Bakersfield College: Sanctions too harsh, unfair for players

College, Football Association officials react

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Bakersfield College and the community are still in shock over the announcement that they have been stripped of their football championship and wins for the last two years.

The Southern California Football Association and California Community College Athletics Association conducted a month long investigation in January regarding the violation of regulations by a non-college-affiliated booster club.

They found the Helmet Club committed violations such as subsidizing, inducements and providing special privileges for BC athletes during the 2011-2012 football seasons.

Specifically, the Helmet Club:
- Gave the athletes jobs and paid them directly
- Tried to recruit from outside the designated recruitment area
- Used housing and student work as enticements
- The club also provided weekly meals and pregame dinners to bc football athletes

As a result, the Southern California Football Association and California Community College Athletics Association stripped BC's football team of all wins for 2011 and 2012, stripped their 2012 state football championship title and suspended them from the 2013 post conference competition.

The football program will be on probation for two years.

It's unknown how long the violations had been going on for.

The Helmet club has existed for decades.

BC has apologized to the community and its football players.

Bakersfield college accepts responsibility but believes the punishment may have been too extreme.

"Its the colleges position that the players should not have been punished. The institution should have been sanctioned," said BC spokeswoman Amber Chiang.
 
Violations made by the Helmet Club focused on how booster money was used and special privileges given to athletes.

Chiang said the Helmet Club allegedly gave BC athletes shortcuts in finding jobs and paid them directly.

"As opposed to going to the student employment area filling out an application being hooked up with a department, they were able to bypass it and immediately get jobs," said Chiang.

The Helmet Club also allegedly bypassed college procedures in helping athletes with housing.

"Students paid for the housing but the booster club provided access to it," said Chiang.

Chiang said students earned their wages fair and square.

"What has happened is not because of people. It was because the college did not have the elements in place to prevent this sort of things from happening it didn't have the oversight and or we allowed for traditional elements to continue and didn't look at them because they were tradition," said Chiang.

Chiang said the college and team were heavily punished based on technicalities.

The Southern California Football Association said the punishment fits the crime.

"Any sanctions applied should be appropriate to the violations. If the bylaws are violated it's not technical. It's a reality," said SCFA commissioner Jim Sartoris.

Chiang said the reality was that the college did not oversee the Helmet Club.

"By running the funds through the foundation, they are tax deductible, are appropriately directed and that would ensure proper practices for compliance," said Chiang.

Chiang says no sanctions were self imposed by BC.

The college also demanded the Helmet Club shut down all operations related to BC.
  

Print this article Back to Top

Comments