East Lake fined, will forfeit some 2009 contests

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Mon. January 31, 2011 | John C. Cotey | Email

East Lake fined, will forfeit some 2009 contests

The long investigation of former East Lake volleyball coach Terry Small is apparently finally over.

The cost: an $11,125 fine and forfeiture of all the games from the 2009 season that starters Jackie Wegner and Brianna McComeskey played in.

The penalties do not affect this past season, when East Lake won the Class 5A state title.

According to the final Florida High School Athletic Association report released Monday, Small and East Lake have been hit with four violations: two for providing impermissible benefits (or rides to school) to the aforementioned players, another for receiving compensation for doing so (Small says it was a Starbucks gift card, because he and the players met up at the coffee shop) and one for not fully cooperating with the investigation.

The school was fined $2,500 for the first case of impermissible benefits, and $5,000 for the second. The FHSAA could have fined East Lake $2,500 for each game that each player participated in, which totaled $125,000, but did not due to East Lake's corrective action plan.

The school was also fined $2,500 for Small's lack of cooperation, and forced to pay $1,125 in investigative costs.

The investigation began in January 2009 and dragged on for more than a year. Small initially resigned early in the 2010 season when some preliminary findings were revealed, but returned after a two-game absence to finish out the season with the agreement that he resign for good at the end of the season.

Small guided East Lake to a 29-2 mark and the Class 5A state championship. The Eagles won the first state title for Pinellas County since Clearwater in 2000.

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