Judge Spencer Eig this afternoon granted an emergency injunction to Dr. Michael Krop High's basketball team, allowing the number-one-ranked squad to join three other teams in the playoffs despite eligibility issues surrounding 19-year-old guard Brian Delancy. Eig ruled that it would be "fundamentally unfair not to allow these students to play basketball" before exhausting all available appeals with the Florida High School Athletic Association.
The courtroom -- packed with Delancy's teammates, all wearing purple tracksuits -- burst into a standing ovation when court was adjourned. It really was like a scene from a Disney movie. So of course Riptide had to ruin it.
Delancy, a Bahamian native, was disqualified from playing due to a failure to file proper paperwork with the Florida High School Athletic Association. But this morning, we published a host of other eligibility concerns we had discovered, most prominently, that Delancy's legal guardian is Bernard Wright, who for two decades has been a close colleague of Krop coach Shakey Rodriguez. Both Wright and Rodriguez are notorious for rule-bending recruiting shenanigans.
Further, Wright lives in Hialeah -- outside of Krop's school zone.
Delancy was probably the only Krop player who didn't attend the hearing. He showed up afterward, flanked by lawyers and Krop athletic director Michael Kypriss. "I was too nervous," he explained when a reporter shouted for a reason why Delancy wasn't in court. He was swamped by TV reporters angling for a shot, and then was escorted away from the courthouse.
We tried to ask Shakey, who was wearing a Krop guayabara and sunglasses on the top of his head, about Delancy's residency when we caught him milling around the courthouse. "I got nothing to say to you, dude," he seethed after we introduced ourselves. He then speed-walked away. "Leave it at that."
Later, athletic director Kypriss, walking two feet from Delancy, at least let us get our simple opening question out: Does Brian live with Bernard Wright?
"Come on man, be happy for us!" Kypriss boomed indignantly, loping away from the courthouse with Delancy in tow. "We met all the eligibility requirements! Come on man, I thought you'd be happy for us!"
Well, sure, Mike -- as long as the playing field is even with all the rest of Florida's teams.
We're still digging around, and finding some interesting stuff. Stay tuned as we tackle such riveting questions as: So where the heck does Brian Delancy live anyway? And is Bernard Wright really fit to be playing legal guardian to all these student athletes?
Krop's first playoff game is tomorrow, but it's unclear what team they'll be playing. It may be Carol City High -- the school whose administrators ratted out Delancy to the FHSAA in the first place.
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