner to football players before home games.

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