Party Poopers and Proud of It!
I hope New Times is proud of itself for single-handedly being responsible for the demise of the Miami High School athletic program and possibly costing a number of student athletes college scholarships because of Robert Andrew Powell's articles (August 20, August 13, July 2, June 18, May 21, March 26, March 5). The commissioner of the Florida High School Activities Association (FHSAA), Ron Davis, wasn't even thinking about investigating until a copy of "Dream Team" (March 5) appeared on his desk.

So New Times should give itself a hand because it is responsible for four Miami High athletes being suspended for the upcoming season. These kids did nothing wrong other than give themselves a better chance at making it to college. Now they may not make it to college. They may lose their scholarships because they were suspended or because they can't compete around the nation at the high level Miami High is accustomed to. They won't be as publicized as before.

Here is the question I pose: Can New Times actually prove that Miami High recruited? New Times never actually proved that the school recruited. To recruit is to go and seek out. Miami High doesn't seek out its athletes or try to pry them from other schools. Why would they need to? They have a magnificent reputation, particularly in basketball, so they wouldn't need to go seek out players as New Times stated.

Students come to Miami High with the hope of helping their own future. The students use Miami High as much as Miami High uses them. I know that if I had been a basketball prodigy when I was in high school, Miami High would have been the first place I would have gone to enhance my abilities and to showcase my talent to the rest of the nation.

All coach Frank Martin and his staff did was help make teenagers better athletes and help them have a future by providing them with housing. If you want to find Martin guilty of that, then go right ahead. He probably is guilty. I only wish there were more coaches like him, coaches who clearly care about their players as if they were family.

But recruit? He doesn't have to recruit.
If New Times thinks Martin recruited players, then what about those years before he was head coach? I seem to remember a period when the team had a front line of players all over six feet eight, consistent records of more than 30 wins per year, total domination over the state, annual rankings in the nation's top ten, and eight state championships in ten years. So why did Robert Andrew Powell's articles come all of a sudden? What took New Times so long to expose this basketball program? If they are supposedly recruiting now, then why have they been so good for the past twenty years?

Now Martin and the athletic director Tiger Nunez have been fired, just days after Miami High principal Victor Lopez said they wouldn't be. And Lopez won't even appeal the FHSAA decision against his own school. He shows how much he really cares about his students, particularly after being a front-row spectator at all Stingaree basketball games, thrilled that his team was so fantastic. He clearly doesn't care. All he is trying to do is protect his own butt.

The way I see it, there are a number of bitter coaches who can't stand to lose, and they would do anything to find a way to lower the level of play at Miami High. Why don't those coaches stop whining and strive to make their own teams better? I thought that was what competition was all about. You strive to beat the best.

I haven't heard anyone cry and complain about the Carol City Chiefs winning the 6A football championship two years in a row or compiling a 42-3 record over the past three years. And what if they win it again this fall? Does New Times plan on trying to compile evidence against them in an attempt to destroy their program as well?

And what about the St. Thomas Aquinas girls' soccer team? They haven't lost in six years, have won well over 100 games in a row, and have been the state champs for, like, six years in a row. Yes, St. Thomas Aquinas is a private school, but recruiting is illegal in the FHSAA, so it doesn't matter if it is a private school or a public school. Yet no article has been written trying to destroy them.

I think New Times has gotten my drift. The New Times evidence reviewed by the FHSAA was damaging to the school, to the coach (hurting his reputation greatly when he did nothing wrong), and most of all to the students, who are just trying to give themselves a chance at having a future. Can New Times fault them for that? Yet they have been suspended by the FHSAA because of the New Times articles.

Goal accomplished. New Times destroyed the future of many students as well as the reputation of a school. Congratulations.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat

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