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Warhawks' appeal to be heard today


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001

Seminole, ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America, hopes to improve from 8-10 to 18-0 today -- without playing a game.

The school is appealing the Florida High School Activities Association's March 14 decision to strip it of 10 victories because the Warhawks used an ineligible player, shortstop Bryan Bass.

Seminole's case will be heard by the FHSAA's sectional appeals committee at 8:30 a.m. at the Polk County District School Board building in Bartow.

Bass, a native of Fayette, Ala., who is considered one of the nation's premier players, transferred from Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy to Seminole in January.

The FHSAA cleared Bass to play. But after 10 games, he was ruled ineligible because he had lived with a host family in Fort Lauderdale and now lives with his mother, Barbara, in Seminole.

A student must live with the same parent(s) or guardian(s) during the school year and not "break the residence chain."

Seminole forwarded all of its information regarding the case to the FHSAA before today's meeting, and Seminole athletic director Allyn Ramker said it contains no significant revelations.

"(Seminole principal Richard) Duncan will make a statement on behalf of the school, and it will be an opportunity for (the FHSAA board) to ask questions," Ramker said.

"The objective is to try to get our games back and to regain the eligibility of the student.

"We don't know what our chances are, but the school and Mr. Duncan decided we have to take every avenue available to us."

Seminole is unbeaten on the field, 10-0 with Bass and 8-0 without him. Bass' adviser, Don Mitchell, the president of GAAMES, an Atlanta-based athletic management service, said Bass' primary concern is helping the team.

"His biggest disappointment is the 10 games that Seminole might lose," Mitchell said.

Ramker and Mitchell said there was no intent to deceive the FHSAA, and FHSAA associate commissioner Dan Boyd said he spoke with Bass' father, Steve, many times before the transfer. However, Boyd said it wasn't until later that he learned Bass had been living with a host family, and not his mother, in Fort Lauderdale.

Bass, who turns 19 on April 12, has two older brothers, Jason (Class AA Altoona Curve) and Kevin (Class A Daytona Cubs), playing in the minors. He has been working out on his own and has worked out for "five or six" major-league teams in the past few weeks, Mitchell said.

Bass, 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, batted .414 in 10 games and is considered a likely first-round pick in the June draft.

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