Santa Barbara City College’s football program heads into the 2009 season already knowing they can’t win the conference championship.
The Southern California Football Association issued sanctions on the program, after an investigation revealed they violated recruitment policies. SBCC was put on probation for the upcoming season, making them ineligible for playoff contention.
The Vaqueros were co-champions of the American Pacific Conference (APC) last season in the conference’s first year of existence. The Vaqs finished out the season on a momentous 6-game winning streak, to finish with a record of 6-4, one of the best campaigns the SBCC football program has had in recent memory.
Investigations were made about the program housing and even feeding some of its players. The SCFA’s sanctions stripped the Vaqs out of their APC title, and made the team forfeit its 6 victories, making their final record 0-10.
After the sanctions were issued, SBCC athletic director Mike Warren resigned. Associate Athletic Director Ellen O’Connor has stepped in to fill Warren’s place as interim Athletic Director.
Head coach Craig Moropoulos has remained positive in light of the situation, and said it will not be a distraction for him or the players for the upcoming season.
When asked if the ineligibility for competing would affect the team’s motivation or work ethic, coach Moropoulos responded, “Absolutely not! We are approaching every day the same way we always have, with energy and focus.”
However, being out of playoff contention did have an affect on some SBCC players. The 2009 season roster has 82 spots filled, a significant drop from the 99-man squad in 2008.
The smaller roster size has made a positive impact on intensity and efficiency in practice, said Moropoulos.
Despite being unable to compete for a conference title, the football program is treating this season as a valuable learning experience, and an opportunity for their young squad to develop for seasons to come.
Freshmen quarterback John Uribe declined to comment on the team’s current situation. Uribe will lead the Vaqs into battle in the season’s first game against Hancock on Sept. 5.