Stung Again

Miami High's principal comes out swinging as new questions arise about his school's baseball and soccer squads

This description of Corella differs somewhat from one provided by head coach Frank Martin in February: "He's somebody that whenever I need to take five kids to the doctor, he's willing to help."

*Steven Blake: Lopez confirms the junior transfer from Killian High School accepted a rental apartment inside the school district from Miami High alumnus Joyce Lund, whom Lopez describes as "an avid fan of college and high school sports [who] is often seen at our athletic events." He does not address the FHSAA "policy on recruiting," which states that a student-athlete may not be offered or accept "a residence with any person associated with a school." If found to have done so, Blake could lose his senior season of eligibility.

As with Corella, Lopez expands on the relationship between his school and Lund, a 58-year-old telephone company employee. "To the best of my knowledge, she has never been involved in the recruitment of athletes, nor does she seem to be the type of individual that would lend herself to such an ill-advised practice," he said.

In February, Lund told New Times that not only did she provide an address for Blake, she has lent out her address to members of the school's baseball team.

Lopez did not address this statement, but it could compound his problems. New Times has learned that the probe into illegal recruiting by the basketball program has been expanded to include the baseball and soccer squads. In addition, FHSAA Chairman Ron Davis asked Lopez in a March 23 letter to personally examine charges that some of his athletes' grades were improperly changed.

"I am concerned about the possibility of recruiting that may have occurred in both these programs," wrote Davis, whose Gainesville-based association oversees high school athletics in Florida. "I would like you to personally investigate and provide this office with assurances that no coaches have interfered with these grade change requests and that they were completely within the spirit of fair play."

The baseball team is enjoying a stellar season. For the first time since 1968 the Stingarees have earned a berth in the state baseball Final Four, which commences Friday in Tampa. If the allegations are proven, the baseball team could be forced to forfeit the state championship. The soccer team ended its season in March, compiling a 21-2-3 record. The squad, rated as high as second in the state, lost at the regional level of the state playoffs.

Lopez did not address the expanded inquiry in his response. He was out of town last Friday and could not be reached for comment. Miami High athletic director Tiger Nunez had but one statement: "I have nothing to say to you guys.

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