Friday, April 20, 2018
Education

Hefty price other programs paid for cheating offer perspective for Armwood High

Armwood's transgressions form perhaps Tampa Bay's largest high school sports scandal, but it's far from the only national powerhouse to receive scrutiny after a dream season. As the Hawks await a ruling from the FHSAA and a possible forfeiture of their state title run, here's a look at other high school programs that forfeited their trip to the state title game and other notable scandals from across the country.

Vacated state finalists

Orlando Dr. Phillips, 2010: The Panthers had to forfeit their best football season in school history after using a player who lived outside the district during their 14-1 season. Dr. Phillips lost to Miami Central in the Class 6A state title game. Coach Dale Salapa resigned in the scandal's aftermath.

Since then: The Panthers finished 10-2 last season and lost to Plant in the Class 8A region semifinals.

Jenks (Okla.), 2008: The national power had to vacate its state runnerup appearance after its head coach typed up a lease between future Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Jarrett Lake and a booster. An investigation found boosters tried to pay players, and one assistant coach gave impermissible benefits to a player. The state association suspended the school's nine-time state champion head coach for eight months.

Since then: The Trojans finished runnerup while their coach was suspended and again the next year. They fell in the state semifinals last season.

Miami High, 1998: The Stingarees — under current South Carolina coach Frank Martin — were fined $2,550 and had to forfeit their Class 6A boys basketball state title after the FHSAA determined at least five players received housing assistance from school employees or Miami High supporters. Those players included future NBA talents Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake. The school was banned from the postseason the next year.

Since then: Miami High made the playoffs in the next four years it was eligible. It reached the state semifinals in 2002 and claimed the Class 6A state title in 2005.

Dallas Carter, 1988: The controversy included in the book Friday Night Lights stemmed from a running back who failed his algebra class. The state association ruled him ineligible and made the team forfeit four games, but a court injunction allowed his team to keep playing and win the Class 5A state title. A later court order overruled that decision, and the team forfeited its title two years later.

Since then: The Cowboys have only one appearance in the final four since the scandal — a 1990 loss to Arlington Lamar in the state semifinals.

Other notable scandals

St. Andrew's Episcopal (Austin, Texas), 2010: A search for bigger players led a coach/school official on a 5,700-mile journey to American Samoa. Newspaper accounts say the school was offering full tuition assistance for the $19,000 school. The football team — coached by 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer — was put on probation for three years.

Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.), 2009: An investigation found more than 40 student-athletes across a handful of sports who were ineligible for recruiting, academic or residency reasons. The football team forfeited its district championship and lost its chance to defend its state championship.

Franklin (Stockton, Calif.), 2007: The football program was given the death penalty after committing 54 major infractions while recruiting players from American Samoa. The school's longtime coach resigned in the scandal, and a five-year postseason ban was shortened to two seasons.

Immokalee, 2006: A 30-year-old kicker was among the ineligible students who participated in sports at the school, the FHSAA determined. Four others who were at least 20 years old — including the Naples Daily News' player of the year — played soccer. The football team vacated its 2005 district title and was banned from the 2006 playoffs.

Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected]

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