Junior college OL suspended five years for punching referee
Bernard Schirmer, the freshman offensive lineman for Mt. SAC who was arrested for striking a referee during his team’s game on Saturday night, has been suspended five years by the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) for his actions.
Jim Sartoris, the commissioner of the SCFA, told Larry Brown Sports on Monday that Schirmer has been suspended 60 months for striking an official.
The incident occurred during the third quarter of Saturday’s game between Ventura College and Mt. SAC in Ventura, Calif. Schirmer punched a referee who was trying to separate him from an opponent and knocked the official out (video here). The official, who was knocked unconscious, did not return to the game.
Police and school officials immediately reviewed the incident. Police arrested Schirmer on felony battery suspicion. The offensive lineman was released on bail Sunday.
Schirmer plans to plead not guilty if charged. His school has already issued a statement of support for him.
“Mount San Antonio College will continue to complete an assessment of his conduct to determine what sanctions, if any, are appropriate for the incident. Additionally, the college is fully cooperating with investigations by other agencies,” the school said in a statement.
Schirmer maintains his innocence, saying he hits himself in the head to try calming himself down. He said he struck the referee inadvertently.
“My friends were trying to pull me back away from the defensive end,” Schirmer told the Ventura County Star. “I didn’t know the ref was right inside of me, bear hugging me.”
“I didn’t mean any of that to happen,” Schirmer said. “I’m truly sorry about what happened to the ref.”
Sartoris told Larry Brown Sports that the association is following protocol by suspending Schirmer for 60 months. He says that length is the minimum punishment for a level 1 decorum violation, which is what Schirmer committed. Sartoris noted that Mt. SAC can appeal the punishment to the state appeals board. He told LBS that Mt. SAC has verbally shared their plans to appeal the suspension.
Schirmer would not be allowed to play football for any junior college in California if the suspension is upheld.
News of Schirmer’s suspension was first shared by the LA Times’ Eric Sondheimer.