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Plant football player at center of FHSAA infractions declared eligible

Coach Robert Weiner, suspended six weeks, will have his own appeal hearing next week.

The Plant High football player initially declared ineligible because of impermissible benefits won his sectional appeal Thursday at a hearing in Bradenton. He is now cleared to play against Steinbrenner in a pivotal Class 8A, District 7 matchup on Friday night, coach Robert Weiner said.

Last month, Weiner said he found out the player was in an “untenable living situation.” The coach asked his director of football operations, Misty Winter, to make some calls and find the player a temporary home, which turned out to be with someone connected to the Panthers’ program.

The Florida High School Athletic Association said Plant was in violation of rules regarding impermissible benefits, and Weiner and Winter were subsequently suspended and fined. Weiner will appeal his six-week suspension next week in Gainesville.

A month ago, the player went through a hardship case and was denied eligibility. On Thursday, he had another hearing because the person he is living with has now become his legal guardian.

“I’m just so happy for the student,” Weiner said.