Krop High Administrators Knew of Eligibility Concerns Two Months Ago, Could Face Six-Figure Fine

As the dust settles after the disqualification -- for real this time -- of Krop High's boys basketball squad, it will be reckoning time for Coach Shakey Rodriguez and the school's administrators.

In the last week, rampant rule-bending and outright cheating concerning the school's basketball squad has been exposed, most of it by this publication.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) can fine Krop $2,500 for every game played by an ineligible student. That means not only more than $50,000 in fines for playing Brian Delancy -- the Bahamian student whose immigration paperwork problems caused Krop's disqualification -- but equal numbers for teammates Angel Rodriguez and Trevin Joseph. Riptide exposed that all three players had bogus addresses registered with the school district.

"It's not just Delancy now, after what you dug up," says FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing. "When you purposefully cheat, and that's what this is --I have no doubt that Shakey Rodriguez knows what he's doing here -- it gets expensive."

All told including investigation expenses, he says, the fines could exceed $200,000. That's a penalty that can't be paid using taxpayer money and must be raised by the school itself. That's a lot of basketball game tickets and bake sales.

The key to exacting such large fines is showing that Krop's administrators willfully broke the rules -- and there's evidence that the school was informed of multiple violations more than two months ago and did nothing.

On December 13, the FHSAA received a tip exposing Delancy's myriad eligibility problems-- including his claimed residency with notoirous recruiter and longtime Shakey Rodriguez associate Bernard Wright at a non-existent address -- and claiming that "a number of other illegal players field this particular team."

Dearing forwarded the letter to Cheryl Golden, executive secretary of the local athletic conference and spoke to Krop principal Matthew Welker about the accusations, he says. He expected that the school would investigate them itself. Clearly, that didn't happen.

Golden has refused to return Riptide's calls for comment. Welker is currently suspended for a separate criminal matter.

Additionally, both Shakey and the school's athletic director, Michael Kypriss -- whose $73,602 job consists in significant part of clearing eligibility for his student athletes -- have pled ignorance that Delancy needed to file special immigration paperwork. But Kypriss handled the exact same problem ten months ago with two tennis students, says Dearing.

We've embedded the tipster's fax, which we obtained via a public records request, below. Though the names are redacted, it's not difficult to figure out which players the tipster was talking about.

How about the accusation -- in a letter that seemed to get everything else right -- that Angel Rodriguez is living with Coach Shakey? That's a claim we encountered many times in our own reporting.

The intrigue never stops.


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Gus Garcia-Roberts