Pima Community College sports

Pima men’s soccer wins appeal after NJCAA suspension

Pima Community College has received a positive outcome following an appeal to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on behalf of the men’s soccer program.

In November, 2016, the NJCAA suspended the team for two games following a post-game altercation involving another team. The decision effectively knocked the highly ranked PCC out of the District 1 tournament.

Pima soccer coach Dave Cosgrove (left) and Pima athletic director Edgar Soto discuss Pima’s situation after being denied post-season entry.

Pima officials made the appeal shorting after hearing of the suspensions in early November, just two days before the Aztecs were to play in the all-important Western Regionals.

Coach Dave Cosgrove said at the time it was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do – tell his players they could not participate in the playoffs because of the altercation.

PCC officials argued that the Aztec team acted properly, a position supported by video taken by fans. While initially saying there was no process for appeal, the NJCAA ultimately agreed to reconsider and has fully reversed the finding of unsportsmanlike conduct and the suspensions of nine players and four members of the staff. The NJCAA also reduced the suspensions of 10 other players to one game, already served.

Pima officials made the appeal shorting after hearing of the suspensions in early November, just two days before the Aztecs were to play in the all-important Western Regionals.

While the NJCAA held its decision of a two-game suspension for head coach David Cosgrove and six sophomore players, “the overall decision validated the College’s position that PCC’s players acted properly and as instructed,” said Dean of Athletics/Fitness & Wellness Edgar Soto.
Coach Cosgrove will sit out the first game of the coming 2017-2018 season, but former Pima sophomore players who are now playing for four-year institutions will not have to serve any remaining suspensions.

Conference officials had argued that while no Aztec players behaved with violence or used disrespectful or profane language, the act of turning toward the altercation helped escalate the situation.

“We are very pleased with this outcome. We thank and commend the NJCAA for taking another look and listening to our appeal. We recognize our Coach and amazing student-athletes who kept their heads high during this whole process,” said PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert.

Lambert said the work is not done. The College will pursue a rules change to help prevent a similar situation in the future. The Aztecs were expected to contend for a national title, which also is an opportunity for the players to be seen by four-year programs.

“This is a lesson in not giving up and standing up for what is right. I could not be more proud of the PCC staff who argued so passionately on behalf of our student-athletes and of our student-athletes, coaches and fans who didn’t let this defeat them.”

The Aztecs won last year’s ACCAC region championship, improving its three-year record to 59-12-4 and are looking toward another successful season, which kicks off in August.

Information for this story was provided by the Pima Community College Sports Information Office.

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