For the 2013 Santa Monica College football team, most, if not all, of their celebrations began after they clinched their third straight Pacific Conference championship against Los Angeles Pierce College. But unlike most other top teams, who began prepping for a postseason bowl game, the Corsairs were banned from participating for a year due to a recruiting violation.
About a year ago, SMC had a different offensive coordinator who also served as the head coach of the Venice High School football team.
Following his 2012 season coaching Venice, SMC's offensive coordinator was approached with the opportunity to coach a high school all-star game which he ultimately accepted.
But since he was the current offensive coordinator for the Corsairs, that put him in direct violation of the rules in place intended to keep college-level coaches from gaining an unfair recruiting advantage by having contact with high school players.
Coaching a high school all-star game essentially gave him direct access to all the incoming top-tier talent in the city, many of whom were about to commit to a number of college teams.
The California Community College Association of Athletics, the governing body of California junior college sports, handed down the ruling after a tip-off from a member of Los Angeles Southwest College's coaching staff, who was in attendance at the all-star game.
The initial violation came as a shock to Corsair head coach Gifford Lindheim.
"I had no idea," Lindheim said. "If I had, I would have immediately stepped in and put a stop to it."
Despite not being able to compete in a bowl game, Lindheim felt that the ruling didn’t diminish the season in any way.
“What we accomplished on the field was remarkable,” Lindheim said. “We fullfilled our potential as a football team.”
Jonathan Ramos contributed to this report.