Land O'Lakes QB Stevie Weatherford's eligibilty in question

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Tue. March 30, 2010 | Izzy Gould | Email

It’s unclear if Land O’Lakes quarterback Stevie Weatherford will be eligible to participate in spring practice when teams are permitted to begin May 1.

Weatherford was arrested and placed in juvenile detention Friday on charges of burglary and grand theft, both felonies.

Pasco County athletic director Phil Bell has not responded to a request for clarification on rules in the Pasco County student handbook. The handbook states that a student-athlete’s arrest for an on- or off-campus incident results in a 20-day suspension from practice or competition once the administration is made aware of the incident.

Land O’Lakes football coach Matt Kitchie said last week that he had informed principal Ric Mellin of the arrest. Applying the written rule, Weatherford’s suspension clock would have started Monday. After the 20 days expires, each individual case is examined and the decision makers must decide whether to add an additional 20-day suspension. Another evaluation would then take place, and any additional action would be taken.

There are also specific punishments based on how a case is handled in the court system. There are seven scenarios addressed in the handbook. A not guilty ruling would result in having eligibility restored almost immediately. A guilty ruling would carry an additional 90-day suspension from the date of conviction.

The Weatherfords have hired an attorney, and Rep. Will Weatherford, Stevie’s older brother, has declined comment.

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