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Ex-Mustang transfers but will be ineligible

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 28, 2003

Pitcher Tyler Clippard, dismissed from Mitchell two weeks ago after being arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, has transferred to Dunedin and is attempting to pitch for the nationally ranked Falcons.

Clippard, who declined to comment Thursday, enrolled at Dunedin on March 21, the day before Pinellas County schools went on spring break. Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert said he was looking into Clippard's eligibility and would allow him to play pending approval from a vote of his players.

But Dan Boyd, the Florida High School Activities Association's associate commissioner for administration, said Clippard cannot play for Dunedin this season for a few reasons.

"It's not going to happen. It won't work," Boyd said. "I think Dunedin knows better than to even try to play this kid."

Students can transfer and be eligible at two schools during the same year, but the transfer must occur before a sports season begins. Clippard, who has a scholarship to South Florida, pitched in three games for Mitchell before he was dismissed, meaning he cannot play for another team this season.

What's more, the FHSAA has specific rules to keep players from transferring to flee disciplinary action. A student who is ineligible at one school due to disciplinary action or inappropriate conduct cannot be eligible at another school until he has attended the school for one full semester.

And if Clippard wanted to appeal such rules, he missed a March 21 deadline, the last day for FHSAA appeals to be heard during this school year.

"That case is not scheduled for appeal, and I think it is cut-and-dry that he is not eligible," Boyd said.

Mitchell coach Phil Bell, whose team has won four of six since Clippard and fellow senior Derek Shortz were dismissed, had no comment Thursday.

"We're moving on with the rest of our season," he said.

-- Times staff writer John C. Cotey contributed to this report.

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