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FHSAA might not step in if Hillsborough High's internal discipline meets the organization's standards.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published May 5, 2006
TAMPA - Hillsborough High has admitted its football program violated the state's offseason participation rule by conducting an illegal practice, Florida High School Athletic Association associate commissioner Sonny Hester said Thursday.
The FHSAA received a letter from the school Wednesday in which the Terriers self-reported one violation of a guideline that says coaches cannot train players in football-related situations before the opening day of practice.
"We thanked them for self-reporting (the violation) and for their cooperation and willingness to enforce the regulations," Hester said. "We gave them a chance to let us know what is being done as far as internal discipline. We believe schools have the right to discipline themselves - on self-reporting matters anyway - before we impose any sanctions."
The school has five business days from Thursday to tell the FHSAA what actions it plans to take. At that point, the FHSAA will decide what, if any, further penalties are needed.
Hillsborough athletic director Bertha Baker called Hester last week and said she was launching an investigation. On Monday, Hester told the Times the Terriers' penalty could include a $2,500 fine per infraction, the loss of practice time and even a postseason ban. Thursday, however, he indicated the sanctions might be lighter.
"It's a serious matter, but it definitely makes a difference when they turn themselves in rather than us catching them," Hester said.
Terriers football coach Earl Garci a could not be reached for comment. Hillsborough County athletic director Vernon Korhn said this was a matter between the FHSAA and Hillsborough High, but added "the Hillsborough administration and coaches have handled it very appropriately."