Information from this report provided by a Pima Community College press release
While the process will come too late for Pima Community College’s men’s soccer team to take the field in the West District tournament, the NJCAA has agreed to hear the college’s appeal of a penalty that effectively ended the team’s season.
The college received word Friday morning that the NJCAA would hear the college’s appeal and would request an expedited ruling. However, the Association’s executive committee has 10 calendar days to respond. Play in the West District tournament began Friday in Wyoming.
Chancellor Lee Lambert and Dean of Athletics, Fitness and Wellness Edgar Soto were pleased with news, even though it can’t lead to the outcome they hoped for.
“We look to (the) future on this one, in hopes that the process can be evaluated so that this doesn’t happen to other teams,” Lambert said.
Initially, the NJCAA said regulations didn’t allow for an appeal. But PCC reacted immediately and contacted the NJCAA officials with reports and video that showed the team behaved properly and with restraint. Those efforts appear to have led to an opportunity for appeal.
PCC was expected to play for the national championship this year following another exceptional season. Those dreams were dashed following a post-game situation in Phoenix on Saturday when multiple altercations broke out following the Aztecs’ victory over Phoenix College.
Even though the Pima players never threw a punch or used profane language and were commended for restraint, ultimately the decision by the NJCAA was that because the players moved in the direction of the fracas they “escalated the incident.” That warranted suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty was suspension from the next two games, which coincided with the start of the tournament.
While the college must await the decision by the NJCAA, Soto said: “In the face of setbacks, disappointments and adversity, we don’t lash out with anger or violence. We don’t disparage our opponents. We play by the rules and we work within the rules. And when you do that, people listen.”