Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Editorials

Hillsborough school superintendent does an end run

RECOMMENDED READING


The agency that sanctions high school athletics in Florida painted a scandalous picture this week of how easily a group of ineligible student athletes were able to play on the winning football team at Hillsborough County's Armwood High School. But even worse was the reaction by superintendent MaryEllen Elia. She dumped the blame entirely on the parents — not on the school, the coaching staff or even "two representatives" of Armwood who were singled out in the report for helping to falsify a student's eligibility. Elia needs to hold her own staff to account. The schools' handling of this matter looks like incompetence at best and collusion at worst.

An investigation by the Florida High School Athletic Association found that five players on Armwood's 2011 state championship football team falsified residence information to make themselves eligible. The players used a range of deceits, from false hardship stories and bogus housing leases to fraudulent utility documents to win assignment in Armwood's school boundary.

The parents and their friends who concocted the schemes to put these players on the winning program indeed are responsible for the bulk of the blame. But the district was so accommodating it calls into question whether the county aggressively enforces the rules for fair play in high school athletics or looks the other way when it's convenient.

Red flags were everywhere. The father of one boy said he met with Armwood's football coach prior to his son enrolling. Coach Sean Callahan allegedly allowed another student from a different high school to practice with the Armwood team. A third student enrolled using an address for an apartment complex that was used by at least three recent transfers to the football team. Though principal Michael Ippolito blocked the third player from the team, citing concerns over his eligibility, he pushed off any immediate attempt to verify the student's residence. When an investigator for the sanctioning body asked an assistant coach to explain the problems, the coach demurred, saying he had not read much of the FHSAA's rule book during his three years on the job.

The sanctioning agency's bylaws make it abundantly clear that individual schools must ensure compliance with their interscholastic athletic programs — and that principals ultimately are responsible for "all aspects" of conduct by their coaches, staff, student athletes and athletic booster clubs. Elia may have had some problem parents, but she has larger problems on her home turf and she needs to fix them.

Comments

Another voice: Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense

Mick Mulvaney, the phony deficit hawk President Donald Trump tapped to oversee the nationís budget, all but admitted on Sunday that the GOP tax plan currently before the Senate is built on fiction. Senators from whom the public should expect more ó s...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nationís highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17
Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

From birth to death, opioid addiction is ravaging the lives of thousands of Floridians. Drugmakers, doctors, state lawmakers and insurance companies all have a role to play in slowing the epidemic. Lately some more responsible answers, including mill...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "Iím pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractorsí labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractorsí labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise ó for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system ó one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Krisemanís new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Krisemanís new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Krisemanís own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17