The suspension of Berkeley Prep sophomore LB Joe Schiano, ejected for using profanity at an official during a Sept. 28 game, has been reduced from six weeks to four weeks.
Buccaneers coach Dominick Ciao said the Florida High School Athletic Association informed the school Friday of the reduction. Athletic director Bobby Reinhart said Schiano will be eligible for the final two regular-season games — including a critical Nov. 2 district contest at Tampa Catholic — and the playoffs.
The FHSAA initially imposed what it deems a "Level 2" suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct and denied Berkeley's first appeal, but reconsidered after receiving more input from the school.
"We had filed some additional paperwork that kind of suggested things we were working on with Joe after the suspension," Reinhart said. "I just think they want to make certain he understands the severity of something like that and learns lessons. ... They really are teachable moments. We outlined a few things we had done and will continue to do. They looked favorably on that."
The suspension of Schiano, only 15, essentially became viral in cyberspace due to his last name. While not condoning his behavior, which occurred in the waning stages of a 31-19 win against Lennard, Berkeley's administration and coaches said the character of the younger Schiano was unfairly besmirched by an isolated incident.
Reinhart added the Schiano family was "just outstanding through all of this."
"I was just troubled to say the least with all the negative representation that Joe got out of this, and so wrongfully so," Reinhart said.
"He's a great kid. He made a mistake like kids do and adults do. He felt so bad about it and learned a hard, valuable lesson. ... People have their opinons of public figures and they can have those, but they cross the line when they start attacking their families."