BAKERSFIELD, CA - Newly released documents paint an unflattering picture of the Bakersfield College athletics program, with complaints that football players were given preferential treatment over other student athletes.
The women's track coach at Bakersfield College complained numerous times about exclusive BBQ dinners and other perks received by football players, but says she was told by the college's athletics director it was none of her business.
That's what coach Pam Kelley told the accounting firm Brown Armstrong.
The accountants were hired by the college to look into the football program and its booster club after regulators stripped the school of its 2012 state title and banned the football team from this year's playoffs for a series of violations.
Women's track coach Pam Kelley ran down a list of problems and concerns she had with the athletics program at B.C.
Kelley says she went to athletics director Ryan Beckwith numerous times about BBQs for football players that excluded other student athletes.
Kelley says she was told to "not to worry about the football program".
Football coach Jeff Chudy told Brown Armstrong the Thursday BBQs were put on by boosters and the BBQs were open to anyone, though he concedes it wasn't advertised that way.
Assistant men's track coach Houston Courtney said he approached cooks at the BBQ to see if his athletes could eat too but was told no, it was for football players only. Courtney said the track team felt unwelcome.
The BBQ was initially held at the track field, but amid complaints, the BBQ was moved to the football stadium and the gates were locked.
The accountants found athletics director Ryan Beckwith knew of the BBQs and asked coach Chudy if they were permissible under conference rules, but they say Beckwith never followed up with the coach to be sure and Beckwith never shut the BBQs down.
The BBQs are part of a series of enticements that also included a work study program paid for by the Helmet Club Boosters and housing arrangements made by coach Chudy for out-of-state football players.
Regulators say the perks break College Athletic Association rules and stripped the community college's 2012 state title. This week, Bakersfield College filed a formal appeal.
Kelley told the accountants she felt rebuffed when she questioned why the football program was allowed to fundraise through a booster club off campus, separate from the university's foundation.
She also wondered why football players were allowed to enroll late for class and enrollment was postdated for up to a year.
Kelley says she approached athletics director Beckwith who told her don't worry about what they do and don't ask questions.
The accountants found football seems to be the only athletics program on campus that has an independent booster association.
B.C. Vice President Zav Dadabhoy oversees the athletics department.
In a statement released Thursday, Dadabhoy says Kelley discussed the Helmet Club Booster program and the BBQs with the president of the community college athletic association while seeking advice about a personnel matter.
He says Kelley and the association president initially joked about the BBQs and the association president knew about the BBQ for years.
Dadabhoy says he wonders why the association didn't bring up the BBQ sooner if they knew about them and finds it curious the investigation began only after B.C. won its state championship.