Socked with a $53,000 fine for fielding a boy's basketball team that repeatedly trampled the rules last season, Dr. Michael M. Krop's new principal is battling the penalty.
In an appeal filed in September with the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), Dawn Baglos doesn't deny that her school cheated. Neither does Miami-Dade Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
But he tells Riptide that he thinks the fine is "capricious, arbitrary, and punitive to kids," pointing out that all of the bad actors have been fired or otherwise reprimanded. "I don't dispute in any way the merits of the case, but a hefty fine like that I think is inappropriate."
The team, which was ranked number one in the state before being disqualified last year, was busted using bogus address information for at least three players, along with other infractions. Many of the FHSAA's findings were first dug up in a New Times investigation.
The fine was reduced from a potential penalty of $331,000 after the school district cooperated with the FHSAA. Matthew Welker was demoted from his position as the school's principal, and downgraded in pay. "Shakey" Rodriguez was "removed", Carvalho says, though the Miami Herald blindly reported in May that the embattled coach "decided to retire".
Carvalho says that athletic director Mike Kypriss, who is still with the school, was also reprimanded. "Progressive discipline was applied," says the schools chief, "and that's all I can say about that."
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"I understand, it's certainly a big fine," FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing tells Riptide, but adds that Krop was given at least four chances, after other schools filed complaints, to self-report their own eligibility problems. "They just hid the problems each time. You also have to weigh what's fair to other schools."
Dearing says that the reduced fine was the lowest amount he could levy given his own association's rules. The appeal will be heard in November by the FHSAA Board of Directors.
Shakey Rodriguez is also appealing the findings that he helped kids skirt eligibility rules. He's reportedly applying for private school coaching gigs, and finally being declared a cheater is hindering his job search.