Bakersfield College's Bid Against Sanctions Denied

NOTE: This is the story from The Bakersfield Californian, which was edited and republished online after Bakersfield College corrected significant factual errors.

BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner has denied Bakersfield College's bid to have sanctions removed or reduced against its football program.

On May 14, 2013, BC's football program was stripped of all victories from the 2011 and 2012 season, including the state championship win over City College of San Francisco in 2012. BC was also placed on two years' probation and ruled ineligible for postseason games after the 2013 season.

That action followed BC's self-reporting of violations of the California Community College Athletic Association bylaws dealing with special privileges for football players that were not made available to the entire BC student body. In a press conference the day the punishment was announced, BC President Sonya Christian acknowledged the infractions occurred but felt the penalties were too harsh.

BC spokeswoman Amber Chiang said Christian was not aware of Sumner's ruling.

The CCCAA has four steps in its appeals process and BC's first three appeals were denied, keeping the punishment in place.

The final step in the CCCAA appeals process is binding arbitration. BC officials opted to file a claim in court instead of going to binding arbitration.

The claim was filed at Sacramento Superior Court on Sept. 13, 2013, by BC's Oakland-based attorney C. Christine Maloney.

In a ruling dated Friday, Sumner ruled that BC "failed to exhaust its administrative remidies" by not going to binding arbitration.

"As a general rule, a party is required to exhaust all administrative remedies and obtain a final decision before resorting to the courts," the ruling said.

Binding arbitration would be decided by a three-person panel, the court noted, adding that such a panel is not biased because each party in the dispute selects one arbitrator and those two arbitrators select a third.

The infractions stemmed from meals, work and housing that was made available to football players. The vacating of the two seasons' regular-season wins was announced by Southern California Football Association Commissioner Jim Sartoris. The CCCAA then stripped BC of its state title, ruling that since all victories were vacated from the 2012 season, the Renegades would not have been eligible for the postseason.

BC beat City College of San Francisco 35-14 on Dec. 8, 2012 in the state title game, in front of more than 16,000 in Memorial Stadium.

The Renegades went 5-5 last season and were not ranked high enough to earn a berth in a bowl game. BC will be eligible for postseason play this year.