Kandace Sans

Kandace Sans (No. 5) and some of her Cosumnes River College basketball teammates are seeking legal action, claiming Title IX violations by the College’s athletic department for not playing a schedule of games equal to the men’s team and other alleged infractions during the 2021-22 season.

 

Kandace Sans graduated from Monterey Trail High School in 2020 and despite a pandemic raging around the world wanted to continue playing basketball. Her choice was Cosumnes River College and then see what doors might open for her. But, this past season (there was no basketball in 2020-2021), “left us, like, dry,” she told the Citizen. It ended in such frustration that Sans and a few unnamed teammates penned a letter to school president Edward Bush with accusations of “no commitment to female students” by the college’s athletic department and a demand for equal treatment. A lawyer has taken on the case and legal action may come, according to Sans.

In the letter, which was recently posted to Sans’ Instagram account, they openly address school athletic director Collin Pregliasco, “You destroyed our season, our team, everything we worked for then vanished…we demand justice.”

The disappointment started before the first tip-off of the 21-22 basketball season. Coach Coral Sage and her assistant, Jennifer Jacobs, were placed on administrative leave for what was described by school officials at the time as “serious allegations of misconduct.” CRC men’s basketball coach Jonathan James was assigned to coach the women along with the men’s team simultaneously.

In the San’s letter, dated April 5, 2022, the players claimed they, “faced many situations in which we were treated less than the men’s basketball team and what we believe to be unfairly.” They go on to describe situations where the men’s coaches would regularly show up “30-40 minutes late (to the women’s practices), cut practices short or not even show up at all. After he (James) would cut our practices short, he would call in his men’s team to start early, even though it was still our practice time.”

When asked by the Citizen if they took their concerns and issues to Pregliasco, especially when practice times were being cut short, Sans claimed the team captains, “were turned away each time by him.”

“We never felt his presence during our season or at any time did he come to us and make sure we were being treated in the same manner as our male counterparts,” she said.

Pregliasco responded in a May 31 email to the Citizen, “Just recently, I have become aware of concerns and allegations from a few women's basketball student-athletes regarding their season. While the student-athletes have yet to bring those concerns to me, those concerns and allegations are taken very seriously, and they are currently being investigated.”

Pregliasco also stands in support of James and his assistant coaches for taking on the task of coaching both teams.

“Even with the late coaching change and a limited non-conference schedule, Jonathan James, the men's head basketball coach, did a tremendous job ensuring the women student-athletes not only had an opportunity to compete, but successfully completed a season in which the women's basketball team finished with the 2nd most Big 8 Conference wins in the last seven years including a 3.152 team GPA and seven scholar-athletes,” he wrote in the email.

Likewise, Sans and her unnamed teammates echoed Pregliasco’s support of James’ efforts.

“We want to make it known that our team is very grateful for the men’s coach for stepping into an unexpected role so our season could continue,” they wrote.

However, Sans told the Citizen she and her teammates’ frustration peaked when early-season games, postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak, were not re-scheduled as promised by Pregliasco.

According to the CRC Hawks website, the women’s team played 15 games this past season while the men played 28. The website indicates the women forfeited seven additional games, those scheduled at the beginning of the season when many team members were quarantined for COVID-19.

“The men got to play every pre-season game they had scheduled,” Sans said. “The men played in 12 pre-season games, the women played two. We were told by (Pregliasco) that the pre-season games were going to get rescheduled, but no CRC coach or staff member ever attempted to reschedule.”

In his email to the Citizen, Pregliasco explained, “Due to the two-week shut down of all women's basketball activities, the clearances for those that tested positive for COVID-19, and the 7-day resocialization to sport, many non-conference games were not played. While all efforts were made to reschedule missed games, the number of games missed during the first three weeks of the season, additional schedule conflicts with upcoming overnight non-conference games, working around impacted schedules from the non-conference opponents, and that the head coach was now coaching two teams, it was difficult to find mutual dates for rescheduling.”

Sans and her teammates also cited in the letter instances during the early season, at a time when Los Rios Community College COVID-19 protocols did not allow spectators in the stands, the men’s team would sit in the bleachers and watch the women’s game, but when it came time for the men’s game, the women were told to leave.

The players’ letter also cited an incident during the Dec. 28, 2021, road trip to Diablo Valley College where the women were not fed a pre-game meal, but the men were.

“In our last game, Feb. 24 against Sierra College, the men’s coach ended our walk-through about 30 minutes short and did not coach us for that game, but coached his men’s team,” the letter stated.

When asked by the Citizen about this incident, Sans said assistant coach Mat Bradley, a former Elk Grove High School boys basketball coach, did coach that game.

In the letter, sent via certified mail to Bush and posted online, the women accuse the college of violation of Title IX, the federal law which requires equal opportunity and equal funding to men’s and women’s sports,  and, “failed the women’s basketball team in every way.”

Sans says she and her teammates blame Pregliasco and asked Bush, “for those responsible for the mistreatment of our team to be held accountable.”

“It’s super unjust,” Sans told the Citizen.

She and her teammates have retained a lawyer to pursue legal action against the school. Meanwhile Sans says she hopes the resolution of this will be another year of college eligibility for her and her teammates and the hiring of a new women’s basketball coach.

“I just want an apology and my time back,” she said.

 

email - egsports@ValleyOakPress.com

Twitter @JohnHullEG 

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Sports Editor

John Hull has been a part of the sports scene in Elk Grove since moving to the city in 1999. Hull originally came on board the sports staff of the Citizen in 2007, retired in 2019, but returned as the Citizen's sports editor in 2021.