Some players on last year's championship Bakersfield College football team may have been paid for on-campus jobs in a way that violates state athletic association rules and the team's 2012 title may be in jeopardy as a result, The Californian learned today.
Former BC coach and athletic director Carl Bowser said the infractions dealt with the minimum wage payment for on-campus jobs for eight out-of-state football players on last season's team.
The Renegades went 11-2 and crushed City College of San Francisco 35-14 Dec. 8 for the program's first state football championship. The game was played in Memorial Stadium before a crowd of 16,625.
It was a significant highlight in the 86-season history of Bakersfield College football.
Now, BC coaches and supporters are worried that title may be stripped by the California Community College Athletic Association.
BC President Sonya Christian has called a press conference for 4 p.m. today to discuss the alleged violations of CCCAA rules and the potential punishment.
Campus officials wouldn't elaborate.
BC coach Jeff Chudy said: "I can't comment on the process right now."
But according to Bowser, the players were paid by the BC Helmet Club, a booster group consisting of former Renegade football players.
Bowser said the players should have been paid from the BC Foundation, the official fundraising entity of the college.
"They were paid about $11,000," Bowser said. But he emphasized that, in his view, the employment of the athletes was completely above-board.
"They were given 1099s [tax forms]. They were all paid minimum wage. No one was paid $30 an hour or anything like that," he said.
Bowser, himself a former BC football player, said the situation has been corrected and now players doing on-campus jobs are paid through the Foundation, apparently as CCCAA rules require.
The question that Bowser said he, the BC coaches and many Helmet Club members are worried about is whether the infractions will prompt the CCCAA to vacate BC's title or call it a forfeit and award San Francisco the championship.
Jim Sartoris, commissioner of the Southern California Football Association, which oversees all 37 Southern California community college football programs, declined to comment on BC's situation.
"President Christian has announced a press conference," Sartoris said. "Until that time I can't comment."
Sartoris noted that there often are investigations of athletic programs for possible rules infractions.
"There's been investigations at various times for various sports and it's the responsibility of the conference to decide on those allegations," he said.
"There are no typical punishments," Sartoris said. "It's very, very difficult to say what sanctions are typically issued."
Calls to Christian and BC Vice President Zav Dadabhoy were referred to BC media spokesperson Amber Chiang, who did not immediately return messages left on her office and cell phones. Dadabhoy, Bowser said, handled the negotiations for BC with the CCCAA.
Former Cal State Bakersfield associate athletic director Gloria Friedman, who oversaw NCAA regulations for the university before her retirement, was recently hired by BC as a consultant.
When contacted Tuesday morning, she said she had been asked to refer all questions to Chiang by Sandra Serrano, chancellor of the Kern Community College District.