The Dodge City Community College football team must forfeit two football wins from the 2018 season because of a policy violation by a DCCC board of trustee member.
According to the National Junior College Athletic Association in a letter to DCCC, it was found that Article VI, Section 1.C.1.c, Legal Counsel & Bail had been violated.
The policy listed says "no college personnel, nor representative of a member college's athletic interest may post bail or provide legal counsel for a student-athlete."
"Terry Malone is a board of trustee member of Dodge City Community College, therefore, the NJCAA would interpret his position as a representative of member college's athletic interest," the letter from the NJCAA said. "Regardless of pay for the legal counsel a violation of Article VI, Section 1.C.1.c has occurred."
The violation notification and punishment was handed down in February, according to the letter.
In the letter to DCCC, the NJCAA states that six student-athletes received legal counsel from Malone, and of those, one continued to receive legal support from Malone.
"The NJCAA will not impose sanctions for the other five student-athletes that received legal counsel from Malone since they no longer participated at DCCC after receiving the legal counsel," the NJCAA letter said of the incident.
During the September DCCC board of trustees meeting, former DCCC coach Gary Thomas, who was the football coach at the time of the incident, addressed the violation and punishment to the board.
"In March I learned of a rules infraction that occurred during my tenure which resulted in forfeiture of contests," Thomas told the board. "Rules and policies in place needed to be enforced which led to a disciplinary action for an individual.
"Actions later led the player to rejoin the team in good standing, to my knowledge, and everybody did the right thing and handled the situation appropriately based on the college and team policy."
Thomas told the board that because of the incident, his legacy and reputation has been tarnished.
"The only person not suffering any consequence is the person that actually committed the infraction, a member of our board," he said. "I came to speak to express my disappointment."
Later, Thomas said he felt let down.
The NJCAA letter imposed the following sanctions: The player in question, whose name was not given by DCCC, is ineligible for participation at DCCC; contests the player participated in during the 2018 football season where DCCC won, have been forfeited; and probation will not be implemented because DCCC did not participate in the postseason during the 2018 season.
In an email to NJCAA director of marketing and communications Richard Webster, as per NJCAA policy, the NJCAA has no comment regarding the DCCC incident.
DCCC athletic director Jacob Ripple did not comment during the trustees meeting but later said the "violation in question was a self-reported violation by DCCC.
"If you look on our 2018 schedule it is very clear that the two games that we forfeited were against Coffeyville and Ellsworth," Ripple said. "The decision was handed down in February of this year."
During the trustees meeting, Malone and DCCC board of trustee chairman Gary Harshberger got into a heated 20-minute argument regarding the violation.
"He's not going to get an apology," Malone said of Thomas. "It was the athletic department, the coaches, how do you think I got name after name of the students who were in trouble to represent them.
"All those athletes were referred to me by someone in the athletic department."
During the argument, Malone said he did charge the player a fee, but added that had he not it could have been deemed showing favoritism. However, in the letter stated previously, regardless of pay for legal counsel, the violation still took place.
"These were kids in need of help," Malone said in the meeting. "Most of them were being kicked out on the street by the dorm policy.
"Kids a thousand miles from home and action had to be taken quickly in order to get the (criminal) charges taken care of so they wouldn't be kicked out of the dorm. That's why it's important to the athletes that they have help and they have it now."
Harshberger added, "Remarkable, that's all I got to say is remarkable."
Other trustee members voiced their apologies to the football team for having to forfeit their wins.
Trustee Dan Reichenborn apologized to the public for the exchange that took place between Malone and Harshberger.
Regarding the football team later in the meeting, Malone wanted to place a termination of the football program discussion into the agenda for the October board of trustees meeting.
"As it would release over $900,000 in funds to help open access to Ford County students to Dodge City Community College," Malone said. "Thereby increasing the number of students from Ford County and saving money at the same time."
After a motion by Malone and a second by Reichenborn, the item making it onto the agenda did not pass with a 5-2 vote.
"I don't think there is any harm in discussing things," Reichenborn said of his seconded motion.
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