Bakersfield College football stripped of state title, all victories after violations by booster club

The Helmet Club paid students for work

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Bakersfield College announced today it was found by the Southern California Football Association to be in non-compliance with several specific California Community College Athletics Association regulations regarding Bakersfield College student athletes. As a result of the non-compliance findings, Bakersfield College’s football team has been sanctioned and will vacate all wins from the 2011 and 2012 season, and has been vacated from the 2012 California Community College Athletics Association championship.
 
“We are deeply saddened for the community, and especially for our student athletes who have worked hard on and off the field,” said Bakersfield College president Sonya Christian. “We are already working to correct the deficiencies found, and will continue to work into the future to ensure Bakersfield College athletics is fully in compliance with CCCAA regulations as we continue in our tradition of excellence.”
 
Bakersfield College was initially contacted by the Southern California Football Association in January regarding a complaint against the football program. The college was offered the opportunity to respond to a series of questions regarding Bakersfield College football and a non-affiliated organization called The Helmet Club. To conduct the comprehensive investigation, Bakersfield College contracted Bakersfield-based accounting firm Brown Armstrong. Former California State University, Bakersfield associate athletic director Gloria Friedman was a technical consultant for the investigation.
 
Following the inquiry, Bakersfield College took immediate steps to divest the college of any official or unofficial relationship with The Helmet Club until such time as the organization could be brought under the auspices of the Bakersfield College Foundation.
 
“Bakersfield College immediately responded by issuing a cease and desist notification to external and internal entities involved with the violations,” said Christian. “Over the last two months, we have established processes and protocols for operations and developed targeted institutional controls to prevent these violations from occurring again in the future.”
 
On May 14, the Southern California Football Association notified Bakersfield College of the findings of the inquiry. The Association found Bakersfield College to be non-compliant with CCCAA Bylaw 2, which governs subsidizing, inducements, and special privileges. Seven violations were noted in three categories. Bakersfield College was found to be:
Paying students for work with funds raised by a non-affiliated booster club. The work was arranged outside the oversight of Bakersfield College, and was provided to football student athletes only.
Housing Bakersfield College football student athletes from outside the permissible recruiting area in lodging facilitated by staff.
Facilitating the payment of rent to the owner of the housing.
Implying the availability of housing and student work to gain interest from players.
Providing a weekly meal to football student athletes which were subsidized by boosters.
Providing a pre-game dinner to football student athletes before home games.
 
As a result of the findings, Bakersfield College has been forced to void all wins for the 2011 and 2012 football seasons, and has been removed from the 2012 California Community College Athletics Association championship. The Bakersfield College football team has also been placed on a post-season ban for the 2013 season, and will be on probation for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
 
In response to the sanctions, Bakersfield College will be taking appropriate action against personnel involved in activities related to these violations.
 
Bakersfield College remains committed to academic excellence and fair play, and expects that same commitment from all those attending and in the employ of Bakersfield College.

 

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