Over a month after Kenny Lawler, PCC’s head football coach, was put on paid administrative leave on Sept. 19, his status remains undecided.”The only update is that there is no update,” Interim Dean of Athletics Beverly Tate said on Wednesday. “There is still an ongoing third party investigation. I can’t go into detail regarding the investigation.”
Lawler was put on leave after it was discovered that Darryl “Slurp” Stephens, a member of the football team, registered sex offender and parolee, was arrested for assault on campus.
In a news conference with journalism students on Oct. 2, PCC President Paulette Perfumo said that the investigation regarded “COA (Commission on Athletics) policies and procedures.
The COA is the state’s governing body on community college athletics. COA Executive Director Carlyle Carter and Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Commissioner Jim Sartoris both said Wednesday in telephone interviews that there were no eligibility issues in COA or SCFA bylaws or constitutions regarding felons or registered sex offenders participating in community college athletics. Both, however, cited Section 67362 of the state Education Code.
Section 67362 declares that any student athlete attending any public collegiate institution will be ineligible if they are still serving time on parole or probation for a conviction of various listed felony offenses once they have enrolled in college.
The student is eligible after the completion of their sentence or parole.
One of the felony offenses listed is Penal Code 220, which Stephens was convicted of. Penal Code 220 involves a violation involving an assault “with intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy [or] oral copulation.”
According to COA’s Carter, each school is required to “get a written declaration from each student athlete, that they have not been convicted of the listed felonies.”
Section 67362 enforces Carter’s statement, stating: “Any declaration obtained from a student athlete pursuant to this subdivision shall contain a notice advising the student that he or she may be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, if the student knowingly provides false information in the declaration.”
Although Section 67362 is law, Carter says the COA is not delegated to enforce it.
“The county District Attorney’s office handles these cases,” Carter said. “There is no way the county DA should be involved with community college athletics. Don’t they have more important things to do?”
Carter also went on to share his feelings on the law.
“I think it’s unconstitutional,” Carter said. “There are so many problems with the law.”
No part of Section 67362 states any repercussions regarding school coaches or staff.
Mary Dowell from the law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, is representing the school and has retained an independent investigator. Dowell did not respond to numerous calls and messages left by the Courier.
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