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UCC to respond to NWAC decision to penalize Men’s Basketball program

Written by on March 11, 2023

ROSEBURG, Ore., — Umpqua Community College (UCC) has engaged legal counsel to respond to the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) over sanctions delivered against its men’s basketball team and athletics program. 

Following a notification of concerns in the management of housing for men’s basketball players, UCC cooperated with the NWAC and in some instances recognized noncompliance with NWAC code requirements, informing the NWAC of these of its own volition. Regardless, sanctions were imposed by the NWAC on Dec. 14, which UCC appealed, in response to incomplete information and factual inaccuracies that appeared in the report. 

The NWAC sent a final decision on the alleged violations and sanctions on March 5, which pared back many of the original sanctions. Although the investigation and report showed that the college gained no competitive advantage or extra benefit from the items identified, sanctions were nevertheless imposed including banning the men’s basketball team from playoff participation for the next two seasons, reduction of scholarships, staff probations, and a $15,000 fine. In the course of the investigation, UCC identified concerning departures by the NWAC of its own policies.

“UCC will always have room to improve, and we appreciate the opportunity to look closely at our operations and make changes, but the sanctions levied by the NWAC are heavy-handed and violate the due process rights of UCC,” said Dr. Rachel Pokrandt, UCC president. “UCC is proud to be a member of the NWAC and expects to continue its historical membership. At the same time, it must demand that the NWAC follow its own rules and uphold the due process it assures its member colleges and students.”

UCC’s long-standing Department of Athletics consists of 11 teams across 9 sports. In the past 5 years, they have produced conference, regional and national champions as well as two United States Olympic Trials participants. In addition to the NWAC, UCC also competes in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).

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