2 GCCC players part of NJCAA sanctions

10/29/2013

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

Contrary to previous reports, two players were cited in violation of not having the necessary paperwork to be immediately eligible to play for Garden City Community College's football team this season.

The infractions forced GCCC to forfeit three of its five victories during the just-completed season.

NJCAA Director of Media Services, Mark Krug, told The Telegram during a telephone interview on Monday that two transfer players were initially in question during a random audit done by the NJCAA in September. After contacting the players' previous schools, one player was cleared of any violations, the other was deemed to be in violation.

However, at that time, a third player's eligibility was also questioned and was found to not have the proper forms completed to play for Garden City, and was therefore also in violation.

None of the three players were named by either the NCJAA or GCCC.

At a press conference on Wednesday to announce the penalty of three forfeited games for those violations, GCCC released a statement that read, "... in its first-ever random football program audit, compliance officials found one student athlete who participated in the program was not eligible because the college did not have on file a transfer waiver form."

When asked during a phone interview on Monday about the discrepancy between one and two players in violation, Athletics Director Ryan Ruda said, "To be honest with you, we were going off the initial findings."

According to Krug, two players were found to not have either a Transfer Waiver or a Second Year Signing Agreement on file with GCCC.

NJCAA Assistant Executive Director Brian Beck wrote in an email on Thursday, "NJCAA bylaws require a transfer from an NJCAA member college to another member college who was on a Letter of Intent the previous year to have either a signed Transfer Waiver or a 2nd Season Signing Agreement indicating that they were not being resigned (sic), to be immediately eligible. In GCCC's case with football, they had neither for either of the students in question."

It's the Second Year Signing Agreement that the GCCC administration based their appeal of the findings on, citing "mass confusion" about the form.

In the written release, Ruda said, "We exhausted every avenue possible to persuade the national office that the form in questions states, 'No transfer waiver is required if a scholarship is not offered by June 15.'"

Neither of the players found to be in violation were on scholarship, according to Ruda, causing the confusion about the paperwork needed.

The three forfeited games were the first three wins of the season for the Busters — conference foe Independence, and non-conferences games against Cisco (Texas) College and Air Force (Colo.) Prep — all games in which at least one of the ineligible players competed.

The NJCAA conducts annual audits of approximately three percent of its 65-member schools that compete in football. In addition to GCCC, the NJCAA levied similar sanctions against previously No. 10-ranked Arizona Western because of an ineligible player. The school had to forfeit five of its seven victories at the time the sanctions were announced.

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