Pirates, on probation, enact sanctions

Orange Coast College Athletic Director Michael Sutliff said Wednesday that the sanctions against seven fall sports programs ordered when the California Community College Athletic Assn. placed all OCC athletic programs on probation for the 2013-14 school year, will be carried out, regardless of whether the school's appeal is upheld as soon as late September.

After the CCCAA ruled that OCC had violated restrictions regarding practice dates, seven Pirates fall teams involved in those disputed practices were ordered to cancel one contest this season.

Sutliff said men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's water polo and women's volleyball have all selected nonconference contests to cancel. Sutliff also said the decision to cancel nonconference events was made to avoid the possibility that a later denial of the appeal would leave only Orange Empire Conference contests to cancel.

Sutliff, however, maintains the seven fall sports programs did nothing wrong, even though they began practice on Aug. 12, three days before the allowable date put in place by the CCCAA.

Sutliff said the alleged early practices that OCC took part in were legal under the guidelines of the Countable Athletic Related Activities law, which limits each program to a quantifiable number of off-season hours for meetings, instruction and clinics.

A review of the hours spent by each program, Sutliff said, rendered all the practices held over the three days in question, kept all programs under their allowable limits.

Sutliff said the issue arose when one student-athlete in one of the seven OCC fall programs inquired about transferring to another school. The other school then began asking questions about whether or not the OCC practices were outside the rules, said Sutliff, who declined to name the school.

Sutliff said the lone benefit from a successful appeal would be the removal of the probation status for all OCC programs for 2013-14.

Under such probation, a subsequent violation of CCCAA rules by any OCC team could result in sanctions against the team that committed the violation(s).

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