Santa Monica College men's basketball Coach John McMullen is upset over a Western State Conference decision to drop the Corsairs from the Southern California Regional playoffs.
McMullen thought his team would be allowed to play despite having to forfeit 19 victories for using an ineligible player during the regular season.
The news came Friday, a day before the Corsairs were to play host to L.A. Trade Tech in their playoff opener. Trade Tech was awarded a forfeit and advanced to the second round.
"I accept the fact that we had to forfeit all those games because we had an ineligible player," McMullen said. "But I don't understand why we weren't allowed to compete in the tournament.
"All the players worked hard, and there's no reason to take the guys out of the tournament because of one person's fraudulent act. I'm pretty burned up about it. I have a hard time even talking about it."
McMullen discovered that sophomore forward Kevin Chase, a reserve who averaged six points a game, had falsified information on his eligibility report for the past two seasons. Chase failed to disclose that he also had played at Colorado Christian University during the 1987-88 season and had exhausted his eligibility after last season.
"The only way we can prevent this from happening again would be to hire a private investigator," McMullen said. "It's not the coach's job to check on the players, and I think the athletic director and the head of admissions will tell you they don't have the time either."
McMullen said he had received a letter from Colorado Christian Athletic Director Frank Evans, who had seen Chase's name on a scouting report. McMullen reported the violation on Feb. 27 to Santa Monica Athletic Director Jeff Shimizu, who informed Western State Conference Commissioner Aviva Kamin.
Kamin made his ruling the next morning. The Corsairs, who were 19-11, had their record changed to 0-30.
Although L.A. Trade Tech had already been awarded a forfeit, a conference appeals committee agreed to hear the case. On Monday, the committee agreed with Kamin's ruling.
The forfeit also cost Dorian Manigo an opportunity to break Michael Gerran's school record for most career points. Manigo, who averages 22 points a game, needed 16 to break Gerran's record of 1,106 set in 1979-81.