Wiregrass Ranch girls basketball program fined $12,525, put on two years' probation by FHSAA



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Thu. June 23, 2011 | Bryan Burns

The Florida High School Athletic Association has fined Wiregrass Ranch $12,525 and placed the girls basketball program on two years' administrative probation following an investigation into the recruiting of Briahanna Jackson. Additionally, the Wiregrass Ranch athletic program will be placed on one-year probation.

The school was found in violation of 10 separate FHSAA by-laws and was fined for five of them, totaling $10,400. Wiregrass Ranch was charged an additional $2,125 for costs associated with the FHSAA's investigation process.

Wiregrass Ranch has the option of appealing the FHSAA's decision. Bulls athletic director David Wilson said the school would likely make a decision on whether to appeal after the July 4 holiday.

"It's a 68-page document, so we want to make sure we go through it thoroughly," Wilson said. "As of right now, we're still in that process, and then we'll decide if we want to appeal."

The FHSAA fined the school $2,500 for each of the following violations:

- Providing false information when seeking an eligibility ruling concerning Jackson

- Girls basketball coach Greg Finkel did not fully cooperate with the investigative process by providing false information

- Wiregrass Ranch allowed former Wesley Chapel girls basketball coach and current AAU Suncoast Basketball Club director Warren Jones to practice in its facilities without a legal and binding facilities usage agreement.

- Wiregrass Ranch administration demonstrated a lack of institutional control.

Wiregrass Ranch was also fined $400 for Jackson's participation in four interscholastic contests while ineligible. Jackson played in two preseason games and two regular-season games for Wiregrass Ranch before sititng out the remainder of the season while her eligibility status was in question.

The Bulls' girls basketball program was placed on two years suspension, concluding June 1, 2013. The entire athletic department is on probation until June 1, 2012.

"That's pretty common if something happens in any sport, you're put on probation as a school," Wilson said. "It doesn't affect anything as far as district, regionals or state play. If something happens in the future with one of our sanctioned programs, it could mean we may not be allowed to participate in the state series."

Jackson transferred from Lecanto to Wesley Chapel following her junior season in 2010 after leading the Panthers in scoring. On the same day, Shanel Sweet transferred from Gaither to Wesley Chapel, drawing the ire of the FHSAA and Pasco County Schools. Less than two weeks later, both players had transferred again. Sweet ended up at Land O'Lakes; Jackson went to Wiregrass Ranch, which were the two schools the players were zoned for based on addresses provided.

Both Jackson and Sweet played for Jones' Suncoast Basketball Club. Jones resigned as Wesley Chapel's girls basketball coach in 2008 for a position on St. Leo's staff. Jones was thought to be a frontrunner for the Wesley Chapel girls basketball position following the 2010 season after the school decided to open all of its supplemental positions and part ways with Karim Nohra, who led the school to two straight region final appearances.  

Players in post


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