Comet coaches put on suspension

Coaches statewide under fire over missing statistical entry deadline

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-Chief

A Comet coach was hit this fall with a six-game suspension for the late submittal of individual player and team stats during the 2013 season.
Former women’s soccer coach Nikki Ferguson, who is now the new men’s soccer coach after Rudy Zeller stepped down, was sanctioned.

Ferguson was limited to the parking lot for the first six games of his inaugural 2014 season as the Comets’ men’s coach because of a change made to the California Community College Athletic Association Constitution and Bylaw 4.3.3.

The change to the bylaw states that all California community college athletic coaches or representatives are required to update their roster information on the website before any game and input the results with complete and accurate stats no later than two working days after each contest.

The change was formally adopted to be effective on July 1, 2013 after the CCCAA Board of Directors and Management Council Chairs issued a memorandum on Oct. 1, 2012.

“It has been very frustrating,” Ferguson said. “And ultimately, the ones being punished here are the students (athletes). All I can do now is deal with (suspension) and move forward.”

After serving his six-game suspension, Ferguson coached the Comets to a 3-1 win against Chabot College on Friday.

Comet assistant coaches Jon Scoles and Andres Orejuela replaced Ferguson on the sideline for the six games he missed, but he was able to lead the team during practices.

CCCAA Executive Director Carlisle Carter said the Comet coaches were penalized for not switching over stats from the now unofficial, which was used throughout the 2013 Comet soccer season, to the official website.

Carter said he sent four emails to Contra Costa College Athletic Director John Wade beginning on Sept. 12, 2013.

Ferguson, however, was not the only coach under scrutiny from the CCCAA.
Volleyball coach Zachary Shrieve said he was aware he was put on probation after failing to post the stats for a couple games last fall. He inputted them promptly after being notified.

Merritt College men’s soccer coach Imed Doss was also sanctioned with a six-game suspension. Doss said the suspension has affected the program’s overall game record immensely.

“It’s one-third of our season considering we only play 18 games.”
Bay Valley Conference Commissioner Shirley Baskin said seven other BVC member athletic programs have had coaches suspended this fall for failure to post scores as specified in the CCCAA bylaws.

These include Laney College’s women’s volleyball coach, both of College of Marin’s soccer coaches, Napa Valley College’s women’s soccer coach, Solano Community College’s women’s soccer coach and both of Yuba College’s soccer coaches.

Carter said, “The case of (CCC) is like many other colleges in the state that did not heed the warnings.”

Out of the 14 men’s and women’s soccer programs in the Bay Valley Conference, seven coaches were suspended, Carter said.

College of Marin Athletic Director Matt Markovich said he had two soccer coaches suspended.

But, just like in the case of former CCC men’s soccer coach Zeller, both Marin coaches stepped down after the 2013 season and will only have to serve their suspensions if they again return to coach at a California community college.

“This change was meant to be a positive step,” Baskin said. “Unfortunately, (CCCAA) did not realize the impact it would have until many colleges across California did not post stats.”

Carter said the 2012-13 college year was intended to be used as a year of transition. He said participating colleges were put on notice that failure to file statistics or any attempt to mislead by submitting erroneous statistics would result in being prohibited from participation in non-conference games.

Ferguson said he and Zeller worked over the summer to move all of their teams’ stats from last season from the old website to the site. They said, however, that CCCAA did not specify which statistics were required of them in the emails.

Ferguson said, “(CCCAA) intentions to create a level of uniformity was good, but to suspend coaches without providing any prior training is harsh.”

Doss said he also spent the summer working on reviewing the 2013 season and inputting the stats. But when he sent them in, (CCCAA) responded with an email saying they were not correct.

“The amount of stats (the CCCAA) is asking for is ridiculous,” Doss said.
Ferguson said, “There is obviously an issue with the system if we have this many (coaches) suspended. There is a major flaw in the (CCCAA process).”

Wade said CCC does not receive an equal amount of funding that many colleges in Southern California do.

“Most (colleges) down south have sport information directors (SIDs) who would be in charge of recording and inputting stats. For CCC to bring someone like that onto the payroll would cost about $50,000 per year at the low end. (It’s) money that (CCC) does not have.”

Markovich partially agrees with Wade. He said COM also does not have a SID.
“It is difficult to keep stats without a (SID). But if (coaches) are doing their best throughout the season to keep up with stats when the new bylaw came down, these suspensions should not have happened.”