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Suspended Lakewood player transfers to non-FHSAA member school

Two weeks ago, Cortez McKenzie was among five Lakewood football players who received a six-week suspension from the Florida High School Athletic Association for their involvement in a post-game fight with Lehigh.

McKenzie's playing status changed this week simply by switching schools.

McKenzie, a sophomore, said he withdrew from Lakewood on Monday and enrolled at Superior Collegiate, which was denied membership into the FHSAA in June.

Because Superior Collegiate is not affiliated with the state's governing body for sports, he is eligible to play without having to serve the suspension.

"There is nothing we can do," FHSAA spokesperson Kyle Niblett said about enforcing the suspension on a non-member school.

McKenzie said the transfer was not related to the suspension.

"The games had nothing to do with it," he said.

In four games as a starter with the Spartans, McKenzie had 25 tackles and six sacks. McKenzie's brother, Cornelius, also was among the five Lakewood players serving a six-week suspension. Cornelius, though, decided to stay, according to Spartans coach Cory Moore.

"Did Cortez transfer to get out of the suspension? I don't know," Moore said. "Maybe Cortez did. Maybe he didn't. I know he's an awesome kid who got caught up in an unfortunate situation. I'm sure he's torn, but he also could be swayed by other entities in his decision.

"There's a storm surge coming. The suspensions and the ability to leave are just the latest example. It's taking the power away from the coaches, especially if the players no longer have to face any consequences."