Plans for creating a new conference for smaller sized community colleges were put in motion at the beginning of the school year and are still in progress. Rod Beilby, the athletic director for Yuba College, said that the voting among the Bay Valley Conference (BVC) coaches to create a new conference for smaller colleges was unanimous. Currently, 17 colleges make up the BVC, and many of those colleges are superior to the original 11 BVC colleges.
Ten years ago, two of northern California’s major conferences, Camino-Norte Conference and Golden-Gate Conference, dissolved unexpectedly for various reasons. This left many large universities and colleges with no conference to belong to. Several of them wanted to join in with the BVC, but were rejected because of their size. Only Diablo Valley College and Laney College were allowed into the conference.
However, the state commissioner had the authority to place the excluded colleges where he thought appropriate. As a result, the colleges from the Golden-Gate Conference were placed into the BVC and all the Camino-Norte Conference colleges were given to the Coast Conference. This created two very large college conferences that differed greatly in the degree of size, competitiveness and athletic capability.
“It made it very difficult for the athletes to compete,” said Beilby. “There was a lot of animosity at first, but it was eventually worked out.”
Over the years, the conferences tried to make the situation work. They made the divisions by geographical location, by the size of the colleges, and by the strength and equality of the teams. However, it eventually reached the point where nothing they attempted was working. The women sports, particularly, felt the difficulties in competition.
“It got to the point where many athletes didn’t even want to come out for their sport,” Beilby said. “If they were continually getting beat, what was the point?”
So at the beginning of this year, the process was started to form a new conference. The decision is not completely finalized; approval is needed by the Commission of Athletics (COA) before definite confirmation can take place. The plan for establishing a new conference will go before the COA in October.
“As it looks now, the conference will be implemented in the fall of 2005,” said Beilby.
The old conference will keep seven teams: Sierra College, American River College, Sacramento State, Consumnes River College, Delta Valley College, Santa Rosa Community College and Diablo Valley College. The new conference will consist of 11 smaller teams, including Yuba College, which will put the competition on a more equal level.
All the conference coaches agree that this is the best move for all the colleges, and they believe that it’s the answer to the struggles they’ve dealt with over the past ten years in striving for equality among their athletes.