Fullerton College was forced to forfeit its 2017 season wins, consequently losing the national championship and forfeiting its current season’s victories due to ineligible players that were on their roster.
FC was notified on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 3, that its appeals on the six sanctions have been denied from the California Community College Athletic Association board of directors.
Fullerton has now received their updated wins including all forfeitures by the Southern California Football Association. FC’s current record now stands at 0-9 in the season and 0-4 within the conference. The Hornets were undefeated for the entire 2017 regular and postseason and for the 2018 season.
Fullerton is currently contesting one decision on the win against San Diego Mesa on Saturday, Oct. 27, as there is a possible error to the game roster which could grant FC a lone win for the season.
The tragedy for FC football started in late May as the North Orange County Community College District contracted the law firm Currier & Hudson, APC to conduct an investigation with the school’s football program.
Later as the fall semester began, President Greg Schulz released an email stating that after the investigation, Fullerton had two violations with CCCAA’s Bylaw 2.11. The bylaws state, “ineligible players as they were handed special privileges,” which due to the severity of the investigation FC placed football’s head coach Tim Byrnes on paid administrative leave and offensive coach Garrett Campbell would serve as interim head coach.
Following Byrnes’ paid leave, FC was handed down six sanctions for its football program detailing the punishment for the Hornets – which include two years probation as well as forfeiture of games from their current season and several games last season that consequently leads to losing their 2017 national championship because of the ineligible players described in bylaw 2.11. In hopes of mitigating the loss of these sanctions, Fullerton decided to appeal two of the six sanctions in hopes to keep their 2017 championship title and to keep their current standings in the 2018 season.
However, as of Saturday, Nov, 3 after two rounds of deliberation by the CCCAA, Fullerton was denied of the appeals and will now have to forfeit its wins and championship title.
According to Lisa McPheron, director of campus communications, “The college attempted twice to appeal two of the six sanctions, but was denied. The college sought to appeal sanctions two and three on the grounds that the student-athletes did not receive any benefits, but were also denied.”
In order for schools in the league to successfully appeal their case, they must go through a process which starts from the CCCAA Appeals Board and if denied, proceeds to their CCCAA Board of Directors where they will give another decision.
If the college requests to proceed further down the appeal process, then they will have to go through binding arbitration that involves a panel of individuals familiar with California community colleges, their procedures, intercollegiate athletic programs and the CCCAA that are nominated by the CCCAA Executive and Executive Director for a final and binding decision with no further appeals.
McPheron stated that Fullerton College has decided not to take on any further action in pursuing the binding arbitration and will accept all six sanctions along with its forfeitures and two years probation.
“The college has and always will act with integrity, and that is demonstrated by our self-report and swift action to address the violations. However, we are disappointed to learn that our appeals were denied,” said President Greg Schulz. “We will work with our student-athletes as best as we can, within the CCCAA bylaws, to support them through this difficult time.”
The sanctions are as followed:
- 1. The Fullerton College Football Program is placed on probation for two (2) years (October 3, 2018 to October 2, 2020). The supervisors of the probation period shall be the college president and the SCFA commissioner.
- 2. All Fullerton College football team wins in which the ineligible students participated (regular season game schedule) during the 2017 football season are vacated. Those games were reported as games played on Sept. 2, 9, 23, 30, October 28, November 4, and 11. Therefore, Fullerton College’s regular season record for the 2017 season will be reflected as 3-7 in the official final statistics. This will require that the National Southern League 2017 championship must be vacated and the championship plaque returned to the commissioner’s office.
- 3. All Fullerton College football wins in the 2018 season, in which any of the identified students who received special benefits participated in, are forfeited.
- 4. The college will develop and implement an oversight plan to monitor assistance for housing of student athletes from out of the district recruitment area and verify that no special privileges are provided to student athletes, other than the services that are provided to the general student population. This oversight plan will be provided to the SCFA Commissioner.
- 5. The college will report on the in-service activities provided to the football program personnel relating to adherence to Bylaw 2. Meeting minutes will be documented and shared with the College President and the SCFA commissioner.
- 6. The Fullerton College football program will be suspended from post-conference competition for the 2018 football season in accordance with the Level I infraction Chart of 2017. This suspension may be extended for additional year(s) if the probation reporting requirements, as listed above, are not met or additional violations are committed.
Byrnes will continue to be on paid administrative leave with Campbell as interim head coach until further notice.
FC will continue to play its last game of the season at home against Mt. San Antonio College at Yorba Linda High School at 1 p.m.
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