Krop High's Female Tennis Squad Also Faced Recruitment Accusations

Lately, catching Michael Krop High's athletic administrators in deceit has been sort of like trying to spot a bad tattoo on South Beach.

In both cases, it's still worth pointing out a doozy.

In this Miami Herald interview with Krop High athletic director Mike Kypriss-- one of three articles in which the Old Dying Abuelita By The Bay has bent over backwards not to credit our reporting-- he denied ever being informed of the need to file immigration paperwork for a foreign student athlete before the disqualification of Bahamian Brian Delancy.

"I've never had to do it in my entire life," he said -- twice.

But last Spring, Kypriss, who is also a tennis coach, was at the center of a dispute over multiple eligibility problems with two female tennis players. One of them, Canadian-born Sonya Latycheva, didn't have her own immigration paperwork filed with the Florida High School Athletic Association. Below, we've embedded an e-mail from the association, which we obtained through a public records request, to several Krop administrators including Kypriss.

The e-mail explains, in no unclear terms, that international students such as Latycheva "require approval from this office prior to participating."

FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing is peeved. "This happened ten months ago," he says of Latycheva's case. "How short is his memory?"

Reached this morning at the school, Kypriss snapped of the two students: "Just so you know, both those girls were cleared to play last year."

The accusations were first made by Michael J. Schlesinger, an attorney and father of two teenage female tennis players. He sent a tip -- well-documented and researched by a private detective -- to the FHSAA notifying them of potential violations he had discovered on Krop's team.

Besides Latycheva's paperwork issue, regular appearances on the professional tennis circuit seemed to violate her amateur status. Latycheva, then a junior and considered one of the best young players in the state, had appeared in five international tournaments in the last few months before the tip and earned $1,478 in cash prizes.

The other student athlete implicated was talented then-15-year-old Cassie Pough. Since 2008, her parents have owned a property in Miramar. But her mother is also listed at an address on Northwest 50th Street in Miami-Dade County.

Neither is anywhere close to Krop High's school zone.

Schlesinger's reason for digging up and exposing the recruiting infractions: He was tired of hearing rumors about Kypriss' dubious methods of building a girls' tennis juggernaut: "I hate cheaters."

But the FHSAA isn't the enforcement titan some people believe it to be. It relies mostly on schools self-reporting their eligibility problems and fixing their own mistakes. Director of eligibility Michael Colby wrote to Schlesinger to lament that while his organization would look into Latycheva's amateur status, the FHSAA could not disqualify a student from playing at a school, even outside her own zone, if she started the year there.

Take it up with the school district, Colby said: "They have more stringent rules."

The FHSAA then sent the e-mail advising Krop and Kypriss about their responsibility to file immigration paperwork.

But after the mess on the basketball team, Roger Dearing tells us that the school's entire athletic department is now under investigation. Kypriss, who's been dogged by his own reputation for recruiting since his days at Killian High in the '90s, might find it increasingly difficult to fib his way out of trouble.


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Gus Garcia-Roberts