2012 Women’s tennis champs stripped of title

At least they ended the season with a bang. Ventura College women’s tennis team competed, won, and lost their State Championship title this year after allegations arose surmising a professional player within their ranks.

After winning back in May, Ventura was accused of having a professional, which led to an investigation, ultimately stripping the team of their title this past October.

A post-game tip led California Community College Athletic Association authorities to investigate claims of a professional on the Ventura team, said Dr. Jim Forkum, Chair of the CCCAA’s Management Board.

The investigation revealed that a teammate had won over $11,000 in prize money for competing previously. The player in question is currently attending San Jose State on a full scholarship for tennis.

“The CCCAA saw her as a professional; the NCAA did not,” said Will Cowen, Athletic Director at Ventura College. A “certain coach” in the conference alerted Ventura coach Nelson Emery of the situation before telling the commissioner of the conference.

Cowen declined to comment on his feelings about the situation.

According to Jerry White, the commissioner of the Western State Conference, the player was in violation of the CCCAA Constitution, Bylaw 1.1. Bylaw 1.1 regarding Amateurism, section E states, “An athlete may participate in a sport competition with individuals who are competing for cash or comparable prizes provided the athlete does not receive payment for participation.”

The player was an international student.

“They’ll compete in tournaments around Europe and collect prize money,” said Forkum. “According to our rules, that’s not allowed.”

According to Forkum, the player’s parents and Ventura College claimed that the money was for “expenses” only, producing receipts that totaled up for more than the stated amount. However, it was “evident” this was not the case, Forkum said.

“It was determined that this person had [competed professionally].”

“As we know with everything, there’s a lot of finger pointing,” White stated. White was a part of the initial few weeks of the investigation, before it was turned over to state.

Santa Monica College won the State Championships in 2011, but lost to Ventura in the third match of the Doubles competition this past year.

“If anyone knew about this prior to three days before the competition it probably could have been rectified and allowed others to play,” said Cowen. He said he will “absolutely” take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future.

Both Ventura and the CCCAA’s women’s tennis homepage list Ventura as this year’s championship winners for the Singles and Doubles competition. Official results, however, list this year’s titles as “not awarded.”