Dr. Michael Krop High School's basketball season has been dashed due to a player's eligibility issues, and the school's last-ditch appeal will be hear in court at 2 p.m. today. If this were a Disney movie, this is when the students would burst into impassioned speeches to melt an old judge's heart. This being real life, it's a long shot that Spencer Eig will overturn the Florida High School Athletic Association's decision and let Bryan Delancy's team enter the state playoffs.
Two weeks ago, the FHSAA questioned Bahamian Delancy's immigration status, and demanded papers from the school. When Krop's administrators refused, arguing that public shools are barred from looking into students' immigration status, the FHSAA ruled Delancy was ineligible. Krop-- ranked number one in the state-- was forced to forfeit every win in which Delancy played, scrapping its hopes for the playoffs.
Krop High alumnus and de facto organizer Evan Ross says he expects a "huge turnout" at the court hearing this afternoon as other students show their support.
The Krop High squad is something of an international dream team. Guard Angel Rodriguez came from his native Puerto Rico, where he played on the national team, before this season began, and Trevin Joseph in a Georgia import who won a state championship there last season. The team is coached by Shakey Rodriguez, an old New Times favorite and former Miami High and FIU coach who's caught heat for unscrupulous recruiting in the past.
But the legality of an athletic association demanding to see a kid's immigration paperwork is a tricky issue. The FHSAA has argued that playing basketball is a privilege separate from the right to a public education.
As for Bryan Delancy: Like any proper teenager, he's made his feelings crystal clear on Facebook (where he's changed his name to Bryan Tookoolforskool Delancy):
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Update: As expected, the school's appeal was denied at an administrative hearing today. The court date was rescheduled for 3 p.m. tomorrow.