Disqualifying the Dream Team

Miami High's successful sports teams get their comeuppance

A player too old to be eligible, Jose Amaya, will likely cost the soccer team all 21 victories from its stellar season. The team earned a ranking of second in the state before losing in the district playoffs to eventual state runnerup American High. Allen determined that Amaya, a twenty-year-old sophomore, was overage during the season that ended in March. FHSAA bylaws state that an athlete can't participate in sports if he is older than nineteen years, nine months of age.

If the soccer team is forced to forfeit games, as expected, it will not be the first time Miami High has been penalized for using a player who is too old. In 1989 the school's football team, then regarded as the county's best, forfeited its season when the state determined a senior linebacker was overage. Athletic director Tiger Nunez took the blame then, saying he made a clerical error on an FHSAA form.

This time it's not clear if anyone will acknowledge wrongdoing. In April, Lopez blasted the FHSAA investigation and accused officials of unfairly singling out his school. "Basically," Lopez argued, "we have a situation where the integrity of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and [their athletic programs are] being challenged through largely anonymous accusation and unsubstantiated innuendo."

Not any more.

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