Four CCIW championships, including the 2012 football title, are likely to be vacated by EC as punishment for awarding athletic scholarships to student-athletes from 2012 to 2015, said school officials on Nov. 1.
In addition to the football title, the Bluejays are also likely to lose their 2012 and 2013 volleyball championships, as well as their 2015-2016 wrestling title.
The highly celebrated football championship was the team’s first CCIW crown since 1980 and only their third in school history.
Tim Lester was the Bluejays’ head football coach during the 2012 season and is currently in his first season as the head coach at Western Michigan University.
Lester declined to comment about the NCAA ruling; however, he spoke with The Leader for a feature story about the 2012 season this past summer, saying that it was the proudest accomplishment of his coaching career.
“It was a great year,” said Lester. “We had success that hadn’t been had [at EC] before and we had been working hard for four seasons, really five seasons, to get it going.”
Lester fondly remembered the way the 2012 team elevated the reputation of EC football.
“Those were all the guys I recruited,” added Lester. “We talked about being able to change the culture [at EC] and do things that had never been done there before and make the playoffs for the first time ever and win a playoff game. I was so proud of those guys.”
According to EC director of sports information, Kevin Juday, in all likelihood, vacated wins will leave the 2012 team with an official record of 0-2.
Despite relinquishing every victory, the team’s accomplishments will not be entirely wiped from EC history as Juday believes the team will still be able to claim their playoff appearance.
“Because the [NCAA ruling] does not specifically say ‘vacate postseason appearances,’ we can still count  as a postseason appearance,” said Juday.
Assistant athletic director and head volleyball coach Julie Hall declined to comment on the titles her team will be forced to vacate, citing a need to remain focused on her team’s current season.
The 2012 volleyball championship came in a season during which the Bluejays advanced through the regional bracket of the NCAA tournament before falling to eventual NCAA champion St. Thomas (MN) in the national semifinals.
The Bluejays fell to Hope College in the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2013.
The 2015-2016 wrestling title was won by a team that saw three Bluejay wrestlers capture individual conference championships.
It is unclear at this time whether any of those titles will be stripped, yet the team as a whole will likely lose their conference championship, which was recorded as one of the closest in CCIW history, due to the loss of points from ineligible participants.
Accompanying the vacated conference titles will be the loss of many significant victories throughout the history of EC sports from 2012 to 2016.
This figures to greatly alter the Bluejays record books, as both players and coaches will be impacted by vacated games and statistics.
Any athletes who were awarded athletic scholarships while at EC will lose all statistics accumulated while they were receiving impermissible funds and all coaches who won games while ineligible athletes participated will have those victories removed from their personal coaching records.
School officials declined to reveal the complete list of players who received athletic scholarships while at EC and went on to mention that most of the players are likely unaware of the fact that they were ineligible.
The process of determining which wins and statistics will be vacated is an ongoing one and there have been no official statements made by the CCIW or the NCAA regarding vacated victories.
That being said, Desiree Chen, senior director of Communications & External Relations, made sure to mention that Scottie Williams, famed winner of the 2012 Gagliardi Trophy as the most outstanding Division III football player, was eligible during his entire career.