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FHSAA investigates Oldsmar Christian

Published January 16, 2004

Oldsmar Christian's boys program is being investigated by the Florida High School Athletic Association for possible recruiting violations, Associate Commissioner for Administration Dan Boyd said Thursday.

Boyd said "several" of the schools in the Eagles district have alleged there have been some improprieties. He said Oldsmar Christian was sent a letter detailing the charges and had 10 days to respond. That deadline is Monday.

Boyd said some of the charges include contact between the Oldsmar Christian coaching staff and students who were enrolled in other schools at the time, as well as another student who transferred but may have been ineligible at his old school.

Coach Larry Bache, who replaced Gary Tait earlier this season when Tait had to scale back his duties because of another job, denied the charges. He said the letter from the FHSAA indicated that Tampa's Bayshore Christian filed them, alleging Bache coached an AAU team during the summer on which his current players played.

Bache said he has never heard of the alleged team - the Clearwater Heat Wave - and hasn't coached AAU since his sons were freshmen. Both are now in college.

Oldsmar Christian also has come under scrutiny because it added four transfers to its roster this season, another point addressed in the letter.

"None of that letter is true," Bache said.

To prove his point, he said he filled out a sworn afidavit that will be included in Oldsmar Christian's response to the FHSAA, to be sent today.

Oldsmar Christian is 10-1 and ranked No.6 in the state Class A poll.

"All of a sudden people are starting to pay attention to us," Bache said. "Now they're hoping to distract us. They're figuring they'll throw this out there, and if any sticks, great. But they have no proof of anything. These accusations are just not true."

OOPS: Jacksonville Arlington Country Day was ranked in the state poll as a Class A team, a mistake that was corrected this week when it was put in its rightful place - 2A.

Country Day is No.1 in that poll, dropping Admiral Farragut to No.3.

Farragut is one of four county teams ranked in the top three of the latest poll - Clearwater (5A), Lakewood (4A) and St. Petersburg Catholic (2A) are No.2 in their respective polls.

ALUMNI WATCH: It may be a longer season than Phil Price is used to at Largo, but Thursday night was a mighty point of pride for the Packers coach. Former player Mike O'Donnell played for N.C. State against Duke, and Erroyl Bing started for East Carolina against Louisville in a televised game.

LIGHTING IT UP: Oldsmar Christian's Trevor Ferguson missed all five of of his 3-pointers against Tampa Baptist last week but made up for this week. In two victories since, the Eagle guard sank 12-of-20 and scored 82 - including 52 in a win over Canterbury, the best by a county player this season.

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