GCCC's Miller won't coach Busters in bowl game
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
The Garden City Community College football team will compete in the Football Capital of Kansas Bowl on Dec. 8 without their head coach, Matt Miller.
The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and National Junior College Athletic Association ruled that Miller will serve a one-game suspension for failing to report the ejection of sophomore linebacker D'vonta Derricott from the final game of the season in Coffeyville on Oct. 26.
NJCAA rules state that if a player is ejected from a game, the school has until noon of the next business day to report the ejection to the conference office. Derricott was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conducts at Coffeyville, and by rule was ejected.
The ruling came down at the end of the week after the Coffeyville game, according to Assistant Athletic Director Dan Delgado, and a little more than a week after the college was sanctioned for the use of an ineligible player in four games earlier in the season. Those sanctions forced Garden City to forfeit three wins during that span.
"By NJCAA rule, if they (GCCC) don't report the ejection, then the penalties double. But the NJCAA bylaw says the head coach serves the doubling of the penalty," KJCCC Commissioner Bryce Roderick said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "In other words, the athlete is not at fault, that is the responsibility of the institution."
Miller made a lengthy statement about the suspension in a phone interview on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, one of our players got ejected from that ball game," the first-year coach said. "Due to it being a sophomore, who's not going to be playing for Garden again, and due to the forfeiture of the games earlier in that week, that was disappointing not only to the coaches, but the players. I inadvertently forgot to submit that piece of paper to the commissioner, stating that my player had been ejected.
"Thinking that was the last game of the season, and due to the forfeiture of the (earlier) games, and our bowl game chances being slim, I did not deem it necessary to report the ejection to our commissioner, due to the fact that it was No. 1 going to be in the officials' report, and No. 2 it was a 98 percent chance that we would not be playing again this season.
"Now looking back on it, due to the crazy events at the end of the season, that was the last thing on my mind, considering I got in (from Coffeyville) at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, and left at 3:30 that afternoon to northeast Kansas to start my recruiting for next season.
"I do have respect for Bryce Roderick as a commissioner, and all I can do is uphold his ruling, do my best to move on and do all that I can to get my team prepared for this ball game," for which Miller said he is enthusiastic.
According to both Roderick and Delgado, the suspension was originally ruled to be served in the first game of the 2014 season for Miller, as the Busters had not made the playoffs and the chances of the bowl game were slim at that time.
However, after the Busters received the invitation to play in the bowl, the NJCAA, KJCCC and school administrators agreed to have the suspension served during the bowl game instead.
"We accept the suspension, we're ready to serve it, we'll serve it at the bowl game, and we want to put this behind us and move forward," Delgado said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We acknowledge the fact that not reporting it was a violation, and we hope this is for the good, and we hope this is a learning opportunity for all of us."
The college did not release the news of the suspension immediately because Miller was out of town recruiting, according to Delgado.
"That was not something we wanted to discuss with Matt until he got back into town," Delgado said.
Miller will be allowed to coach the Broncbusters leading up to the game, and participate in any pre-game and post-game festivities at the bowl, but will not be allowed to coach during the game.
Derricott will also sit out the bowl game to serve a one-game suspension, an automatic sanction for being ejected from the Coffeyville game. Miller said the Broncbusters would begin practice for the Dec. 8 bowl game against Tyler, Texas, Junior College, which will be played in Pittsburg.