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September 23, 2021

Gavilan announces football sanctions

Gavilan College officially announced its self-imposed sanctions stemming from accusations of recruiting and benefits violations against the football team that saw 17 players dismissed in August.
The football program will be on probation for three years and will be barred from postseason play for two years. In addition, the athletics staff will undergo in-service training with Athletic Director Ron Hannon and will give the minutes and the agendas to the Northern California Football Conference for review. Finally, football coach Mike Dovenberg must give monthly reports on the team’s recruiting efforts.
Two assistant coaches were also placed on leave pending further investigation into their involvement with the rules violations. The college said if it is found the two coaches—who it didn’t name but a source familiar with the situation has identified the coaches as Austin Reville and Carlos Woods—further action up to and including termination will be taken.
“The college has an opportunity now to ensure that all of our processes are reviewed, and all responsible personnel are provided the training and oversight to ensure that this never again happens at Gavilan College,” Rose said in a press release.
Rose went on to say that going forward athletics recruiting will be undergoing much stronger scrutiny, particularly where out-of-state students are concerned.
“From the first moment this situation came to light, my focus, and that of the Athletics Department, and the Board of Trustees was on the welfare of the students,” Rose said.
Gavilan sent home all 17 after the college said it offered them a chance to stay on as students but were subsequently turned down. The students were given plane tickets or gas cards to return to their homes, as far away as Florida and Virginia.
The players came from Oregon, Chicago, Houston, Florida, Baltimore and Virginia, among other places.
Gavilan said the cost to send the students home is estimated at $10,000. The college confirmed the source of the funds came from “undesignated funds” from the Gavilan College Educational Foundation.
Dr. Rose said the Gavilan Board of Trustees did not need to give approval for the expenditure, but was made aware of the release of funds for the tickets and gas cards.
Hannon said in a press release that he fully supports the sanctions.
“This is appropriate. This is fair. It is within the guidelines.” Hannon said. “It has been a very troubling occurrence for the Athletics program. We have a reputation, statewide, for strict adherence to the rules. This situation does not reflect who we are, nor does it meet our high standards as an intercollegiate athletic program.  As a member institution in good standing within the (California Community College Athletics Association), we will continue to uphold the Constitution and Bylaws.”
Nor Cal Football Commissioner Gary Kollenborn, whose office signed off on the self-imposed sanctions, said Gavilan conducted its investigation by the book and its sanctions were by the book and there was no need to further punish the college.
He praised the college’s openness through the process.
“Gavilan did an excellent job in terms of researching issues and following our constitution and by laws and taking appropriate actions,” Kollenborn said.
The controversy stems from 17 out of state players who were housed in a three-bedroom house in Hollister.
The players had arranged a deal with the homeowner to purchase items for the house such as beds and bedding for them all to sleep on as well as pay for books and tuition for school. They said they would start paying rent in September once they had jobs and the moving expenses were taken care of.
The players were also accused of receiving free food provided by the homeowner who would cook for the players in the evenings.
The players insisted the food was not a perk but rather just the owner offering the players a chance to eat meals she was already preparing.
Kollenborn said despite the seemingly altruistic nature of the arrangement, it became a violation because it wasn’t readily offered to all Gavilan students.
“This is not how any of us wanted to start the academic year,” said Dr. Rose, “but we will come out of it with stronger controls, better training, and the benefit of a robust campus dialog regarding what happened.”
She reinforced her commitment to hold the college to the highest standard.
“We have, and will continue to strive for these principles in our handling of this matter, and will continue to be transparent about our actions,” Rose said.

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