Full court press: Miami judge hands top school basketball team a key win
To the cheers of team members and fans packing his courtroom, a Miami judge blocks a decision by a state athletic association that would have kept Florida's top-ranked team from the playoffs.
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At the hearing, Alan Goldfarb, a lawyer for Krop High, said the FHSAA investigation was initiated after someone at archrival Carol City High School “leaked the information” about Delancy to the FHSAA. He said the move was an apparent effort to push Krop High out of the playoffs and create a spot for Carol City.Skip to next paragraph
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The two teams met on Jan. 27. Krop won 65-49. But in deliberations behind the scenes at the FHSAA, Krop was in serious trouble. The association ruled in late January that the team would have to forfeit all 19 games in which Delancy had played. On Tuesday the FHSAA rejected an emergency appeal of its ruling by Krop.
Forfeiting the games would destroy their record and any chance of making the playoffs. In addition, it would penalize not just Delancy and the school officials who apparently failed to abide by FHSAA rules, but it would severely punish the 14 other members of Krop’s highly successful basketball team.
“We worked so hard, we deserved to continue to play,” said senior guard Brylan Kerr. After Wednesday’s court ruling, he called the legal controversy a minor setback. He said the team is highly motivated and can’t wait to start playing ball again.
Kerr said the team would be going directly from the courthouse to a team practice.
Judge Eig agreed that the FHSAA ruling seemed unfair to the other members of the team who had no part or knowledge of the reporting requirements.
Eig told Leonard Ireland, a lawyer for the FHSAA, that he did not intend to second-guess the judgment of the state athletic association. He said he was granting the injunction to allow more time for a more thorough examination of the underlying issues.
Ireland earlier filed a motion to have the case removed from the Miami-Dade courthouse to Gainesville, where the athletic association is headquartered. Eig rejected the motion, saying most of the events at issue in the case had taken place in Miami-Dade County.
The ruling sets up the prospect that Krop High may defeat others in the tournament and perhaps even win the state championship, only to be stripped of the title afterward by the FHSAA.
But the players weren’t thinking about that on Wednesday afternoon. They were already focused on the looming division playoffs and the enticing prospect of facing rival Carol City there.
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